HAM Radio Operators Help In Davis County Storm Cleanup Efforts

Sep 12, 2020, 5:09 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 11:23 pm

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — HAM radio operators helped to organize and coordinate the cleanup efforts of tree and storm debris in Bountiful following the devastating windstorms that hit Northern Utah earlier this week.

The first wave of storms blew through the area Monday — taking down trees, powerlines, even tipping over 18-wheelers. Ever since, people have been cleaning up debris the storm left behind.

The Utah National Guard was deployed to assist with cleanup efforts, and on Saturday, dozens of volunteers used their skills as HAM radio operators to organize and coordinate those efforts.

He knew he didn’t have to be here, but when it comes to this kind of a cleanup effort, Leon Hoffman couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

The windstorms that hit throughout Northern Utah did quite some damage to trees.

“It’s just sad to lose all those old trees,” said Hoffman.

To reduce long lines at the landfill from people cleaning them up, they were encouraged to bring their broken trees and branches to church parking lots, like the one Hoffman was at in Bountiful.

There, the Utah National Guard took all that debris, piled it up, and then took it to the landfill themselves in several trucks at a time.

That’s where Hoffman comes in. He spent Saturday afternoon directing people where to go when they got to the church, and he coordinated it all with his HAM radio.

Dozens of volunteers like Hoffman used their skills as HAM radio operators to communicate with a central location.

Joan Rapp used the information she received on her HAM radio in the Bountiful Police Department to determine how full or busy sites were. It allowed her to direct people and resources to other locations that either needed it or weren’t so busy.

To some, it may seem silly using HAM radios in the era of cell phones, but they work when cell phones don’t.

“We had some problems with cell phone service in the last few days,” said Rapp.

Hoffman, who is 83 years old, said it feels nice to be needed.

“Keeps me busy, yeah,” he said with a laugh.

Though heavy wind may knock down old trees, there’s no way it will keep him down.

Hoffman said he and others will be out as long as it takes to get the job done.

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HAM Radio Operators Help In Davis County Storm Cleanup Efforts