To reach hurricane victims, Copiague man goes ham
As Long Islanders with friends and relatives in Puerto Rico try to find ways to reach them with the island's telecommunications down after Hurricane Maria, a Copiague man is trying to help them with his ham radio.
Bob Myers says he's been operating amateur radios since he was a teen.
"My call letters are K-2-T-V," he says. That's "kilo, 2, tango, victor," when he's communicating over the airwaves.
Short-wave radios are capable of communicating with Puerto Rico, where the storm knocked out the entire power grid, Myers says.
Earlier Thursday, he says he had a conversation with a man there who had his own ham radio, an emergency generator and a temporary antenna.
"He said to me it was almost as if an atom bomb had gone off," Myers says. "Telephone poles are done, no electricity, no cellphones...They've been using water from a cistern."
The conversation ended when the man in Puerto Rico shut down his generator to conserve fuel, Myers says.
Others on the island are relaying phone numbers, asking ham radio operators in the mainland to reach out to family members on their behalf.
"It's a hobby, but it's also a service," Myers says.
The Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club has its headquarters at Babylon Town Hall, and Myers says the group will continue to help the people of Puerto Rico, while maintaining readiness for any potential catastrophes here at home.