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Orlando HamCation event: Ham radios offered lifeline to Puerto Rico … – WESH Orlando

Thousands of people flocked to a huge electronics show at the Central Florida Fairgrounds this weekend.

Ham radio hobbyists and amateurs gathered in the thousands for the 72nd edition of the Orlando “HamCation.”

Ham radio operators use a wide range of frequencies and technologies to communicate around the world and locally.

The ways they share information range from speech to Morse code.

For enthusiasts at the event, the chance to buy, sell and trade equipment offers fun, but ham radio is serious business, too.

For decades, ham radio operators have been vital during disasters, when all other communications fail.

How to handle disasters was one of the topics that radio operators discussed. Those at the event heard from the man who led the amateur radio effort to help Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria in September.

“During that time we had 100 percent loss of power and 98 percent loss of all communication on the island,” Oscar Resto, Puerto Rico ham radio manager, said.

Amateur radio was an important lifeline for the government, emergency workers and citizens, who had to rely on it when nothing else worked.

“This situation proved that when everything fails, ham radio is the last resort.Even with one communication at a time,” Resto said.

It’s a responsibility hams in our area who helped after Hurricane Irma know firsthand.

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