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KATRINA FIRST HAM STORIES



Edward R. Cole wrote:

 Collegues,
 >>>>>
 >>>>> I am located in Pass Christian, MS, approximately 5 miles north 
of the MS
      coastline.  I am the AMSAT Area Coordinator for the Mississippi 
Gulf Coast
 >>>> area.  I have significant damage to my home and my life is completely
 >>>> upset, as are most everyone I know. My ham losses are minimal as I 
only
 >>>> lost my HF beam and a couple of pieces of surplus equipment.  My 
satellite
 >>>> antennas were dismantled several months prior to the storm to 
replace the
 >>>> elevation rotor.  I still cannot live in my home, but I live for 
the day
 >>>> that I can.  I would trade all of my ham gear and my license if it 
would
 >>>> undo any part of the damage to the Gulf Coast.
 >>>>
 >>>>> A great deal of discussion is ensuing about Eagle and the 
symposium, what   
     decisions were made, when they were announced, etc. and its being 
copied to
 >>   all fieldops.  At this time, I find some of the comments somewhat
     sensitive, considering the extreme devastation that stretches all 
along the
 >>>> Gulf Coast.
    
     Comments like "Where were you when Katrina hit" bring back very painful
     memories that I would just as soon forget.  I was hunkered down in 
a motel
 >>>> room, 250 miles from my home, not knowing if I would have a house 
to return
 >>>> to, let alone any radio equipment.  I had to mentally write all of 
that off
 >>>> when I left the coast Saturday morning.
   
     Then I had to deal with the unknown while I was trapped there as 
gasoline
     supplies were exhausted, and civil unrest ruled the coast.  Gangs were
 >>>> pulling people out of trucks carrying gas cans and generators.  
Vigilanties
 >>>> roamed the neighborhoods shooting at anyone they thought did not 
belong
 >>>> there.  Rule of law completely collapsed for a week across the 
labor day
 >>>> weekend.  But you are not going to read about that in the press.  
There
 >>>> were very few reporters and they were concentrated in Biloxi or 
New Orleans.
 >>>> 
 >>>>
 >>>>> Some of my ham and non-ham friends have far more horrific 
stories, losing
     everything or only barely surviving by clinging to a tree or being 
trapped
 >>>> in their attic for the 12 long hours that Katrina battered the coast.
 >>>> Several people I knew, non-hams, one I worked closely with, died 
in the
 >>>> storm.  The obituaries ran page after page, and still run in the local
 >>>> newspaper.
 >>>> 
 >>>>
 >>>>> Meanwhile, the toll in misery continues.  You cannot understand this
     unless you lived here and can see what little remains.  While the 
press has
 >>>> focused on New Orleans, and horrible it was over there, there are many
 >>>> areas still on the Gulf Coast that no president visited, no 
reporter wrote
 >>>> about, nor any videographer filmed, where there are no houses to 
restore
 >>>> electricity to, nor anyplace to live.  Entire communities are 
gone.  Bay
 >>>> St. Louis, Waveland, Pearlington, Pass Christian, Long Beach.
 >>>>
 >>>>> I pass in silence through neighborhoods which, once teaming with 
life, are
     now silent witness, strewn with the wreckage of homes and people's 
lives.
 >>>> Many people have simply left the area, never to return.  It is 
estimated
 >>>> that up to 1/3rd of the population will be lost to other areas of 
the country.

 >>>>> So I apologize if I seem oversensitive, but arguing over Katrina 
and what
 >>>>> impact it had to what is really just a hobby barely seems 
worthwhile.  I
     have limited bandwidth down here, and I don't have the time to wade 
through
 >>>> all of this.  Please take it off-list and argue among 
yourselves.   Someday, I    
anticiapte that I will once again have my life restored sufficiently
    that I can return to amateur radio with the energy and
 >>>> enthusiasm I had six weeks ago.  I even look forward to the 
eventual loss
 >>>> of Eagle and perhaps returning to the Dayton hamvention next year 
to get
 >>>> caught up on the latest news in AMSAT.   But for now, Katrina 
taught me
 very well what is important in life and
 >>>> what is not.   73, Terry, W8JE
 >>>
     Terry,
 >>>> What can we say...?  My wife and I live in Alaska but sat glued to 
the TV
 >>>> thru that weekend and the following days wondering about  her son 
(KB0MLT)
 >>>> in Gulfport.  There was no phone, cell, or internet, of course.  
We also
 >>>> wondered about my wife's home in Pass Christian and all the 
friends she had
 >>>> when living down there.  The news totally ignored the "ground zero" of
 >>>> Katrina: Waveland, Bay St. Louis, and Pass Christian.  Fortunately 
her son
 >>>> was OK and their home suffered slight damage.  He was able to call 
out by
 >>>> cell-phone in the early hours when circuits slowed enough to get 
out.  We
 >>>> could not call in. Later he was able to drive over and check the house
          in Pass  Christian and
 >>>> it's a miracle but it suffered little damage.  We could not 
believe it.
 >>>> This was 10-miles inland just north of I-10.  Incidently, we had 
sold the
 >>>> house and our buyer was enroute by U-haul to arrive the day after
 >>>> katrina...the sale fell thru, not suprisingly.  But it was just as 
well as
 >>>> her son had to move from their rented home the following 
week...into my
 >>>> wife's home (things sometimes work in a strange way).  My wife's 
neighbor's
 >>>> house was water damaged and they now live in Alabama and have no 
jobs back
 >>>> home (and basically no home).
 >>>>
 >>>> So we are not impacted quite like you...but it has been a real 
experience.
 >>>> I do agree with Amsat's decision to cancel the Symposium...and 
Rita made
 >>>> that double.  Hoping you can make your way thru the hard times and 
recover.
 >>>>
 >>>> With sincere sympathy,
 >>>> 73's,  Ed - KL7UW
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