The National Association for Amateur Radio or ARRL (American Radio Relay League), headquartered in Newington CT, recently sent equipment and volunteers to Puerto Rico to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. This was in response to a call from the Red Cross asking for 50 trained radio operators and 25 radio kits to be sent immediately.
The gear was shipped to Atlanta for initial staging and then on to San Juan. Once there it was discovered that due to the extremely high ambient noise – power generators, heavy duty machinery and the like – headsets were going to be needed. A call was put into Heil Sound and the company promptly arranged to ship 25 of their Pro7 headsets to the volunteers in San Juan.
The Pro7 features thick gel foam ear pads and provides -26dB of noise reduction making it useful in high ambient noise environments. In addition, the headsets feature a unique phase reversal switch which allows the user to acoustically move the signals forward and creates a spatial widening of the sound field. This feature makes it easier to pull a weak signal from a pileup, a valuable tool for this application.
“The island is still kind of cut off,” said Mike Corey, Emergency Preparedness Manager with the ARRL. “San Juan is starting to come back online. There’s still a lot of the island that is without communications, and this will go a long way to help bridge some of those gaps.”
The country remains largely without power, cell phone service or the Internet. Ham radio, however, does not use cellular technology to operate and can be powered by generators, batteries or solar power. “You can, within an hour, have a full-operating amateur radio station and communicate with the world on very little power,” said Valerie Hotzfeld, a ham radio operator who is heading to Puerto Rico to volunteer.
Tom Gallagher, CEO of ARRL, speaking on Ham Nation Wednesday, thanked Heil Sound and all of the participants saying, “the amateur radio community should be proud of the work that they did to help in this disaster.”