« Amateur radio coverage is like having an insurance policy or a spare tire,” said Michael Hickey of the Prescott-Russell Amateur Radio Club (PRARC). “You have it just in case.”
Hickey made a presentation during the October 8 Champlain Township Council session for a partnership between the club and the municipality for setting up a permanent emergency amateur radio system to serve the community in case of a major disaster situation. He noted that home-based amateur radio predates the Internet and the World Wide Web.
As long ago as the late 1940s and early 1950s, amateur radio enthusiasts chatted with each other around the globe, and also served as an extra means of communication with the outside world for communities cut off by disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and major flooding. Amateur radio also helped keep Western nations informed of events behind the “Iron Curtain” during the totalitarian regimes of Stalin and other communist dictators of that era.
Hickey noted that local PRARC members can maintain local contact for Champlain Township during situations when Internet access and cellular phone service are unavailable. Township council members asked what kind of equipment would be needed for a community-based emergency amateur radio network set up and how much it might cost. They asked Hickey to provide council and administration with more specific information for review at a later date.