CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Communication during emergencies oftentimes gets disrupted. But a technology that’s been around since the late 1800s still shines bright even in the darkest of times.
Amateur Radio operators play a key role when severe weather comes rolling into the Wabash Valley. And the need for more radio operators continues to grow. Ham radio still proves to be a reliable source of communication, especially during emergencies.
The Clay County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is up in running in the Cory Volunteer Fire Department. Storm Team 10's David Siple spoke with Kevin Berlen who is an amateur radio operator in Clay County and Siple asked him why Amateur Radio is still an important resource.
“Widespread power outages, widespread communications failures, and that’s where the Ham’s can shine because we don’t rely on that infrastructure.”
You can expect many amateur operators out in the field spotting for storms. Many are trained on weather spotting through the National Weather Service. And their information plays an important role when severe weather strikes.
“The problem is, the radar beam is so high above the ground when you get to this area of the state, they really don’t know what’s happening on the ground. That’s where the spotters come in. They can help them with damage assessment, they can tell them what’s actually taking place right on the ground and that’s invaluable to those folks [NWS].”
Berlen told Siple that amateur radio has been his passion for 46 years. And he understands the necessity to have amateur radio in our world today. So he’s made sure to pass along his hobby to the next generation. Berlen was able to get in contact with a few places around the country using his radio and he even let his granddaughter join in on the conversation.
“Her face completely lit up! Like a Christmas tree whenever she made that contact and got the response back and knew that they had heard her. So very exciting! And very much got her interest ted and something I think will turn into a real hobby. ”
If you want to learn more about the Clay County ARES program, go to www.claycountyares.org/
A full list of other amateur radio programs across the Wabash Valley, you can go to www.w9uuu.org/organizations.php for more information on training and other information.