Amateur radio in the news: Boston Marathon, ham radio revival


Hams at the net control station for the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Marathon hams took on vital role after Marathon bombingsManchester native Harrison Williams, now a junior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was at his ham radio command post in Brookline on April 15 of last year, coordinating the “Bus Net” system for the Boston Marathon, when two explosions rocked the finish line on Boylston Street.

The revival of ham radio. In the days of Facebook and Twitter, a form of communication that has been around for more than 100 years is seeing a revival. That’s no surprise to the more than 1.5 million amateur radio operators, better known as “hams.” After all, they talk to people around the world, and even those in outer space.

How will emergency crews communicate if the ‘system’ goes down? Here is one answer. It started out as a normal day, a few ambulance runs, a kitchen fire, a routine check of an alarm going off somewhere that was caused by an employee who forgot the code for the security system, and so forth. Then about 2 p.m, came a small shake; everybody felt it, and started looking around at each other and asking “ Did you feel that?”

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