IEEE Spectrum magazine has a great article available online about the success of ham radio operations in Haiti. The article comes to us thanks to the the ARRL’s media and PR manager Allen Pitts, WiAGP. The photo here is from the ARRL and appeared in the IEEE Spectrum article.
The Haitian earthquake presented unique challenges to the deployment of international amateur radio resources. Amateur radio communities in many countries will be looking at the Haitian experience for guidance on how to grow their own emergency response capabilities.
As we all know (or should know), even in the midst of the devastation that struck Haiti, nobody can just walk into another country and put on their highway safety vest declaring that they’re here to help. In the case of Haiti, the situation on the ground remains way too volatile and unsafe. Even helping agencies are limiting who they send and to where. Civil (or in some cases military) government still functions in these situations. Authority needs to be consulted and permissions secured. Agreements need to be negotiated. This is especially true in Haiti where there isn’t a robust native amateur radio community and a total lack of equipment and infrastructure organizations like Radio Amateurs of Canada or the ARRL existed before the disaster.
So what can we do here at home? Well I’m well on my way to creating a three-station two-meter network that fits into one medium-large size tool box. Containing older radios and one W/T that runs on AA batteries I’m making a shopping list of accessories to buy when I go to Dayton this year. Even if I never have to pull the box out of the basement during an emergency, it will come in handy at Field Day operations and other special events.
Oh yeah. The other thing you can do is join RAC and ARES right now. Get involved and make a positive contribution.