Connecticut-Based Group Sends Ham Radios Into Florence Danger Zone To Maintain Communications

September 14, 2018
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NEWINGTON, Conn. (WCBS 880/AP) -- A Connecticut-based group is helping the emergency effort in the Carolinas amid Hurricane Florence by sending ham radios.

David Isgur, communications manager for the American Radio Relay League, said his group is sending seven radio kits to South Carolina and two to Virginia, “to be deployed depending on how they’re needed down there.”

“They go to the emergency operations centers in those states, and are then provided to amateur radio operators, depending on where the needs are, to make sure that they have a communication link in case of cellphones or other communication methods going out,” Isgur told WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace.

The amateur radio kits come with battery power and do not require cellphone technology to operate.

“All we need is to connect them to any kind of wiring for handmade, or tower, and they can distribute a radio signal that way. They don’t require cellphone towers or the normal communication lines that have to be available,” Isgur said. “Amateur radio operators are experienced at just stringing up wires, and being able to connect that to their transceiver and send out their signals that way.”

Isgur’s group sent the same kits to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year. He said they helped provide communications between hospitals and emergency operations centers, and between even the power line repair crews.

“So these kits may be used to communicate from shelters back to emergency operations if there’s any particular need for the shelters, or just to provide real-time information of what the conditions are on the ground in South Carolina,” Isgur said.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. a few miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina, as the center of its eye moved onshore near Wrightsville Beach, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had been blamed several deaths as of Friday afternoon.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)