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Amateur Radio Stands Ready to Support Eclipse Operations


The upcoming April 8, 2024, solar eclipse has many excited about the opportunity to witness the darkness of totality. Spectators from across the country are traveling to the path of total darkness that will stretch from South Texas to Northeastern Maine.

Some states are anticipating more than a million travelers for the event. In the impacted areas, schools will be letting students out early for the day, and residents are being encouraged to avoid driving on the day of the event. Emergency response organizations are adding staff for the event in many areas. The eclipse is expected to directly impact parts of 14 states as it moves across the country. The travel impact alone could be substantial.  

In preparation for the event, many state emergency management organizations have called on local hams to provide communication services via HF nets and locally on VHF/UHF frequencies. There have been numerous planning meetings, exercises, and preparations across the country. The ARRL Emergency Management department has worked with ARRL Section Emergency Coordinators and Section Managers in the directly affected areas to collect the frequencies each Section plans to utilize, and to assist in any frequency conflicts. Hams across multiple states and ARRL Sections have been practicing their communications capabilities via Winlink, SSB, and CW. "It is great to see Sections along the path working together to be prepared to assist in any emergency, should it occur during the event," said ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV. "Heavy traffic is the major concern, but [anything can happen] during such a large event," he added.  

Johnston went on to say, "There will be several on-air operating events on the day of the eclipse, but please give some space for any emergency traffic that may be taking place as well."  

Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) is leading the Solar Eclipse QSO Party which will allow radio amateurs to participate in propagation research by operating during the eclipse and submitting their logs. Much of that activity will be focused on the FT8 frequencies of the non-World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC) HF bands, but all modes will be welcome during the event.



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