Local ham radio operators helping during Hurricane Dorian

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) In emergencies like hurricanes, old fashioned ham radio operators become very important.

Ham radio operator Tim Berry relays his call sign./(WVLT)

The amateur radio enthusiasts are able to reach almost anywhere in the world through the air waves.

Before emergencies, the ham operators make plans for which frequencies they'll use to relay information about conditions and loved ones.

Tim Berry is a ham radio operator in Knoxville. He's been one most of his life in his off time and a commercial radio engineer in his professional career. Berry said they can be operating in just minutes after a storm passes.

"When all else fails, amateur radio. It's pretty simple, but it's pretty profound," Berry said. "We can take our equipment with as little as as radio, battery, and a wire, or a hand held portable unit if you're speaking of local communications, and literally go where communications aren't."

All ham operators in the U.S. have to be licensed by the FCC. Berry said there are more than 900,000 currently licences across the country.

Want to learn how to become a ham operator? Go here.

Copyright 2019 WVLT News. All rights reserved.