MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Hurricane Matthew’s winds toppled trees, knocking out some of our main sources of power and communication. IF a stronger storm were strike our area, what is our last line of defense to communicate DURING a disaster?
Despite our growing dependence on digital communication, radio is an old, yet reliable technology that still has a place, and a large community of volunteers utilizing it, including Gordon Mooneyhan.
“It’s meeting people around the world, I can travel the world without leaving home.”
The love of radio started for Mooneyhan when he was a young kid AND his parents got him a short wave receiver, which he still has.
He now uses his radio hobby to help others as a member of the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club, and especially in disaster situations.
“A storm could come in and knock everything down, cell phones would be out, cell towers would be down, I could take a wire, hook it to the back of this radio and hook it to my car battery and talk around the world.”
During Hurricane Matthew, he was on the front lines relaying conditions on the ground with what meteorologists were seeing on the radar.
“Information when the eyewall passed us, wind speeds, all stuff they need. The ground truth that radar doesn’t tell them.”
Gordon isn’t alone on this mission. He estimates hundreds of Amateur radio operators live in Horry County and over a thousand more across the Pee Dee.
Matthew McGuire, coordinator of Horry County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), states that the assistance of amateur radio operators is critical.
“Cell phones systems still aren’t designed to take that degree of traffic at that point in time. So down they go, so then you have Amateur radio to provide back up communication for the shelters.”
Despite being an older, yet reliable technology, Gordon says the future of radio still sounding good.
“Yes it’s an old fashioned technology, but at the same time, we keep coming up with new ways to do things and so yes,…