TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – We saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian as it landed in Florida. Now, as the recovery and cleanup begins, local amateur radio operators are helping relay valuable information to victims, family members and emergency services.
In a corner of the Tupelo Veteran’s Museum, members of the Tupelo Amateur Radio Club and the Wireless Prayers Group monitored amateur radio traffic in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Amateur radio operators are able to provide and relay information that may be crucial to people in the field.
“This morning they were talking, had people stuck on rooftops and so on, and I’m sure they’re relaying all that information. We are trying to contact all emergency centers,” said Allen Sudduth of the Wireless Prayers Group.
Many emergency centers have an amateur radio operator, who helps coordinate rescue services and relay information to families with loved ones in the storm’s path.
Sudduth is disguised as Captain Edward John Smith of the RMS Titanic, who used a wireless radio to send distress signals after hitting the iceberg. Sudduth says amateur radio operators are doing their part to help.
“We have several of our members who go on different frequencies that we use and relay to me,” Sudduth said.
Although the technology is not new, high frequency radios or amateur radios are essential in any natural disaster as they often work when other forms of communication have been cut off.
“It has to do with the atmosphere, the nature of the radio signal, the high frequency is called shortwave, you can usually travel greater distances with it,” said Tom Mann of the Wireless Prayers Group.
Tony Lute is the owner of the Tupelo Veteran’s Museum and he is happy that radio operators, known as “Hams”, can move into his space.
“I sat here this morning before Allen got here and there was a lot of traffic there this morning, whenever we’re usually on the radio, I just sit and listen,” said Lute said.
Ham operators expect radio traffic to pick up over the next few days as people can return to their homes and businesses and relay damage assessments and needs over the air.
The Tupelo Amateur Radio Club meets every Tuesday morning at 9am at the Veterans Museum.