16. August 2012 08:02
Recently I was once again on the tallest peak in the Northeast - Mt. Washington. I was on my ham radio operating at the finish line of the Newton's Revenge bicycle race up the mountain.
As you can see from the photo, it was a little windy and foggy up at the top. Every now and then there would be a break in the dense fog and clouds. The flags tell the tale. One of the riders wanted a photo of himself with his bike at the summit after he made the epic climb.
Wind, clouds and fog are the norm at the top of Mt. Washington. The temperature on Saturday morning was 52 F and the winds were sustained at 40-50 mph with 70 mph gusts. From time to time the wind blew me a
half-step forward. It was an experience indeed.
To bring home the importance of ham radio, I read a story on USAToday.com about a big storm that hit the Smokey Mountains National Park on the evening of July 7th. Most of the damage was at Cades Cove. There's only one long road back into this part of the park, so if it's blocked, you're SOL. This paragraph in the story tells you why ham radio operators are so important:
"Rescue efforts on Thursday night were hampered by power being knocked out to a key radio repeater in the area, which led to spotty transmission from campers seeking assistance. Jordan described the communications problems as "extremely frustrating" as emergency officials tried to plot their response."
If there was a local ham radio club near there, they could have been on the air in hours, if not minutes. We bring our own power. We don't need the utility company's power.
On Saturday morning we had our radio central command post up and running in fifteen minutes. Those of us with powerful mobile radios in our cars and trucks have 24/7/365 communications.
If you want to be able to communicate to the outside world in an emergency, get your ham radio license, join an amateur radio club in your area and get up to speed. It's not hard to do.
This content was provided with permission by Tim Carter, a licensed HAM operator call sign, W3ATB and a member of www.CNHARC.org. He is also an award winning builder and nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of AsktheBuilder.com a site that offers expert advice for your home.