northernscout wrote:Hi Ben and everyone
I am just trying to decide on what is best for amateur radio (HAM) communications from ward to Stake and Stake to Bishop's Storehouses, that sort of thing. Has anyone experience with this?
In the Salt Lake and Davis Counties here in Utah there is a strong Amateur Radio presence in the Church's emergency communication plan. Every week they have various Ward and Stake ERC nets, including large Bishop Storehouse nets (many Stakes) every Sunday evening. Not all Wards and/or Stakes participate. Each Unit must make their own plan and decide if Amateur Radio will play a part in it.
We also have the Utah-Beehive NET every day at 12:30pm (Mountain Time) on 7272 KHz (LSB) to pass formal and informal traffic in the greater Utah area.
I'm currently only somewhat involved with the Church's ERC network. I don't have a direct Church calling, but for ARES I'm one of the Assistant Emergency Coordinators with responsibility for my home city of Layton. Our emergency Districts "happen" to fall along the boundaries of the 11 Stakes here, so I work pretty close with the District Coordinators, which also "happen" to be the Stake High Councilmen over Emergency Prep. As you can see, our situation is quite unique as our civic and ecclesiastical lines of responsibility get intertwined somewhat. If you're interested, I could go into more detail of how we all work together, but it probably wont be of much help in your situation.
One thing I did this year was used QRZ to identify all the ham operators that had Layton city zip codes in their addresses. (The database gave us 270 names!) Working with the city, we drafted a one-page survey, essentially asking if these operators would be willing to be trained (if needed) to assist with communications during a disaster, and mailed it out. Of those that responded, the overwhelming majority said they would very much like to learn how they could help. We are now setting up training and other exercises to get this group up and ready. Just to be clear, these respondants were both members and non-members alike. The training will mostly focus on the ARES aspect and not on the Church's ERC system, although as far as training and readiness go, they are very similar.
My suggestion to you is, if you decide to use ham radio in your plan, it would be wise to first know who in your area is licensed. Enlisting the help of non-members in a Church emergency response program could not only strengthen your communication abilities, but be a great missionary tool as well.
Mike - KD7MG