Ham Radio Operators Taking part in the NLE

Good Morning Red Crossers,

As some may know there is a NLE (National Level Exercise) taking place today. Ham Radio operators are on the job, supporting the Red Cross by both monitoring the exercise and communicating with other factions in the exercise.

Ken Baremore ARES Section Emergency Coordinator for the Missouri section told us that Ham Radio operation centers have been installed at all of the hospitals in the Springfield area and some of the outlying area as well. Also involved is the Springfield Emergency Management office. Ken stated that the Ham Radio installation at the Red Cross on West Bypass in Springfield has been three years in the making and has cost $15,000 dollars. That money was all raised through Red Cross donations that were earmarked for disaster communications.

By having a Ham Radio operation at the Red Cross it will allow the Red Cross to communication with local hospitals, local and emergency management, other Red Cross offices, other Red Cross Ham Radio volunteers across the region, and will allow communication with State emergency management if we need to call for extra help.

Communications during a disaster is a major part of getting those affected the things they need to start recovering. By having a Ham Radio operation communication can happen even if there is no power! Guaranteeing that those that need help during and after a disaster will be able to get it.

Ken told me that through Ham Radio they can communicate by voice, they can send secure documents just like we would send a fax, and something really amazing, they can send e-mail! Bet you didn’t know all that could be done through Ham Radio! I know I didn’t.

Bill Gilmore, Ken Baremore, and Perry Elkins

Bill Gillmore Emergency Coordinator for Greene County took me on a tour of the Ham Radio Operation at the Red Cross Greater Ozarks Regional Chapter. It was pretty impressive. The operation room has two different monitoring stations, they will soon have a computer system that can connect into the Ham radio system, and it can all be run from the back up batteries in the operation room.

Outside there is the main 50 foot crank up tower with three antennae the top antennae being the UHF/VHF Omni directional antennae, the second being the 2 meter VHF beam antennae directed towards Joplin, the third is the six meter VHF/UHF beam antennae. Out in the grassy area there are two other antennae The HF dipole antennae is on top of a telephone pole and has co-ax cables running underground to the radio room inside the building. Also in the same area we will soon be getting a 47 megahertz radio antenna which will go on top of a second telephone pole and the cabling will also go underground to the radio room. The VHF/UHF is for local communication, where the HF is for long distance communiation.

The Ham Radio Operation is an exciting addition to our disaster communications at the Red Cross and we are happy to have the AREA Ham Radio operators volunteering their time to make sure that we will have communication no matter what the situation.

Thank You Ken Baremore and Bill Gilmore for all of the information about the Ham Radio operation and for showing me around!

The Social Media Team will have video of the operation that I will link to this post a bit later, so be looking for those.

Angela Statton-Hunt
Disaster Public Affairs Volunteer


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