JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - It was one year ago Hurricane Arthur had the sites set on eastern Carolina. At this time of the year, these storms are always a major concern for us. Sometimes, they can disrupt communications and halt the flow of information.
On June 27, Amateur Radio Clubs and operators were conducting Field Day events To hear them, you may think they were talking in code. Those Field Day events were held all across the nation and in Canada.
Local events were set up at open locations, so radio operators and the public could see how amateur radio helps, in keeping the lines of communications open.
During the 24 hours of the Field Day event, we heard other operators checking in from Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee and all across North Carolina. We even heard a few from Cuba.
I was at the Onslow County site, where board member Tim Mahlow said, "If cell phones are down, if telephones are down and if county radios are down, we can still provide emergency communications through-out the county."
When these serious storms hit or a natural disaster strikes, Michael Pratt said "We set up at the shelters in the county and have a connect between all of the shelters and the counties command center."
As far as helping track storms, Mahlow said "Most of the radio operators in our club, are also members of the SkyWarned through the National Weather Service and licensed and trained to provide weather observations for the National Weather Service in Newport, North Carolina."
Sometimes a severe weather event can take away electricity. These radios can stay on the air with batteries. Those batteries can be kept charged with something we see after the storm has gone. Sunshine hitting solar panels and keeping the line of communication open.
The Onslow County club is able to help anyone interested in amateur radio. David Wager said you will need a license.
"There is technician license, that is your first," Wager said. "Then have to pass a general test. That is the second part. They are both 35 questions tests. The upper level, the highest level you can get is amateur expert."
You can get those details from the Onslow County Amateur Radio Club. They can help you find the material to study and even administer the test when you are ready.