“Participating in this test gives us a chance that we don’t always have, where we can communicate with military ham radio and military stations,” said Richardson. “It’s also always good to know your abilities. Most of our members are FEMA trained, which means we use the same forms as the government, which sort of puts us all on the same page.
For Muscatine County in particular, the ARES team will use the new Amateur Disaster Emergency Radio Network for the test. The hub of this system is located in the tower of Muscatine Community College. Through its hub, it has the ability to enable computer networking without an internet connection, allowing users to send videophone and file transfers as well as messages.
“It’s a secure system, secure enough so that we can move hospital records to it. It’s basically like our own internet, so even when the internet goes down we can just radio our computers together, ”said Richardson.
This will be the first time it will be used for a test like this. Other Muscatine ARES members will operate from the EmComm1 communication trailer or their home stations.
“Our cell phones are so fragile, let alone the Internet. But even when those services aren’t working, amateur radio still works. Amateur radio is a hobby that has a bit of something for everyone because there are so many different things you can do with it, and in a way, that was the social network of origin. It’s really nice to be able to use it to talk to people all over the world, ”he said.