Oregon amateur radio operators prep for disaster response

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU/CNN) – If a major disaster ever does hit the Pacific Northwest, a group of unlikely heroes may be ready to step in and help.

They’re amateur radio operators. And if the power grid goes down, they may be the only line of communication with the rest of the world.

They did a simulated test all over the Oregon Saturday, sending messages back and forth.

John Core is the Oregon Section Manager for the American Association of Radio Operators. He said, “You’ve gotta have communications, when there’s a disaster the first responders have to be able to talk to each other and if there’s a bad earthquake then the cell phones the internet don’t work then the ham radios become very important.”

Ham operators, as they call themselves, do this for the love of it.

They’ve created an all-volunteer network of about 650,000 people spread across the state.

The communication is no longer limited to talking in Morse code either.

They’re now able to send email messages through their radios.

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