Ham Radio 911


Ten years ago as of the day of the writing of this article my wife had to leave early for work.  I was just getting ready to head out the door when she called and told me to listen to the news.  That is how I learned about the 9 11 attacks.  September 11, 2001 is a day etched on my mind as it is with so many others in the United States of America and around the world.

It seemed strange as I rode my motorcycle to work and passed the Sacramento International Airport to see no activity and this continued for a few days.

We have all seen the September 11 videos and the September 9 11 photos.  We know about the September 11 victims.  We hear about the bravery of the police and firemen and they deserve every bit of the praise and thanks we can give them but there is something about 9 11 that we hear very little about.   That is the ham radio operators that provided vital communications to down town New York City and around the Pentagon.   

Probably most people don’t even realize the part amateur radio operators played in the overall operations of that day.

The 9/11 Commission staff admitted there were several communications failures at the federal government level during and after the September 11 attacks.  The radio repeaters for New York City Fire Department communication were installed on the tower complex.  The New York City Police Department and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) also lost communications.  Cell phones and land line phone service was disrupted and in areas near the 911 attacks where they did work most were filled to capacity by people concerned for the well being of loved ones.

Ham radio operator providing service after the September 11 attack in New York City.

Ham radio was working fine so members of “Amateur Radio Emergency Service” (ARES) were activated within five minutes of American Flight 11 crashing into the north tower, the first attack.  For two weeks the local hams took shifts so operations continued around the clock filling in where other communications systems failed.

So on this day September 11, 2011 Ham’s Life gives a hearty solute and a big thank you to all the hams that participated by giving of their own time and equipment at no expense to the tax payers to provide the critical communications needed  for the life saving operations.

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