Amateur Radio Force of Fifty responds to Red Cross call in Puerto Rico

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09/26/2017

Fifty of the country’s most accomplished amateur radio operators responded within 24 hours to the American Red Cross call to deploy to Puerto Rico and provide emergency communications. At the request of the Red Cross, the ARRL rallied the American amateur radio community to provide up to 25 two-person teams of highly trained radio amateurs. The main mission of the group will be to move information on the health and well-being of the island to the Americas, where this data will be entered into the Red Cross. “Safety and well-being” website.

The group will deploy in the middle of this week and stay on the island for up to 3 weeks.

The ARRL will equip each two-person team with a modern HF digital transceiver, special software, dipole antenna, power supply and all connection cables, installed in a waterproof and robust box. . In addition, the ARRL is sending a number of small 2000W portable generators as well as solar-powered battery chargers of the type used by the US military on extended deployments. The hams and their equipment will be sent to Red Cross shelters stretching from San Juan to the western end of the island.

“This generous wave of responses represents the best qualities of the amateur radio community,” said Tom Gallagher, CEO of ARRL, NY2RF. “These individuals are giving up everything they are doing now, going on a prolonged and difficult mission, and offering their special talents to Americans who have been cut off from their families, living in the midst of the widespread destruction and without electricity since Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean region last week.

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Officer Mike Corey, KI1U, said this was the first time in the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and the American Red Cross that a such request for assistance was made. “Hurricane Maria devastated the island’s communications infrastructure,” Corey said. “Without electricity and phones, and with most cell sites down, millions of Americans are cut off from communication. Shelters cannot reach local emergency services. And, people cannot verify the well-being of their loved ones. The situation is dramatic. “

How you can help

In a letter to all ARRL members, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, requested contributions to ARRL Ham help funds. “Equipment has been flying out of the gate since Hurricane Harvey hit the Americas,” he said. “In meeting the demands for assistance to the victims of Hurricane Irma in the US Virgin Islands and Florida, our stock of Ham Aid kits has been depleted. “

The ARRL Ham Aid program lends amateur radio equipment kits to groups and partner agencies of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) established during disaster response, in order to establish an amateur radio communication medium. Ham Aid is supported by donations from individuals and businesses, including many partners in the amateur radio industry.

The ARRL has already set up Ham Aid equipment in Texas, and in recent weeks the ARRL has provided kits to Florida, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. With our Ham Aid inventory exhausted, your donation is needed now. Contributions to Ham Aid are 100% deductible.

To donate online, go to ARRL donation form and select “Ham aid”. To donate by mail, print a donation form, and mail it with your check payable to ARRL, noting “Ham Aid” on the memo line of your check. Mail to ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.

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