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ARRL, Heil Sound Help Volunteers Communicate in Puerto Rico

Ham radio volunteers can aid disaster relief, even off the grid

Valerie (NV9L) at work in Puerto Rico.

NEWINGTON, Conn. � The American Radio Relay League recently responded to a call from the Red Cross requesting 50 trained radio operators and 25 radio kits to be sent to Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Maria�s aftermath.

The majority of the U.S. territory is off the grid � electricity, cell phone service and Internet access are all still spotty, but this makes ham radio an ideal communications solution because it does not use cellular technology to operate and can be powered by generators, batteries or solar, according to a press release from Heil Sound.

ARRL shipped gear from Connecticut to initial staging and then on to San Juan, Puerto Rico, but once on the island, volunteers identified a need for headsets; power generators, heavy machinery and other disaster recovery equipment produce a high level of ambient noise.

In turn, ARRL asked Heil Sound to contribute, and the company provided 25 Pro7 headsets.

The Pro7s feature thick gel foam ear pads and provide -26 dB of noise reduction, as well as a phase reversal switch. The switch enables users to acoustically move the signals forward and creates a spatial widening of the sound field, which makes it easier to pull a weak signal from a pileup, according to Heil.�

�San Juan is starting to come back online. There�s still a lot of the island that is without communications, and this will go a long way to help bridge some of those gaps,� ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey was quoted in the release.