An April 11 article, “Emergency Communications Driving Increase in Amateur Radio Operators,” in Emergency Management magazine links the growth in Amateur Radio numbers to interest in emergency communications.
“There has been a tremendous amount of interest in emergency preparedness since 9/11 and Katrina, and this is true for the Amateur Radio community as well,” ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, told the publication. “Emergency communications is a gateway into Amateur Radio, and many join our ranks through an interest in being better prepared themselves and as a way to serve their community.”
The article cites numbers from ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, who notes that 2016 was the third year in a row that the total number of new licenses exceeded 30,000.
The article also cites ARRL Colorado Section Manager Jack Ciaccia, WM0G, who agreed with the premise that the uptick in new licenses is due to Amateur Radio’s emergency capabilities.
“Interest really peaks after a large-scale event where ham radio has been utilized,” Ciaccia said. “When regular phone service fails, Amateur Radio operators fill the communications gap with their independent transceivers and battery power backups,” said the article, which also discusses the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).
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