Amatuer Radio Volunteers Community Service
Every year an unseen army of volunteers donate thousands of hours of time to provide communication services at public events and during disasters.
The Amateur Radio, commonly known as "Ham Radio", community in the United States has over 755,000 operators licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They're involved in many types of activities ranging from extremely low power systems, bouncing signals off the moon or meteor trails, participating in contests, and developing new technologies.
One area of active participation is support for organizers and agencies during public events like parades or marathons.
The Schaumburg Amateur Radio Association (SARC) provides trained volunteer operators for Public Service Events like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Walk-a-Thon, the Hoffman Estates 4th of July parade, and the Schaumburg Triathlon.
Rob Glowacki (FCC Radio Call Sign N9MVO), Public Service Chair for SARC, recorded close to 200 hours of volunteer time in 2018 from SARC members. Rob explains that the volunteers typically use their own equipment to provide extra eyes and ears for event organizers as well as public safety agencies such as Police, Fire, and Paramedics.
This helps leverage public safety agency effectiveness without adding cost to taxpayers or event organizers.
Rob also points out that that the Ham radio operators also use these events to practice skills necessary for another type of volunteer service, providing Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) during disaster events.
Besides supporting Public Service Events, SARC offers a variety of activities for Ham operators as well those interested in becoming a Ham. For more information check out their website, www.n9rjv.org.
Dennis C. Calvey