HAM radio still has a role in our modern age

HAM radio still has a role in our modern age
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When severe weather is in the forecast, a sometimes-forgotten group of people tune in to help relay important information. The technology behind HAM radios is about 130 years old, but the simplicity of that form of communication makes it very durable, and a reliable backup during emergencies.

“HAM Radio is pretty much if everything else fails. No cell phones, no internet, anything like that. Amateur radio can still get out and send messages to whomever would need them,” explained Brenda Krukowski, a HAM radio operator with Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES).

When the weather is calm, the corner of the Lucas County Emergency Services Department that houses ARES is pretty quiet. But when the skies get angry, several amateur radio operators like Brenda will gather to pass along vital information.

“We’re pretty busy when it’s going really active with the weather, be it tornado warnings or whatever,” said Krukowski. “We have to tell people to stay off the radio unless you have a report.”

That information is passed along to the National Weather Service and first responders, and if necessary they can also speak with hospitals in Toledo and Wood County, all of which have HAM radios. And this job… isn’t really a job.

“We do this for no pay,” Krukowski told us. “It’s all volunteer, and we enjoy doing it.”

If you’d like to have access to this form of communication, you don’t need to be a volunteer here or anywhere. In fact, being a HAM radio operator wherever you live expands the network, because they all have their own equipment at home. But, before you make any purchases, make sure you get a license.

“Toledo Mobile Radio Association has classes and they’re usually two days, 8-hour days, then you take your test at the end. Pass the test, then you got your license and you become a HAM! It’s not real hard,” Krukowski chuckled.

Since the HAM radio operators with ARES are volunteers, they do take donations to help keep their equipment running. If you’d like to help, you can email Tim Gray at boxcar@toast.net or call him at 419-514-8933.

If you’d like to sign up for the two part class to get your HAM radio license, click on this link: http://www.tmrahamradio.org/links.php

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