Ham: It Can Save Your Life

No, not the pink and salty kind. This kind.

I was reading this article in the Clackamas Review and got to wondering about ham radio operators and how they work with the Red Cross. Unsurprisingly, we all work quite closely together, especially during large-scale disasters.

We have an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with both ARES and RACES for our area — District 1 — and our goal is to ensure that there’s a ham operator present whenever we open a shelter. There are also a handful of hams that do double-duty as Red Cross volunteers. And, while taking the ham classes is FREE, taking the test to get licensed is not.

But I think what I love most is that people of all ages are living the ham lifestyle. Take, for example, Louise Evans (pictured), who will be 100 years old in March. According to the article, she most recently passed the test to renew her license when she was 97, in order to get involved “with the emergency part, to help them out in the county.”

And here’s a story from Oregon’s December 2007 storms that shows how these “amateurs” can make a real-life difference.

If you’re interested in becoming a ham radio operator, I’d urge you to check out the ARES and RACES sites. We’d love to have your help when the big one hits Oregon!

Photo: Ellen Spitaleri / Clackamas Review