In August of 1933 a major hurricaine struck the East Coast and devastated much of the area. With telephone and telegraph services knocked out, Salisbury was cut off from the outside world. Amateur radio operators (or ham operators as they are called) set up a make shift station in a downtown restaurant to send and receive emergency messages.
The following newspaper article published in the Wicomico Weekly News, details the events and individuals who volunteered their services. Unknown to most citizens today, ham operators are still working hard to keep emergency communications systems in place and ready should disasters strike. (See Delmarva Amateur Radio Club Home Page)
"AMATEUR OPERATORS FIRST TO CONTACT WORLD AFTER STORM
Salisbury amateur radio operators put out the first messages from this section of the Eastern Shore when all other forms of communication were cut off by ravages of the tropical storm this week, through the use of amateur station W3CQS, owned by Edward I. Thompson. This station is licensed to operate at Mr. Thompsonís residence, but in order to obtain higher voltage the outfit was moved to the grill and bus terminal downtown for the emergency operation.
The storm left in its wake atmospheric disturbances that prevented immediately broadcasts and it was not until 11 hours that the stationís signal was caught, at 5:32 A.M. Thursday it was answered by Amateur station W2BPY, Perth Amboy, N.Y. Contact with the outside world was continued for twelve hours, until telephone and telegraph communication was restored.
Operators asisting in the radio dispatches were: L. Dean Powell, operator of W3VJ; Dave Woods, W3GE, Richmond, VA, who is spending his vacation hereí James W. Burn, W3ADP and Mr. Thomson. Edgar L. Hudson, W3BAK, Laurel, Del also assisted.
Communication was established with Roy Corderman, W3ZD, Chevy Chase, Md; Brad Martin, W3QP, Roslyn, PA; Harry Stein, W3CL, Philadelphia; and Robert Maloney, W2BPY, Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
In additon to press dispatches from The Salisbury Times, telling of the storm, the operators handled scores of messages of an emergency nature."
Also noted in a separate article a few days later, Mr. Thompson, W3CQS, was severely burned on his hand after touching 600 volts of radio energy coming from his radio equipment at the emergency radio station.
May 1998 Web Page Author George "Buddy" Richardson, N3RKV