Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications

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ejarvi-p40
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Amateur Radio ...

Postby ejarvi-p40 » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:18 am

thedqs wrote:Thanks for the links.
For those in WA, ARES is here:
http://www.wastateares.org/ From here you can get to most other WA based emergency channels.

National RACES:
http://www.races.net

Links to local chapters of Military Affiliate Radio System
http://www.dxer.com/mars.html


I was recently released as an ERC specialist in my ward, here's a little of what I learned along the way:
  • MARA NW lists several LDS friendly net frequencies and times in WA and OR that are great for station optimization and fellowship at http://www.maranw.net/nets.php
  • ARRL membership is worth the money even if it's just the 'blind' rate with no magazine - make sure to sign up for email updates on what's happening in your area and around the country.
  • Volunteering with your local ARES/RACES chapter can be very rewarding.
  • Even if you're not ready for ARES quite yet, if you're called as an ERC specialist for your ward or stake you may want to seriously consider taking ARRL EmComm Training (Levels 1-3). The curriculum is very good. Consider the church a "served agency" and it starts reading like a manual for the ERC calling.
  • IS-100 and IS-700 online training (ICS and NIMS) are also worth taking for an understanding of the standard organizational structure used by government agencies during a response effort. This is designed to help them be compatible with each other. If we want to help alleviate suffering and assist during these efforts, knowing how the process works seems like it should be a basic prerequisite.

WB7SGL-p40
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Website Dedicated to LDS Amateurs

Postby WB7SGL-p40 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:30 pm

I am hosting a website dedicated to LDS Amateur Radio, it is open to everyone and not limited to LDS topics. It is a work in progress (what website isn't?). Presently the membership is primarily from Colorado, but there are members from other parts of the US and one foreign member from Switzerland.

I do not have any advertising on the website and my intention is to never have any. (so I hope this isn't a shameful plug, just a plug :)

The site is http://www.ldshams.com/

Thanks!

Robert
WB7SGL

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:55 am

Thanks Robert. Looks quite interesting.

Mike - KD7MG
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

The_Earl
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503, This server is unavailable

Postby The_Earl » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:41 am

WB7SGL wrote:I
The site is http://ldshams.com

Thanks!

Robert
WB7SGL


Wow, apparently word has gotten out. I am getting a 503 error now.

I will keep trying back. Thanks for putting this up.

Barrie
AD7PE

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:36 pm

The Earl wrote:Wow, apparently word has gotten out. I am getting a 503 error now.

Yeah,, I got the same error when I first tried it, but it went away when I manually entered www.ldshams.com into my browser. Not sure why.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:43 pm

Mikerowaved wrote:Yeah,, I got the same error when I first tried it, but it went away when I manually entered www.ldshams.com into my browser. Not sure why.


Same here. But now that I'm on a different computer, I find the original link works on the second try. Strange.

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kfindlay
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ERC Nets

Postby kfindlay » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:26 pm

WE have been supporting emergency communications for the church locally for over 40 years.

Our stake has over 80 licensed operators. We have a weekly 'net" on 2M and have our own repeater. We have ERC training at stake leadership meeting for the unit ERC (Emergency Response Communicators). Anyone can join in our local net available through echolink look for the AB4KK link, Sunday evenings at 8:45 Central Time. We also participate in the Southeast ERC net Saturday mornings at 7:30 am Central Time with the store house in Atlanta.

We had tornadoes go through our area last Wednesday morning around 3am, our emergency training as ham radio operators really comes in handy in knowing what is going on.

KGBurton
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Postby KGBurton » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:48 am

In the Salt Lake Valley, there are three regional Emergency Communications groups, one for each of the three bishop's warehouses. I can't speak for the others, but there is a net for the Sandy Region every wednesday night except for the third wednesday of every month. The net starts at 7:30pm on 146.46 simplex. Every stake in the region has a communications specialist that is supposed to check in. The Stake ECS is supposed to help with drafting a stake communications plan and coordinate ward communications within the stake.

brad54-p40
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Our recent emergency communication experience

Postby brad54-p40 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:57 pm

A funny thing happened to our stake just recently while planning for our “emergency preparedness simulation test”. It was going to be held in September, but nature was impatient and we have been scorched by a series of wildfires here in northern California, and we are probably not done yet. My responsibility in the Stake Presidency has been emergency preparedness and I think my stewardship efforts were pretty well “torched” by these nationally reported events. For purposes of discussion may I share with you some unexpected failings relevant to communication?

The Sierra community most heavily hit has three LDS wards. When fires began to suddenly threaten the community, large scale evacuations were ordered by authorities. One of the first people evacuated was our ham radio coordinator. While we had other trained operators, the state of confusion etc. shut down any of the well rehearsed communications with the Stake Center. We might as well have tossed the radios back in a drawer and locked them up. Spotty cell phone and land line communications were all we had. Our lesson learned was to geographically diversify the radios and create redundancy systems.

Several key priesthood leaders worked outside of the community and when evacuations were announced they were trapped outside their ward with poor communication to know what was happening to their members etc. They were basically reduced to pacing the floor of the Stake Center. The chain of command to know the status of members was severely compromised.
While we focused on trying to determine the status of evacuated members, they didn’t feel the same need to communicate with us, instead finding their own way to other family and friends in the state and leaving their Bishops to continue to worry. I think the “take care of yourself” philosophy is great, but we will teach heartily the need to communicate both ways.

Our greatest need in this situation was INFORMATION. Even the official channels we monitored often gave contradictory news. It is hard to act and react with bad info.

Cell phone numbers for all family members (in the few cases that they were available) were so very useful. We have determined now to collect as many phone numbers for all family members as possible (respecting their wishes to provide them, of course). Because such info is ever-changing, the best place to store that data is in the MLS system. Currently, without creating cumbersome custom fields, the system allows only two phone numbers per family. Would someone light a fire under the “powers that be” to expand those fields?

The positives that we have noted were no loss of life for stake members; however three homes were completely lost. There is nothing like being in the line of fire to provide teaching opportunities and we received plenty of those. And I’m sure I can find that emergency prep handbook here somewhere. The bad news is that the official fire season has not even started yet.

The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:01 am

brad54 wrote:... One of the first people evacuated was our ham radio coordinator. While we had other trained operators, the state of confusion etc. shut down any of the well rehearsed communications with the Stake Center. We might as well have tossed the radios back in a drawer and locked them up. Spotty cell phone and land line communications were all we had. Our lesson learned was to geographically diversify the radios and create redundancy systems.

Several key priesthood leaders worked outside of the community and when evacuations were announced they were trapped outside their ward with poor communication to know what was happening to their members etc. They were basically reduced to pacing the floor of the Stake Center. The chain of command to know the status of members was severely compromised. ...



You may want to work with local civil emergency planners to help get your radio operators and priesthood leadership into a disaster area. Setting up an ICS system, and having your people trained in ICS-100/200 (from the FEMA web site) will help you integrate with civil leaders. You may look into ARES or CERT to help you better work with civil leaders.

That said, I am a BIG fan of cell phones for emergency communication. Everyone has one, everyone knows how to use one, and they are portable. You do have to do some planning. You need a directory of numbers, a way to charge them, and signal.


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