Unique hobby turns helpful during emergencies

By DANI BLACKBURN
Montague County amateur radio operators travel all around the world without leaving home through a unique hobby that combines technology and communication.
Radios allow operators to communicate with each other across the county or strangers across the world along with providing emergency communications and weather spotting when needed.
The Montague County Amateur Radio Club was formed in January 2014. The club was born out of disaster when an F1 tornado ripped through the Amon G. Carter Lake area in May 2013 with no warning to the residents.
“Nobody said anything, no one was watching, including the weather service. It just happened,” said MCARC President Alan Walraven. “A friend said hey, you have an amateur radio how come we didn’t hear anything about this? I said well it’s not going to happen again.”
Eight charter members organized the club with a strong belief there was a necessity for it in this area.
“We felt a real need for it, certainly in the county. It seems like towns and cities can take care of themselves, but there’s no one out here watching the rural part,” said Walraven.

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Alan Walraven sits at his “ham” radio system He is president of the Montague County Amateur Radio Club. (Courtesy photo)