Advisory: Professor uses radio hobby to connect with hard hit areas of Gulf Coast

By Jacob McConnico
Sept. 1, 2005

In the wake of what many describe as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, a Wake Forest University professor is working to turn his passion for amateur radio into yet another way those removed from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina can help out.

Ken Hoglund, professor of religion at Wake Forest and advisor to the university's Amateur Radio Club, has received requests from locals to help them track down relatives in Mississippi. He has been spending time monitoring his radio for messages from Gulf Coast shelters and looking for an opportunity to get messages to and from missing friends and family.

"When you have a disaster the size and scope of the Katrina area it becomes very complicated," he said. "What has happened is that a number of amateur volunteers from the surrounding area have moved into the area to help with search and rescue operations."

Hoglund said that once the emergency needs are met, radio operators will begin handling health and welfare information for people who want to check on the condition of friends and relatives. A network is set up to collect these requests and those messages are funneled into shelters throughout the impacted area. Amateur radio is an effective tool during natural disasters because the devices use radio waves and can run on battery power.

To talk to Hoglund about his efforts or to hear what he is hearing, contact Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

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