Amateur Radio and the Tuscaloosa Tornado Experience

Richard Ranson KD9Q amateur radio university alabama senior broadcast engineer ham
Richard Ranson, KD9Q

March 3, 2012 – VA3XPR Global 360 Net

Guest Speaker: Richard Ranson, KD9Q, Senior Broadcast Engineer, University of Alabama

Overview: On April 27, 2011, a large tornado tracked across Tuscaloosa County, Alamaba, including the southern and eastern portions of the city of Tuscaloosa. Join in to the VA3XPR Global 360 Net to hear a firsthand account from our guest speaker Richard Ranson, KD9Q, on how Amateur Radio provided vital emergency communications during this natural disaster.

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Net Minutes

Net participants included:

Don, VA3XFT (net controller)
Rich, KD9Q (guest speaker)
Peter, VE3EYI
David, VE3SB
David, VE3TIJ
Charles, WB2SNN
Brent, VE3XBD
Malcolm, VE3BGD

Emergency preparedness tips for hams shared by Rich, KD9Q:

1. Batteries – always have lots of charged batteries on hand for your HTs, as if the power if off for an extended period of time, you will likely not be able to charge them for up to 72 hours. Also, find a battery case that allows the use of alkaline cells.

2. Cables and Connectors – during an emergency, you may need to connect your radios to other antenna systems. To allow this, you should keep a box of various RF adapters and patch cables of various lengths on hand.

3. Family Communications – cellular phone networks are not engineered to handle the volume of calls that occur during emergencies or may be knocked out completely, so keeping in communication with family members may be a challenge. One way to deal with this is keep a set of inexpensive Family Radio Service (FRS) radios on hand that will allow you to keep in contact with them over short distances during such events.


About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.