Amateur Radios a Big Help in Disasters

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The northwest Florida area is all too familiar with the idea of preparing for potential hurricanes, but you might not know the influence amateur radios have on our communication after a disaster hits.

Addison Marvin, President of Panama City's Amateur Radio Club says, "obviously, here In Bay County we are suceptible to hurricanes. So we lose some cell hpones, we lose the internet.. the amatuer radio community has the means to set up a computer and a radio, information could still be relayed that way."

Radio operators, typically called "hams", can set up their equipment anywhere depending on the size, and can send signals to almost any location.

"I've been able to make a contact from here to sydney austrailia, so yeah that was a great day for me."

Local hams took part in an annual event called Field Day, Saturday at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.

Operators all over the country set up self-sustaining stations to practice communicating with each other.

"It's the one day a year where AMA radio operators leaves their houses and practice emergency communications. They either set up in a field or in a park, in our case we are at the Bay County EOC"

Members of the Panama City Amateur Radio Club say this is definitely a hobby for technology lovers, but they all got involved in different ways.

"I grew up on the country side, I had to walk three miles to get to a highway, so I was interested on what was going on in the outside world," said Greg Morrison, a radio operator.

If you would like to see how amateur radio works, the PCARC will continue with its demonstration Sunday from nine to 11 in the morning.