Posted by: stefaniemeyers | January 17, 2008

“This is as simple as it gets.”

Today was insanely busy. Every time I think we have done about as much as physically possible to fit into one day I am proven wrong by the next day. It was especially interesting today when I met with Matt Anderson and Roger Farbe who are both ham radio operators with the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC). It is a group of completely volunteer ham radio enthusiasts who are a part of the state of Louisiana’s emergency response plan.

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They became part of the response plan after it became apparent that ham radio was an invaluable resource during Hurricane Katrina. When all other forms of communication were down or unreliable the hams were totally accessible and engaged in the recovery effort after the storm.

Ham radio, considered a primitive form of communication in a world filled with blackberries and cell phones, has become so advanced that it is possible to send and check email or even watch television. Because the system is so simple, there is less room for things to go wrong, making it dependable during a crisis.

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The Louisiana Emergency Operations Center now has a permanent ham radio set up specifically for use during emergency situations and a mobile communications unit with the ability to connect to virtually every radio frequency available. The state has clearly learned its lesson from Hurricane Katrina.

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  1. My father-in-law was a highly respected professor of electrical engineering who spent decades on “the net” before the Internet existed. He was a ham radio participant extraordinaire. He worked to help people in many emergency situations, including acting as a sort of conduit for information on corneas available for transplants in the earliest days of that surgery. He died more than a decade ago. I am certain he would have enjoyed the amazing developments in networked communications that have come since he left this earth.


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