Amateur radio communication relies on a series of nets to move messages—through a city or around the world. A net is a group of amateur radio operators who join a specific radio channel at a set time to share messages. Nets usually meet weekly or monthly. But during emergencies like a hurricane, they meet more frequently to send messages faster. Depending on the distance, it can take a few hours or a few days for a radiogram to travel from a sender to its recipient.
People in Queens who wanted to contact family in Puerto Rico emailed their radiogram messages to K2GSG. After receiving the request, K2GSG members called into their local net. Then the message was sent from region to region down to Florida. In Miami, radio operators reached Puerto Rico via the local net. Finally, an operator in Puerto Rico living near the recipient then told the message in person. All told, K2GSG sent about 25 radiograms.
When Jasmine Petrov, 18, joined K2GSG, she had no idea she’d be able to help during a disaster such as Hurricane Maria. “I thought we were going to broadcast our own messages about sports and maybe fashion,” she says. Now helping others is one of her favorite things about being in the club. “It was stunning to know that I would be able to help and affect lives positively in Puerto Rico without leaving this room,” she says.