When cell phones, regular phones, the internet and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called “hams,” enjoy radio technology as a hobby. But it's also a service –a vital service that has saved lives when regular communication systems failed. Most of the major hospitals have an Amateur Radio in their communications room. It is put to use when major accidents and disasters happen. Ham Radio is the ability to communicate -- across the street, around the world, or even with people and satellites in space! Even when the power's out, and the land lines and cell phones don't work, with a battery, a radio, and a wire, ham radio is there. This painting is inspired by local Amateur Radio Operators setting up an antenna for communications. The ability to get an antenna high enough to get the signal out there is made easy with the air cannon you see the subject using. It fires the weight above the tree line and enables the antenna to be lifted to the required height with ease. In 2005's Hurricane Katrina, radio operators were functioning three days before landfall. At the request of the American Red Cross, radio operators then supplemented communications at 200 shelters. Seven-hundred private radio operators were working by Sept. 6. In New York City, a loosely organized national group called "Amateur Radio Emergency Service" (ARES) was activated within five minutes of American Flight 11 crashing into the north tower, the first attack. Private, non-government radio operators, called "Hams" or "Amateur Radio Operators" worked in shifts for two weeks. I am a licensed Amateur Radio Operator and I hope you enjoy my impression of this awesome hobby. This is 16x20 oil on canvas panel. KG5LOJ-Nina Stephens
Can you hear me now?