How Can Ham Radio Keep You Updated During the Total Eclipse?

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- If you have ever been at crowded festival or party, you might have noticed the quality of your cell phone reception gets slower when more people are around. So imagine what could happen next week when a million visitors come to the Midlands to check out the eclipse. Thankfully, the state’s Emergency Management Division has plan to make sure you will still be able to reach emergency personnel on Monday.

SCEMD said they will have volunteers and staff members ready to go on Monday morning. “Just in case something happens, maybe cell activity with people on cell phones, so many will be using them it may cut some things out and we may be using them and there may be some emergency. We don’t know but we’re here, sitting ready in case there is need,” said longtime volunteer Ken Mooneyham.

Division volunteers and operators said they will use ham radio or amateur radio as an alternate way to distribute emergency information.

“Amateur radio especially is useful in case you have your traditional telephone lines, landlines, cell phones that don’t work. A lot of folks are out there riding around. They’re going to be able to pick up their radio, if something happens they will call in here, let us know and we will be able to disseminate that information out as quickly as possible,” said SCEMD Communications Manager Gabriel Turner.

Longtime operators say ham radio can be extremely helpful in case of danger. “Hurricane Matthew and the flood in 2015, we staffed this room and one of the biggest things they provide us here at EMD was the capability to receive information from radio operators out in the field and get reports of things that were going on,” said Turner.

One way for people to tune in to ham radio is by listening to a handheld scanner. Operators and volunteers will be monitoring frequencies from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.

 

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