Flood Area

Reprinted from the Wheeling AVn v Register> March 6t ยก972.

As the death toll mountsand hope lor the survival ol the missing lades, amateur radio operators manning emergency communications in the Logan County disaster area are called to check the official death list with increasing frequency.

Since the Buffalo Hollow Creek Hood tragedy 10 days ago, hundreds of ham radio operators have assisted in maintaining a precarious communications link with the devastated area and the outside world.

l or C\ W. "Gifeby" Welsh of McMechen, ham radio operator since 193 K his kitchen-Side radio room has been a Iront row seat on the disaster. He and his wile, appalled by the magnitude ol the tragedy, marvel at the fortitude and perseverance of radio operators in keeping the air

International Morse ( ode at words per minute, 1 he CW broadcast] will consist of a special Armed Forces Day message from the Secretary m Defense addressed to all radio amateurs and other participants,

A KTTY receiving lest will be conducted for any station possessing the required equipment. This is a lest of the operators technical skill in aligning and adjusting his equipment, and \erves to demonstrate the growing number of amateurs becoming skilled in this method of rapid communications, The RTTY broadcast will consist of a special Armed Forces Day message from the Secretary of Defense to all radiotcletypewriter enthusiasts. The message will in- trans nutted at (>U words per minute.

wja\es open 24 hours a day since the wall ot water swept through the mining camp-dotted valley.

Within hours alter the flood, a radio operator hi M a I lory. wJ Va.. two miles below Man on Buffalo Creek, sent out the first eye-wiiness reports of survivors, Welsh says. He stayed on the job for days until a net control was designated by the West Virginia Kmergency Network.

Today station WSETF in St. Albans. W. Va., is still receiving messages from friends and relatives of

Buffalo Creek residents seeking news of their health and welfare.

Expressing his pride in the devoted service provided by the amateur radio operators, Welsh reports hearing of hundreds who volunteered their scr-vice during the ordeal since the flood. He isn't surprised, though, because ham rad io opera tors have traditionally provided people-to^people contact throughout the world in time of need, I he circle of friends ham operators acquire around the globe cover the world. Generally the contacts radio operators make are on a strictly for friendship basis. But when disaster strikes, they fill the breech left by downed telephone lines and washed out roads or more often supply the communications link where no other exists.

"if everyone was an amateur radio operator, this would be a more peaceful world." says Gibby Welsh. In the meantime, everyone can share in the pride Welsh feels for the tremendous job being done by West Virginia's hain radio operators.

Relax t'tf hv Frvd McGee. Mounds*

/vs of the World

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