Retired airman finds hobby in storm spotting
Cannon Connections photo: Tony Bullocks Ham radio operator and storm chaser/spotter Jeff Hardy watches for incoming weather from his specially-equipped storm chasing vehicle. Hardy recently retired from the Air Force.
The Eastern New Mexico Amateur Ham Radio Operators Club in Curry County will contact other radio operators around the area in a mock emergency Saturday and Sunday at Clovis Community College.
The weekend event is called the Amateur Radio Relay League.
For recently retired Master Sgt. Jeff Hardy from the 27th Special Operations Wing, being a ham radio operator is a passion. He’s doing something that he enjoys — being a storm spotter.
“Last year a guy named Master Sgt. Mike White I worked with was active in ham radio,” Hardy said. “He was talking to me about it because pretty much my whole life I’ve been interested in meteorology because I haven’t lived anywhere you can see as far as you can here.”
Hardy said White told him about classes the National Weather Service was having for storm spotting last year and one of the things that came out of that was the amateur radio aspect and calling in storms.
Hardy said they will have three stations running off generators for the mock test.
Ham radio operators use UHF, VHF and HF and some do fall within the AM and FM band width that are assigned.
There are currently five active duty airmen participating in the club.
Roy Creiglow of Clovis has been a ham radio operator for more than 20 years and a storm spotter for the past nine years.
“My wife Sundra is the head of the storm spotters.” Creiglow said. “We call our place ‘storm spotter central.’”
Storm Spotter classes are held each spring in Clovis for volunteers by the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
“People don’t know the involvement we have in the community through emergency planning, storm spotting and backup communication,” Creiglow said. “If the police radios suddenly all went dead, we can still talk because our repeaters have battery backup and they stay on the air.”
Creiglow said the group meets at Farmers Electric Co-op on Llano Estacado Boulevard at 10 a.m. the first Saturday in the month and they welcome anyone.