Mike Swiader is president of the Newton County Amateur Radio Association. The organization has been around for six months and now has 501c3 status as a non-profit association. And he is currently seeking grants for repeaters he is to install from a local water tower near Rensselaer. If all goes as planned for Swiader and his team of broadcasters, he will soon be teaching locals how to become certified in the unique amateur radio service, often referred to as “amateur radio”.
Swiader is from the DeMotte region. He developed his passion for amateur radio from an early age. “My father was an amateur radio operator. And I became an amateur radio operator at the age of 16. Amateur broadcasters are licensed teams that assist first responders and local authorities during large community events or crippling emergencies. Their exact job description might be as eccentric as their nickname, which Swiader says first appeared in the 1920s. “The British can’t say ‘amateur’, they say ‘amateurs’,” he said. -he declares. “So they just picked it up here in the United States and said, ‘Okay, yeah, we’re a bunch of hams. “” Swiader had some success joining and starting local amateur radio groups in the area, before moving to Florida in 1999, where he founded the North Port Amateur Radio Club. It was not long after this period, in the mid-2000s, that he got a good taste of the action that came with ham radio when deadly hurricanes hit the country. “We are the only reliable source of communication when all else fails,” Swiader said. “The first responder towers fail, the electricity fails, we operate with virtually no commercial power. He says he provided communications for four hurricanes or related incidents, including three in Florida and one occasion in Arizona, where evacuees were arriving to seek refuge. He compared it to what’s going on in Puerto Rico right now. “There were a few people from the Kankakee Radio Club who went down there and provided communications all the way back to the mainland,” he said. “… The only way they communicate is that they have a group of radio amateurs there. This is what is happening. This is exactly what we are doing. Read the full story in the print edition or by subscribing to the electronic edition.