GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As you know we have entered Hurricane Season and from what experts say this year looks to be an active one. Luckily for us, there will be a few good samaritans keeping an ear on what's going on.
We stopped by JD community college for a demonstration of what HAM radio is all about.
Harry Samuelson is a leader with the Mississippi Coast Amateur Radio Association. There has been no threat of natural disasters as of yet, but Radio Operators like Samuelson have been staying abreast monitoring radio traffic. Through Field Day, the public is able to get in on the action.
"We want to show you again and the public out there just what we do. We come on Field Day and set up our radios at places we don't normally operate from like our homes. We do this for practice on field days so that when a real emergency comes up. We can go out to the different shelters and different locations and provide emergency communications," Samuelson said.
There are countless organizations who depend on those services. HAM radio operators provide radio communications whenever there's a crisis. You can always depend on cell phones or the internet, but when all else fails, HAM radios are there.
"During Hurricanes, some of us go to Harrison County EOC and we provide the backup communications for Harrison County. If everything goes south on them, they come to us and ask, 'Can you help?' and fortunately we've been able to do that every time they've needed it," Samuelson said.
Given the unbelievable advances in technology, the equipment may seem slightly dated, but this good old fashioned system is a proven method that has stood the test of time.
Even I gave it a shot, but no worries. I won't be quitting my day job. Some things should be left to the pros.
It's a hobby for some radio operators, but they never forget the seriousness of the position they hold.
"You don't realize just how you can affect other people until you've been through it. Either doing the communications or having been on the other side receiving the help. It makes you feel real good."