Did you know that several amateur radio enthusiasts took part in Wednesday disaster drill exercise throughout Eastern Idaho? You probably know them better as ham radio operators, but do you know what’s special about the hobby?

Ah, the familiar sound of a worldwide, well-loved hobby that dates back ages -- ham radio. It's a unique group you can always count on during an emergency and now we can count more of them. U.S. amateurs now 700,000 strong according to the American Radio Relay League.

Hams are usually the first on the front lines of a disaster to establish critical communications. They were there during Hurricane Katrina. They were there in Haiti and Japan after the earthquakes and they are here in Eastern Idaho should we need them. Frank Corey, KE7JHQ, is one of them.

"I've always wanted to do it, then when they took the Morse Code off, I thought, now I can do it," said Corey. With an electrical engineering degree, he's been a ham for about five years. His reason?

"Well, a lot of it is just because I enjoy it and I like to help out because I know there are times when there are emergencies and I like to do what I could to help people out," he said.

This is a special week in the world of amateur radio. Many are remembering radio's role in saving lives on the Titanic It was a young radio amateur, Artie Moore, who monitored and reported the Titanic distress calls on his homemade radio the night of April 14 and 15, 1912. As the ship sank, there was nothing he could do but relay the information to his local police station in Wales.

Heard 'round the world, that sound lives on.

If you are a ham or are interested in amateur radio, The Eagle Rock Amateur Radio Club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Eastern Idaho Technical College in room 134 of the Sessions Building, at 7:30 p.m.

To become a ham, you will need to pass an exam and will be issued your own call sign.

In full disclosure, I am a ham, and to my fellow hams I say 73's, KF7FFF, Clear.


Source: www.localnews8.com - Todd Kunz

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