The amateur radio community is one of the best communities I have ever been involved with! It ranks up there with the fire and law enforcement brotherhood that I have been in for the past 12+ years.
Most of the ham radio community is the type of people that will donate their time to help others in need, whether it is another ham or another person in general! Often times, even when they are offered money to pay for their time, they refuse.
It is like when I needed help taking my tower down last year. There is no way that I could have done it myself even if I could force myself to climb the 65â€™ to take it down. Two hams answered my call and came and helped me take it down. Well, really I helped them take it down.
Another example of this was when another local ham got a radio and antenna donated to her in the Main Trading Company give-a-way last Christmas. She was physically unable to put it up herself, so a group of local hams went to her house and installed everything for her
Over the past couple months, we have had some major storms hit Texas, Florida and, most recently, Puerto Rico. Thousands of people are now homeless or at the very least, without power. Volunteers from all over the region went to Houston and Florida areas with boats and other things to assist however they can.
With Puerto Rico though, things are a lot different. There isnâ€™t an easy way to get there and you canâ€™t just drive to get there. The other thing about Puerto Rico is that the infrastructure isnâ€™t anywhere near what it is on the mainland, nor is the building built the same way. So where Houston or Florida didnâ€™t totally lose communications, Puerto Rico, pretty much lost everything.
So a call went out for 50 volunteers to go down with the American Red Cross. The Red Cross turned to the ARRL for help getting these volunteers. Within 24 hours the 50 slots were filled!!
Below is the article that was posted about this from the ARRL Nees feed:
Amateur Radioâ€™s Force of Fifty Answers the Red Cross Call in Puerto Rico
Fifty of the nationâ€™s most accomplished Amateur Radio operators responded within 24 hours to the call of the American Red Cross to deploy to Puerto Rico and provide emergency communications. At the behest of Red Cross, ARRL rallied the US Amateur Radio community to provide up to 25 two-person teams of highly qualified hams. The groupâ€™s principal mission will be to move health-and-welfare information from the island back to the US mainland, where that data will be entered in the Red Cross â€œSafe & Wellâ€ website.
The group will deploy the middle of this week and remain on the island for up to 3 weeks.
ARRL will equip each two-person team with a modern digital HF transceiver, special software, a dipole antenna, a power supply and all the connecting cables, fitted in a rugged waterproof container. In addition, ARRL is sending a number of small, 2,000-W portable generators as well as solar-powered battery chargers of the variety the US military uses on extended deployments. The hams and their equipment will be sent to Red Cross shelters extending from San Juan to the western end of the island.
â€œThis generous outpouring of response represents the finest qualities of the Amateur Radio community,â€ ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, said. â€œThese individuals are dropping whatever they are doing now, heading off to an extended hardship-duty assignment, and offering their special talents to Americans who have been cut off from their families, living amid widespread destruction and without electrical power since Hurricane Maria struck the Caribbean region last week.â€
ARRLâ€™s Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said this was the first time in the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and the American Red Cross that such as request for assistance had been made. â€œHurricane Maria has devastated the islandâ€™s communications infrastructure,â€ Corey said. â€œWithout electricity and telephone, and with most of the cell sites out of service, millions of Americans are cut off from communicating. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency services. And, people cannot check on the welfare of their loved ones. The situation is dire.â€
How You Can Help
In a letter to all ARRL members, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, asked for contributions to ARRLâ€™s Ham Aid fund. â€œEquipment has been flying out the door since Hurricane Harvey struck the US mainland,â€ he emphasized. â€œFrom meeting requirements in aid of Hurricane Irma victims in the US Virgin Island and Florida, our store of Ham Aid kits has been depleted.â€
ARRLâ€™s Ham Aid program loans Amateur Radio equipment kits to established Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARESÂ®) groups and partner agencies during disaster responses, in order to establish Amateur Radio communication support. Ham Aid is supported by donations from individuals and corporations, including many of our ham radio industry partners.
ARRL has previously staged Ham Aid equipment in Texas, and in the last few weeks, ARRL has supplied kits to Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With our Ham Aid inventory depleted, your donation is needed now. Contributions to Ham Aid are 100% tax deductible.
To make a donation online, go to the ARRL donation form and select â€œHam Aid.â€ To donate by mail, print a donation form, and mail it with your check payable to ARRL, noting â€œHam Aidâ€ on the memo line of your check. Mail to ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.