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Fifty Amateur Radio Force answers the call of the Red Cross in Puerto Rico

09/26/2017

Fifty of the nation’s top amateur radio operators responded within 24 hours to the call of the American Red Cross to deploy to Puerto Rico and provide emergency communications. At the request of the Red Cross, ARRL mobilized the American amateur radio community to provide up to 25 two-person teams from a highly qualified HH team. The main task of the group will be to transmit health and well-being information from the island to the US mainland, where this data will be entered into the Red Cross Safe & Well website.

The group will deploy mid-week and stay on the island for up to 3 weeks.

ARRL will equip each team of two people with a modern high-frequency digital transceiver, proprietary software, dipole antenna, power supply and all connected cables, secured in a rugged waterproof enclosure. In addition, ARRL sends out a number of small, portable 2,000-watt generators as well as solar-powered battery chargers from the assortment used by the U.S. Army on extended deployments. He will send pork and equipment to Red Cross shelters from San Juan to the western tip of the island.

“This generous outpouring of responsiveness represents the best qualities of the radio amateur community,” said Tom Gallagher, CEO of ARRL, NY2RF. “These individuals are abandoning whatever they are doing now, turning to a protracted mission of hardship duty, displaying their own talents to Americans who have been cut off from their families, who have been living amid widespread devastation and without electrical power since Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean last week.”

Mike Currie, director of emergency preparedness at ARRL, KI1U, said this is the first time in the nearly 75-year relationship between the ARRL and the American Red Cross, such as asking for help. “Hurricane Maria destroyed the communication infrastructure on the island,” Corey said. “Without electricity and a phone, and with most cellular sites out of service, millions of Americans are out of touch. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency services. People cannot check on the well-being of their loved ones. The situation is dire.”

How can you help

In a letter to all ARRL members, ARRL President Rick Rodrik, K5UR, has requested contributions to the ARRL Eid Ham finance. “Equipment has been flying out the door ever since Hurricane Harvey hit the US mainland,” he said. “From meeting requirements to helping victims of Hurricane Irma in the US Virgin Islands and Florida, our store has been depleted of Ham Aid collections.”

The ARRL’s Ham Aid Program loans Amateur Radio Equipment Kits to Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) groups and partner agencies during disaster response, in order to establish Amateur Radio Communications support. Ham Aid is supported by donations from individuals and businesses, including many of our partners in the Ham Radio industry.

ARRL previously organized Ham Aid gear in Texas, and in the past few weeks, ARRL has supplied kits to Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With our Pork Aid stocks running out, your donation is needed now. Contributions to Ham Aid are 100% tax deductible.

To make a donation online, go to ARRL Donation Form and select “Ham Aid”. To donate by mail, print a Donation form, and mail it with the check payable to ARRL, indicating “Ham Aid” on the memo line of the check. Mail to ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.

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