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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB078 (1998)

ARLB078 Florida hams continue hurricane vigil as Caribbean begins

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 78  ARLB078
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  September 24, 1998
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB078 Florida hams continue hurricane vigil as Caribbean begins

As hams in Southern Florida wait for Hurricane Georges to make up
its mind, preparations continue on along both Florida coasts to deal
with the storm's effects. Mobile home residents in the Broward
County-Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County areas have been ordered
evacuated. As many as 500,000 people in low-lying areas have been
urged to seek shelter on higher ground. The storm was sitting over
the eastern end of Cuba at 1500 UTC Thursday.

The Hurricane Watch Net remains active on 14.325 MHz to coordinate
storm reports with W4EHW at the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Watch Net Manager Jerry Herman, N3BDW, says the net got
good reports from Cuban hams Wednesday evening.  ''CO2KK, Arnie, was
passing radar data and observations that the Hurricane Center was
not getting from official sources,'' he said. Georgia Section
Manager Sandy Donahue, W4RU, handled net control duties on the net
Wednesday evening.

''The storm is taking a toll on operators who are beginning to get
tired,'' Herman reported. ''We have also lost Don, PJ8DM, on Saba,
whose station was knocked out by the storm.''

Another net is handling health and welfare traffic on 14.283 MHz.

Southern Florida Assistant SEC Jim Goldsberry, KD4GR, reports he is
holding two daily sessions of the Southern Florida ARES Net,
mornings and evenings on 3940 kHz. If it becomes necessary to
activate the Florida Emergency Operations Schedule, the net will
shift to 7242 kHz during daylight hours (at the net's discretion),
Goldsberry said.

The Broward County emergency operations center was activated
Thursday morning. Broward County RACES Officer Robin Terrill, N4HHP,
is contacting ARES and RACES members to assist at shelters, if
needed. N4HHP also is providing communication for the EOC in
anticipation of a full activation.

Hams also are coordinating with the Red Cross. In addition, Broward
County EC Harold Sanderson, KT4XK, has been holding special sessions
of the Broward County Emergency Preparedness Net to keep area hams
informed and ready. Hams also are reported in active preparations in
other coastal counties. Two hams were reported ready to maintain
their locations on Big Pine Key, although authorities have evacuated
the Florida Keys.

Meanwhile, hams in Puerto Rico are assisting in the aftermath of
Hurricane Georges, which inflicted heavy damage in parts of the
Commonwealth earlier this week. Some amateurs have been able to
return to the airwaves. ''Hams have made a difference here,''
reports Rafael Medina, NP3HA, in Guaynabo. Medina says he used the
WP4KYP UHF repeater to make contact with WP4EZC who, in turn,
contacted his relatives to inform them his family was okay. ''I also
use the repeater to contact people on the center of the island to
gather information and needs form the counties there,'' he said. He
also reports VHF repeater traffic to coordinate local needs. ''Civil
Defense is using hams to operate the repeater to gather information
from different regions of the island,'' he said. ''They are
providing service to the police and medical services.'' Medina said
government agencies are taking advantage of communication
capabilities provided by ham repeaters that have remained up. Power
was knocked out over much of Puerto Rico, and telephone service
remains spotty.

According to Internet reports, Hurricane Georges took out five ham
radio towers at the QTH of well-known contester Pedro Piza, NP4A.


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