The Flagpole With No Flag

What is that flagpole for??

A flagpole has mysteriously appeared at the rear of the CCEMS Education Center, with no flags and only wires attached! What is it for?



The wires hanging from the flagpole serve as the antenna and connect to radio equipment inside

The simple answer is “to provide email capability when there is no internet”

How can that work???

In major disasters, cell phone systems are often not available and other means of communications are needed. In this system, ‘short wave radio’ is used to send short emails to another part of the country where there is internet (or can be delivered by radio).

In major disasters, cell phone systems are often not available because of overload or being out of commission and other means of communications are needed. CCEMS has radio communication systems that are independent of the internet, but in addition, radio amateurs, or ‘hams’, can provide radio communication for both voice messages and email via radio. This system proved very useful during Hurricane Ike for relaying messages out of the disaster area where there was no cellphone coverage and no internet. CCEMS has now expanded equipment to send email messages via VHF and also HF radio using the Winlink system.

During Ike, the Winlink antenna at our Sugar Pine location was utilized. Now, Cypress Creek EMS is expanding communications capacity for disasters with the addition of the second antenna behind the CCEMS Education Center at 7111 Five Forks. The new antenna system was installed by Amateur Radio Operator Alan Isaachsen who also provided the information for this article.


What is Winlink?

The Winlink system is also used by Federal agencies to provide email/data communications when there is no internet system available. A modem is used to send digital data over a radio, usually on HF frequencies, to a distant station that is able to deliver the information to the end user.


Winlink can also use the internet, if available, to increase flexibility and message capacity.


 Want to become a ham?

Go to one of your local clubs! You will find out about licensing that is required and how to study for the exam. But also look at

Many clubs will support community events, for example, providing communications for bike rides and marathons. These are opportunities to participate and find out how radio communication can be used.

Also, there are groups that focus on emergency communications as described at

how to study for the exam.



One thought on “The Flagpole With No Flag

  1. Winlink was the savior of my sanity for many years. I lived in a remote cabin in Northern Alaska with no communication with my family or anyone else for that matter until I got my amateur radio license. Even then it was hit or miss if I could contact my son, a ham, on the East coast. Then my Elmer opened my eyes to Winlink and the rest as they say is history. It is a totally reliable form of communication that indeed works when all others fail. Thanks for the informative posting, I hope others take advantage of the Winlink system.

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