Amateur Radio Provided Needed Services During Burgoo and More

From left, Lucas Brown, Brian Carter, Bart Powell

Working behind the scenes, the Anderson Amateur Radio Club and the Anderson County Department of Public Safety have been providing a much needed service both during the Burgoo Festival and during emergency situations.  Bart Powell, director of public safety, and Brian Carter, president of the radio club, worked diligently during the Burgoo Festival this past weekend to make sure the event went smoothly and respond quickly during an emergency.  Bart explained that having a number of qualified and credentialed members of the radio club as part of the department of public safety has been incredibly beneficial to help dispatch resources during festivals like Burgoo.  He said that even during this past Burgoo, there was someone choking and were able to quickly dispatch help without having to use a phone to call in help.

Members of the radio club also fill in during major emergency situations.  Brian explained that through the use of specially licensed radios and antennas, amateur radio operators, “HAMs” for short, can quickly resume communications during large disasters like tornadoes or ice storms.  He said that with just one small radio, a car battery, some copper wire, and a way to hold the wire upright like slinging it on a tree limb or attached to a balloon, can allow communications with other HAM operators within a 25 mile radius or more.  This independence from cell towers, phone lines, and existing infrastructure, gives them the ability to step up in times of extreme need, dispatching emergency services and other resources.

And they have done just this.  Back during the extreme ice storm in the winter of 2002/2003, Brian was able to communicate with other radio operators in counties that were hit the hardest, coordinating information and evacuation/shelter efforts.  They’ve also been apart of training exercises including one related to the New Madrid fault line and what would happen if that caused a large earthquake.  According to Bart, they received national recognition for their efforts in a national magazine.

The Anderson Radio Club is open for new membership and does classes and competitions.  One of the newer members, Lucas Brown, who is just 15 years old, was helping Brian and Bart during the Burgoo Festival.  He already has his license for radio operation and is one of the club’s most enthusiastic members.  For more information on the club, check out their website.

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