First meeting set for new Ham radio group

Amateur radio operators from around Morgan County and the region are coming together to form an emergency network to help supplement official communications in the event of a major disaster in the area.

Ham radio has long been known for being able to pass information between long and short distances when all other conventional forms of communications fail, as when hurricanes or tornados or other disasters hit.

They offer an important backup that can supplement and support first responders and other service providers in times of extremis. Nationwide, there are many Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), organizations that develop networks of fixed base and mobile stations and train, become certified and exercise to be able to be able to rapidly respond when all else fails.

The ARES organizations from around the country offer a great deal of experience in identifying special operating equipment, training opportunities, protocols and procedures and effective ways to interface with local authorities – all of which will be utilized in organizing this new service for Morgan County.

The Morgan County ARES group is just getting started. Berkeley Springs resident John Petersen is organizing the initial meeting of interested hams (and anyone else who would like to become involved), for Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. in the Morgan County Commission room in the courthouse. Petersen can be contacted for details at