Amateur Radio’s Force of Fifty Answers the Red Cross Call in Puerto Rico

From the ARRL Website 09/26/2017:

Fifty of the nation’s most accomplished 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
behest of Red Cross, ARRL rallied the US Amateur Radio community to
provide up to 25 two-person teams of highly qualified hams. The
group’s principal mission will be to move health-and-welfare
information from the island back to the US mainland, where that data
will be entered in the Red Cross “Safe & Well” website.

The group will deploy the middle of this week and remain on the island
for up to 3 weeks.

ARRL will equip each two-person team with a modern digital HF
transceiver, special software, a dipole antenna, a power supply and all
the connecting cables, fitted in a rugged waterproof container. In
addition, ARRL is sending a number of small, 2,000-W portable generators
as well as solar-powered battery chargers of the variety the US military
uses on extended deployments. The hams and their equipment will be sent
to Red Cross shelters extending from San Juan to the western end of the
island.

“This generous outpouring of response represents the finest qualities
of the Amateur Radio community,” ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, said.
“These individuals are dropping whatever they are doing now, heading
off to an extended hardship-duty assignment, and offering their special
talents to Americans who have been cut off from their families, living
amid widespread destruction and without electrical power since Hurricane
Maria struck the Caribbean region last week.”

ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said this was
the first time in the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and the
American Red Cross that such a request for assistance had been made.
“Hurricane Maria has devastated the island’s communications
infrastructure,” Corey said. “Without electricity and telephone, and
with most of the cell sites out of service, millions of Americans are
cut off from communicating. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency
services. And, people cannot check on the welfare of their loved ones.
The situation is dire.”

How You Can Help

In a letter to all ARRL members, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR,
asked for contributions to ARRL’s Ham Aid fund. “Equipment has been
flying out the door since Hurricane Harvey struck the US mainland,” he
emphasized. “From meeting requirements in aid of Hurricane Irma
victims in the US Virgin Island and Florida, our store of Ham Aid kits
has been depleted.”

ARRL’s Ham Aid program loans Amateur Radio equipment kits to
established Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) groups and partner
agencies during disaster responses, in order to establish Amateur Radio
communication support. Ham Aid is supported by donations from
individuals and corporations, including many of our ham radio industry
partners.

ARRL has previously staged Ham Aid equipment in Texas, and in the last
few weeks, ARRL has supplied kits to Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and
Puerto Rico. With our Ham Aid inventory depleted, your donation is
needed now. Contributions to Ham Aid are 100% tax deductible.

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

Updated: September 26, 2017 — 8:28 pm

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