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Maybe it was because I was called Miss Piggy when I was a child.

Or maybe it’s because I can do a great pig snort imitation.

Whatever the reason, I now call myself a Ham.

Before snap chat, twitter and Facebook there was this other social media called Ham Radio. A community of folks, mostly men, that rag chew about various subjects. I listen in and find their conversations fascinating, educational and entertaining.

My fascination started with the radio when I was a little girl. My grandparents had a shortwave radio. I’m not sure why or how, but I ended up with that radio. A few buttons or knobs had come off, but it was still usable. I tuned in to El Radio de Havana, Cuba, Voice of America, etc. I could also hear the air traffic controllers from nearby RDU International. I suppose that was where my notion of being a pilot came from. That never came to fruition, because my father was once on a plane when an engine blew out. He never flew again and certainly didn’t want me flying either.

In college I had  an interview for air traffic controller. I passed out when I went for the physical(before the needle even hit my arm). Maybe that indicated I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure. Probably saved many lives by not following that career path.

So, now, many years later, I found the hobby of Amateur Radio.

I passed the test to become a Technician and bought a little hand-held radio and listened. I never jumped in on a conversation, though I should have. A friend found out I was interested in Amateur Radio and gave me the equipment belonging to his father, now a silent key. I couldn’t use it, because I didn’t have the General license, so I stored it in my basement.

Earlier this year I searched for emergency communications and found that the North Carolina Baptists on Mission was holding a Disaster Relief training and included an option for amateur radio operators and IT professionals, so I signed up.  (I’m not an IT professional, by the way).

Very quickly I discovered I was out of my league and my Technician License wouldn’t help out the group in a disaster.

In June, I passed my General Exam and started participating in the online discussions with the NCBEARS(NC Baptist Emergency Amateur Radio Service). With help from my Elmers online, I set up my Radio and G5RV inverted Vee antenna and finally made my first contact just as Hurricane Florence was headed in my direction.

The NC Baptists on Mission organization provides food, laundry services, showers, child care, and communications in Disaster Areas.

Manna One and our Comm trailer is on-site in New Bern as of yesterday, ready to help those affected by the hurricane.

Disaster Relief Comms Trailer

Your donation would be greatly appreciated in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. https://baptistsonmission.org/Mission-Projects/By-Mission-Type/Disaster-Relief/Hurricane-Florence/Donations

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