Tupelo Ham radio operators help Hurricane Ian victims

The radio operators relay valuable information to victims, family members and emergency personnel

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – We have seen the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian as it came ashore in Florida.  Now, as recovery and cleanup begin, local amateur radio operators are helping relay valuable information to victims, their 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 were monitoring ham radio traffic in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Ham radio operators are able to provide and relay information that can be crucial to those on the ground.

“This morning they were talking about, had people stranded on rooftops and so forth, and I’m sure they’re relaying all this information.  We are trying to contact all emergency centers,” said Allen Sudduth, of the Wireless Prayers Group.

Many of the emergency centers have a ham radio operator, who helps coordinate relief services and pass on information to families with loved ones in the path of the storm.

Sudduth is dressed as Captain Edward John Smith of the RMS Titanic, which utilized a wireless radio to send distress signals after it hit the iceberg.   Sudduth says ham radio operators are doing their part to help out.

“We’ve got several of our members that are going to different frequencies we are using, and relaying back to me,” Sudduth said.

While the technology is not new, high-frequency radios or ham radios are key in any natural disaster because they often work, when other forms of communication have been knocked out.

“It has to do with atmospherics, nature of radio signal, high frequency is referred to as short wave, usually you can go greater distances with that,” said Tom Mann, of the Wireless Prayers Group.

Tony Lute is the owner of the Tupelo Veteran’s Museum and he is glad the radio operators, known as “Hams” are able to set up shop in his space.

“I sat here this morning before Allen got here and there was a good bit of traffic on there this morning, anytime we’re usually on the radio I sit and listen in,” Lute said.

Ham operators expect the radio traffic to pick up over the next few days as people are able to 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 9 at the Veteran’s Museum.

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