Ham radio operators provide support for Apple Scrapple event

October 22, 2022

Local volunteer amateur radio operators provided communications support to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center Mobile Command Unit in Bridgeville for the annual Apple Scrapple Festival Oct. 15.

Wearing yellow emergency vests, the operators, aka hams, joined the crowds of attendees to provide general information, give directions, and be the eyes and ears on the street for the county’s mobile command unit. The teams were also able to provide specific festival information, as well as assisting family members to find each other.

For an event as big as Apple Scrapple, these feet on the street allow first responders and event staff to concentrate on other tasks.

Using their radios, multiple volunteers can exchange information and quickly coordinate an incident response.

The operator on scene at an incident sends a message to net control at the mobile command unit. The message is heard by other operators working the event, and if needed, they can also respond to the location. If a visitor asks a question an operator does not have an answer for, they can call net control for information, and all event operators hear both the question and the response.

Bill Sanders, auxiliary communications group operations sections lead, said, “Fortunately for Delaware, we don’t have a lot of disasters. So, we enjoy coming to an event like this to practice our teamwork and message-passing abilities. It’s a way to keep our skills sharp.”

Each amateur radio operator is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and functions under the rules established in the Code of Federal Regulations. Each ham supplies their own equipment, and makes a concerted effort to stay current with new technologies and methods.

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