by Larry Little
When disasters happen, cities and counties in East Texas depend on emergency communications from amateur radio operators. Jeanie Miles has been an amateur radio operator for 19 months. "I became an operator after the space shuttle accident. I saw what a role we were able to play in that and the need for communicators, so I became a radio operator then," says Miles.
Jeanie is a member of the Deep East Texas Amateur Radio Operators. The group manned several post at area shelters during hurricane Rita, but ran into problems because there were 7 operators and nearly 40 shelters. "With the number of communicators we had, we weren't able to staff all the shelters. We did staff several of the shelters but we had to do it for 24 hour periods so again we were stretched to the max," says Miles.
With hurricane season about one month away East Texas amateur radio operators hope a few good men and women will join them. "If you are a ham radio operator and you didn't participate last year we would love to have you participate with us. If you are not a radio operator it is really easy become one," says Miles.