Amateur Radio:
Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
At any
y ggiven moment, millions off radio waves travel around, through,
g and out off Earth’s atmosphere.
In the age of instant communication, our society
y relies on the radio wave ffor maintaining
government, commerce, and contact with our loved ones.
Wireless communication and infrastructure
are so commonplace, we don’t even give
it a second thought — until we no longer
have access to it. At those times, we realize
how dependent we are on the radio wave to
maintain our existence.
Since the implementation of wireless
communications in the early 20th century,
Amateur Radio operators have consistently
provided a robust, reliable network that
enables messages to get through under
the most extreme circumstances. Amateur
Radio functions completely independent
of the Internet and telecommunications
infrastructure, does not have to rely on the
electrical grid for power, and can be set
up in a matter of minutes at almost any
location.
Your National Resource,
Available In Your Area
Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations
defines
fi
the basis and purpose of the
Amateur Radio Service, in part, as
“Recognition and enhancement of
the value of the amateur service to the
public as a voluntary noncommercial
communication service, particularly
with respect to providing emergency
communications.”
As of December 2014, there are over
725,000 Amateur Radio operators in the
United States — an all-time high. They are
licensed by the Federal Communications
Commission and are trained in the art
and science of communication and
basic electronics theory. With very few
exceptions, radio amateurs live in every
Amateur Radio
can be deployed
almost anywhere
within minutes.
The use of solar
power and no
dependence on
existing
telecommunications networks
makes it
exceptionally
valuable during
emergencies.
[Max McCoy,
photo]
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate signs a renewed Memorandum of Agreement with ARRL President
Kay Craigie in July 2014. Fugate has long recognized the value of Amateur Radio’s role in public service:
“When the power is out and telecommunications are down, the Amateur Radio community can serve
as a vital resource in support of emergency responders and survivors during a disaster.”
[Rick Lindquist, photo]
county in the country; few other radio
services can claim such widespread
coverage. They are prohibited by law
from receiving payment for their services;
Amateur Radio operators own and maintain
their own equipment and regularly give
back to their communities and their country
out of a sense of service and duty, at no cost
to the communities they serve.
This level of organized communications,
especially during a disaster, usually comes
with significant
fi
financial liability to a
community at a time when resources are
critical. In times of need, Amateur Radio
already provides this level of infrastructure,
free for the asking.
ARRL, the national association for
Amateur Radio, has built relationships
with other national served agencies such
as FEMA, the American Red Cross, the
Salvation Army, the National Weather
Service, Department of Defense, Boy
Scouts of America, and several others.
In all areas of the country, Amateur Radio
operators serve their communities through
disaster communications, public service,
and facilitating the instruction of STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Math) topics at all educational levels.
For the past century, through FCC
encouragement, Amateur Radio has
been a valuable laboratory for wireless
communications technology development,
which ultimately fl
flows to the benefi
fit of
consumers and business.
The Value of Amateur Radio
What value would you place on a group of
people who:
■ Can provide instant wireless
communication during a disaster or
community event with little advance notice;
■ Have established relationships with local
served agencies and law enforcement;
Communicate Globally,
Volunteer Locally
The following map highlights some
examples of how Amateur Radio has
benefi
fitted communities across the country
within the last two years.
■ Take enormous pride in being able to
give their technical expertise back to their
communities when asked?
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 1
At Your Service: Amateur Radio in the U.S. 2013-2014
WA
Mi
Washington: 2014 Oso
Landslide
ND
MT
OR
Oregon: OEM Wants
More Hams
M
SD
ID
WY
Wess
West
NE
Colorado:
2013 Flooding
NV
Nevada:
2014 Flooding
UT
CO
CA
KS
M
Colorado: 2014 Student
Balloon Launch
California:
2013 Rim Fire
New Mexico:
2013 Wild¿res
AZ
Oklahoma: 2014
Moore Tornado
OK
NM
Southwest
tthwest
st
Arizona: Off-road
Race Emergency
Texas: HHH
Bike Ride
TX
AK
HI
Page 2 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
ea
east
ea
nnesota: Students Talk
to ISS Crew
ME
MN
V
VT
New York: Operation
Santa Claus
WI
MI
Midwest
est
NH
N
Y
NY
MA
Massachusetts: 2013
Boston Marathon Bombing
Chicago
IAIllinois:
Marathon
IL
RI
Ohio: St. Patrick’s Day
Fun Run
NJ
DE
OH
IN
CT
PA
MD
MO
Missouri: CAPSTONE-14
Earthquake Exercise
WV
VA
KY
Arkansas:
2014 Tornadoes
NC
TN
AR
Southeast
Southeas
Southe
outhe
heast
st
AL
MS
S Alabama: Hams Train
LA
National Guard
SC
Disaster Response
Cooperation with other Agencies
Public/Community Service
GA
Education Outreach
Florida: Cooperation
with FDOT
FL
Florida: National Hurricane
Center HQ
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 3
Northeast
Massachusetts
Massachusetts:
2013 Boston Marathon
Radio amateurs have been providing
communications at the Boston Marathon for
VT
years, and in 2013, over 200 Amateur Radio
NH
operators provided public service
NY
communications during the Boston
MA
Marathon
M
on Monday, April 15. In years past, communications
RI
would be relevant, but routine; a dehydrated runner needed water,
wo
CT
PA
ra personnel needed to be moved to a more desirable location.
or race
NJ
When tw
two bombs exploded near the fi
finish line in 2013, cell phone
DE systems b
became overloaded within minutes; making phone calls and
text messages was difficult.
fi
Amateurs sprang into action, working
MD sending te
seamlessly with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
(MEMA) and providing real-time status updates along the course, via
Amateur Radio, to the State Emergency Operations Center.
ME
Throughout the day, hams shadowed medical personnel stationed at triage centers, were deployed
to several makeshift shelters in churches and schools along the race route, and handled “health and
welfare” messages from their base at the Heartbreak Hill fi
first aid station. In addition, Amateur
Radio was instrumental in helping to communicate the sheltering plan and subsequent transport of
runners from shelter locations and give out information on Boston bus and train operations.
A few of the many volunteers at the
Amateur Radio Net Control station
during the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Bruce Tinker, photo]
New York: Operation Santa Claus
New York
Every holiday season at JFK Airport in New York, members of the New York District Amateur Radio Emergency
Service® (ARES) provide communication support for Operation Santa Claus, sponsored by Community Mayors Inc.
The event takes place each holiday season at Port Authority Hanger #19, which is transformed into an improvised
North Pole. During the invitation-only event, more than 5000 special youngsters and caregivers from the Greater
New York City area meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy snacks, and receive toys.
“Op Santa” attracts one of the largest turnouts of Amateur Radio operators at a public service event. For ARES
members, the annual celebration is a true test of operator skill. Many volunteers at Operation Santa Claus are from uniformed services,
such as the New York City Fire Department, the Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey, the NYPD, the Secret Service, FBI,
TSA, and branches of Homeland Security. Because each service has its own radio frequencies and modes, ARES acts as the
communication “glue” between volunteers and members of the uniformed services. Before guests arrive, ARES operators are assigned to
shadow a uniformed service member throughout the event as they go about their duties. Net control operators coordinate ARES
members’ locations and traffic.
fi For the ARES members, it’s an exciting operational challenge, and the gratifi
fication of volunteer work is
immediate.
Southeast
Arkansas
WV
VA
KY
NC
TN
AR
SC
MS
AL
GA
LA
FL
Arkansas: April 2014 Tornadoes
On April 27 and 28, 2014, a line of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes
rolled through northern Arkansas and several other states in the
Southeast. All along the front, amateurs — who were also storm
spotters with training from a National Weather Service (NWS) program
called SKYWARN — took to their vehicles and set up along the
advancing storm front, reporting their observations via Amateur Radio.
In Ark
kansas, this information was relayed to the NWS office
fi in Little Rock, who used that realtime spootting information coupled with data from Doppler radar as the basis for issuing Tornado and
Severe Thunderstorm
T
Warnings. This scenario was repeated throughout the states affected by this
storm, including Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and several others. Sixteen people died in
Arkannsas alone as a result of these storms, and property damage totaled in the millions of dollars.
The community of Vilonia, Arkansas was especially hard hit.
Page 4 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill
Sk in Service to Your Community
“Arkansas SKYWARN [has their headquarters] in the operations center at the NWS Little Rock Forecast Office,”
fi
explained Arkansas SKYWARN Program Coordinator Danny Straessle of Little Rock. “This provides a direct
benefi
fit to the forecasters to have a direct ear-to-the-ground truth our operators provide.” While local and national
TV stations could only show images of radar signatures and debris balls, Arkansas SKYWARN Amateur Radio
storm spotters provided a virtual play-by-play, as the storm made its way through this part of central Arkansas.
While the forecasters had their eyes glued to the radar, their ears were glued to reports coming in from Arkansas
SKYWARN.
Florida
Florida: Cooperation with FDOT
Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) had a problem: how to keep a statewide network of DOT
workers, tasked with keeping the roadways safe, in touch with each other. With thousands of hand-held radios and
several dozen hubs, reliable, statewide communications was a serious issue. A new Voice Over Internet Protocol
(VOIP) network that functions independent of the Internet showed great promise, but needed signifi
ficant testing
before it could “go live.” This was deemed a potential safety risk to the DOT workers, due to the likely outages of
the new communications system while it was being established.
FDOT recruited the Amateur Radio community and allowed them to link their own communications hubs over the new VOIP network
to test the new statewide system. During testing, amateurs were able to identify several problems during the implementation of the
FDOT network, which were quickly solved without endangering FDOT personnel. This collaboration has resulted in a “win-win” for
Florida: tech-savvy, volunteer communicators provided their expertise, resulting in significant
fi
financial savings while testing the new
VOIP system, and the state is allowing amateurs to use and test the system as part of their own emergency communications plan in the
event of disasters, such as hurricanes.
Florida: National Hurricane Center HQ
The National Hurricane Center (NHC), on the campus of Florida International University in Miami, Florida, uses Amateur Radio as
part of its data-gathering system. The station, which has the call sign WX4NHC, has been providing assistance during hurricanes since
1980 and has been established by a group of volunteers using donated equipment. The Amateur Radio station activates whenever a
hurricane is within 300 miles of landfall in the areas of the western Atlantic, the Caribbean, or the eastern Pacific.
fi They also provide
emergency backup communications from the NHC to National Weather Service offices
fi and other agencies in case a hurricane affects
Miami.
WX4NHC also participates in the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), a group of specially-trained volunteers throughout North America who
have been using Amateur Radio to report on and gather real-time information during hurricanes since 1965. By gathering surface
reports from other radio amateurs in an affected area of a storm, HWN provides the forecasters with supplemental weather and damage
data that are not normally available; this data is frequently incorporated into advisories as they provide a human perspective and
eyewitness accounts of what people are experiencing during a hurricane.
Both WX4NHC and the Hurricane Watch Net have been recognized by the National Hurricane Conference for their volunteer
humanitarian efforts over the years.
Dr. Richard Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, says, “When I was a hurricane specialist here at NHC, especially during
the extremely busy year of 2005, I frequently relied on information from dedicated ‘ham’ radio operators in the US and in many other
countries. They are key partners with us as we disseminate forecasts and warnings, and collect all available data both while ann active
tropical cyclone is out there, and after the event when the crucial task of documenting the impacts is conducted.”
Alabama
Alabama: National Guard Trained by Ham Operators
In 2014, eight Prattville, Alabama Army National Guard members from the 231st Military Police Battalion
armory traveled to Fort McClellan in Anniston, for specialized training in Amateur Radio communications
techniques.
Joel Black, a member of Army Military Auxiliary Radio Service, or Army MARS, said HF radio is much more
effi
ficient than satellite communications. “Today’s military has started to depend more on satellite communication.
However, HF communications is a more rapidly deployable communication system,” Black explained. “You can
set up an antenna, tune into the right frequency and start talking within minutes. It takes much longer to set up a satellite system.”
The licensed Army MARS trainers shared their expertise in proper use and selection of radio frequencies, how radio waves work,
communications technology, safety and techniques of antenna installation. Army MARS, which began in 1925, is a Defense
Department organization of Amateur Radio operators that train on a daily basis for providing incident communication for both military
and government agencies.
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 5
Midwest
Ohio
Ohio: St Patrick’s Day Fun Run
ND
MN
WI
SD
NE
IA
IL
KS
Toronto, Ohio, on March 15, 2014. These annual events include a
Fun Run, a 5K Bicycle Ride and a 5K Run. Operators from the
Jefferson County Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES)
group as well as radio amateurs from the surrounding area
worked together for the overall success of the operation.
MI
MO
IN
OH
Communications included service as the “eyes and ears” of the event, with operators
C
reeporting locations and numbers of the first male and female runners in each group. All
runnners were advised to locate a radio operator if there was a problem or injury.
Through an Am
mateur Radio protocol called the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), which
functions like a ra
radio beacon, locations of support vehicles along the route were available on a computer
monitor in the Command Center Room where race officials
fi
were stationed. The screen showing the APRS data quickly became a point
of interest for many involved in managing the race. APRS gave offi
ficials the ability to visualize the locations of the runners, making it
easier to monitor the progress of the race.
Community offi
ficials were so impressed with communications functions and the APRS tracking, they subsequently asked Jefferson
County ARES to provide communications support during the town’s 4th of July festivities.
Minnesota
Minnesota: Students Talk to Astronauts
Students at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake, Minnesota had the opportunity to speak directly to Astronaut
Koichi Wakata on May 1, 2014 while he was in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS) 250 miles
overhead, traveling 17,000 miles per hour. Members of the Polk County (Wisconsin) Amateur Radio Association
provided the equipment and technical expertise necessary to make the contact possible.
Hidden Oaks was selected to participate in a program known as ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station), which is co-administered by the ARRL, NASA, and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT).
Through the program, students use Amateur Radio to talk directly with astronauts on board the ISS. Students asked questions ranging
from inquiries about scientifi
fic research to what astronauts do aboard the ISS when they have free time.
ARISS is instrumental in bringing STEM topics into the
classroom at all levels of education. In addition to talking
with astronauts, students have the opportunity to learn
about space technologies and the technologies involved
with space communications through exploration of
Amateur Radio. Hundreds of Amateur Radio operators
around the world work behind the scenes to make these
educational experiences possible.
Several hundred students, teachers and administrators crowd the gymnasium at
Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake, MN. Through Amateur Radio, students
were able to speak directly with astronaut Koichi Wakata as he orbited overhead,
as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.
[Rick Radke, photo]
Several members of the Polk County
Amateur Radio Association volunteered
time, equipment and expertise to make the
ISS contact possible. [Rick Radke, photo]
Page 6 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
Missouri
Missouri (and others): CAPSTONE-14 Earthquake Exercise
The Midwest is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), which contains
the New Madrid Fault. The New Madrid Fault is a regional earthquake threat with
national implications. While the last earthquake to affect the area was more than
200 years ago, many seismologists agree the threat of another quake remains
undiminished. Increased population density, coupled with commercial and national
interests in the region, would make an earthquake in the NMSZ a grave incident.
The Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) was formed in 1983, and has received
funding support from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. Its CAPSTONE-14
initiative was a 3-year, multi-state scope of planning and preparedness activities culminating in a major,
multi-state earthquake exercise in June 2014.
In its after-action report,
in a section on
communications,
CUSEC recognized that
a major earthquake
situation could cut off
conventional means of
communication, and has
emphasized the need for
effective alternative
communication
technologies and
capabilities for use when
normal ones go down.
In its after-action report, in a section on communications, CUSEC recognized that a major earthquake
situation could cut off conventional means of communication, and has emphasized the need for effective
alternative communication technologies and capabilities for use when normal ones go down. The report
cited satellite communications as an alternate service, but noted they were costly to acquire and sometimes difficult
fi
and challenging to operate. “Other means of alternate communications include the
National Warning System (NAWAS), and Amateur Radio (ham radio) operations,” the report said, and
referred to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate’s July 2014 comments on the resiliency and value of Amateur Radio. A “critical task” of
the CAPSTONE-14 initiative was identified:
fi “Utilize Amateur Radio assets to establish communications with local, state, federal, and
private sector partners.” The report concluded that “Regularly scheduled training and functional exercises conducted by RACES and
MARS [Amateur Radio] operators will improve speed and understanding during real world emergency operations.”
Illinois
Illinois: 2014 Chicago Marathon
A huge turnout of Amateur Radio volunteers supported communications on October 12 for the 2014 Bank of
America Chicago Marathon and its 2000 volunteer medical teams. One hundred and twenty radio amateurs from six
states representing nine clubs participated. This marked the sixth year that the ham radio community has supported
this event. For the first
fi time this year, the Amateur Radio volunteers also shadowed the nine triage units that attended
to runners within Grant Park, the marathon’s fi
finish line. The hams communicated with the ambulance service if
further medical support was needed. Some 45,000 runners from every US state and more than 100 countries took
part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
The ham radio volunteers were on duty at 6:30 AM on race day, to let organizers know when the medical teams were on site and to assure
that medical services and supplies were in place and ready. Eight operators worked at the Forward Command tent with event officials,
fi
Chicago City Services, and other agencies, to provide health-and-welfare traffic
fi to the physician in charge as well as with the medical
logistics teams and the ambulance service.
Southwest
New Mexico
New Mexico: 2013 WildÀres
New Mexico Amateur Radio
operators assisted local
NM
government officials
fi
in the
wake of the 2013 Tres
Lagunas wildfire
fi in steep,
TX
rugged terrain 15 miles north
of Pecos. The San Miguel, New Mexico, Amateur
Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) team activated
Maay 31 in response to a request from the county’s
emergeency manager to support communication for the San
Miguel County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Pecos.
The blaze, caused by a downed power line, was aided by high
winds and dry conditions, and covered more than 10,200 acres.
AZ
OK
The San Miguel,
New Mexico, Amateur
Radio Emergency
Servicee® (ARES) team
activated May 31 in
response to a request from
the county’s emergency
manager to support
communication for the
San Miguel County
Emergency Operations
Center (EOC) in Pecos.
Ten San Miguel ARES volunteers provided communications support for 5 days at the county
communications trailer at Pecos High School. ARES team members operated radios in the
EOC, maintained a relay station in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and traveled with three volunteer fire
fi
departments in the county. In Santa Fe, their ARES group monitored the situation and was available to assist if requested.
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 7
ARES also provided communication support to the San Miguel County emergency operations in Pecos, the New
Mexico State EOC operations in Pecos, the county evacuation shelter at Pecos High School, and three volunteer
fire departments conducting patrols near the Tres Lagunas fire looking for spot fires and assisting
people with respiratory problems.
Oklahoma: 2013 Moore Tornado
Oklahoma
On May 20, 2013, at least 24 people, including nine children, were killed when a 1.3-mile
wide tornado moved through Moore, Oklahoma, the state’s seventh largest city. The
National Weather Service stated that the tornado traveled an estimated 17-mile path for 50 minutes, with estimated
peak winds ranging from 200 – 210 miles per hour, making it an EF5 storm, the most powerful category of tornado
possible. Telephone service was disrupted, so Amateur Radio operators were quickly activated to provide communications support between the Red Cross office
fi in Oklahoma City and their Incident Command Post in Moore.
In addition to the American Red Cross, members of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) were also sent to
Moore, to support and assist with the Amateur Radio response. Amateur Radio contributed to post-tornado damage assessment, healthand-welfare message distribution, and overall incident logistics.
Texas
Texas: Amateurs Support Hotter’N Hell Hundred Bike Ride
Every August, the Hotter’N Hell Hundred (HHH) bicycle ride/race takes place in Wichita and Clay Counties, Texas.
The HHH has ride routes of 10 kilometers, 25 miles, 50 miles, 100 kilometers, and 100 miles and is believed to be
the largest certified
fi Century Bike Ride in the United States. In 2013, 55 Amateur Radio operators contributed their
communications skills to support the event. It was the 32nd year Amateur Radio
has been used as communications support for the HHH.
For the 2014 event, hams provided communications at 18 rest stops, the main
medical tent, and the mobile command posts of the City of Wichita Falls and the Wichita County
Sheriff’s Department. Radio amateurs rode in fi
five rest stop resupply and control vehicles, provided a
station at the local ice plant, and operated three different channels of communication focused on different
aspects of the event. Many stations were operated with solar power.
Charles Byars, the ARES District Emergency Coordinator for District 1 of the ARRL North Texas
Section said, “This is a better test of our amateur communications skills and capability to work with the
community than any canned exercise could ever be. We interface with, and get to know, all segments of
the community that we would work with in the event of a local disaster, and they get to know us and see
how we operate.”
Arizona
“This race is a better test
of our amateur
communications
skills and capability
to work with the
community than
any canned exercise
could ever be.”
– Charles Byars,
ARES District
Emergency Coordinator
Arizona: Off Road Mountain Bike Event Turns to Emergency
The Yavapai Amateur Radio Club provided communications for the 2014 Whiskey Off-Road Mountain Bike Event
in late April, in Prescott, Arizona and the surrounding mountains. Two thousand amateur and professional mountain
bike riders participated in this 3-day event. Saturday’s 50-mile race quickly became an emergency about an hour
after it began, when temperatures dropped and riders were subjected to a mixture of rain, high wind, sleet, and
snow. A number of riders developed hypothermia.
Amateur Radio
communications
enabled a quick
response by race
officials,
fi
which kept
a bad situation from
getting worse.
Amateur Radio operators quickly facilitated the evacuation and safety of the riders, working with race,
search and rescue, and other emergency personnel to coordinate transportation and locate all riders. Once
the storm had passed, communications focused on providing race updates from the numerous checkpoints along the route, ensuring that all riders were accounted for, and retrieving any abandoned bikes.
Despite the difficult
fi
conditions, well over 300 riders completed the entire 50-mile race course. Amateur
Radio communications enabled a quick response by race officials,
fi
which kept a bad situation from
getting worse.
Page 8 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
West
Colorado: 2013 Flooding
Colorado
Record fl
flooding in northern Colorado in September 2013 affected 17
counties
and was featured prominently on national and international
MT
news outlets. The flooding decimated northern Colorado, killing at
OR
least 15, damaging over 11,000 homes and crippling power and
communications grids. Dozens of amateurs throughout the affected
ID
area
worked for weeks, providing communications links with state
WY
aand county Offi
fices of Emergency Management, evacuation centers, Red Cross shelters,
and local fire
fi and
NV
rescue, and assisting
UT
CO
with evacuation, search
CA
and rescue, and
damage assessment.
The efforts of Amateur
Radio operators througho
out the disaster are
directly associated with sa
saving at least two lives
and supporting dozens of evacuations, including
scores of schoolchildren.
WA
These volunteers received national- and state-level commendation
for their efforts, including recognition from FEMA. Colorado
Congressman Cory Gardner and the Boulder County Office
fi of
Emergency Management also recognized the group for their
tireless efforts during and after the fl
flooding. The Mountain
Emergency Radio Network (MERN) also received extensive news
coverage for their work facilitating the evacuation of students
trapped in Estes Park.
Washington
Dave O’Farrell (L) and Doug Tabor (R) spent the ¿
¿rst four days of the 2013
Colorado Àooding in the parking lot of the Estes Park (CO) ¿re department,
maintaining communications links between Emergency Management
of¿
f¿cials, shelters and other Amateurs. Dozens of hams across northern
Colorado served similar roles. [Dave O’Farrell, photo]
Washington: 2014 Oso Landslide
On March 22, 2014, a landslide swept an avalanche of trees, wet soil, rocks, and debris across the rural Northwest
Washington communities of Oso and Darrington. The slide leveled about two dozen houses and blocked a milewide stretch of State Route 530. The governor’s office
fi declared a state of emergency in Snohomish County. The
landslide also blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River near Oso, raising the threat of localized fl
flooding
and the potential for downstream flooding should the blockage let go. Forty-three people were killed and property
damage was extensive. Normal communications to Darrington were cut off.
While the affected area was deemed too hazardous for all but the most skilled search and rescue teams, amateurs in the Snohomish
County Auxiliary Communications Service (SACS) provided communications between Red Cross shelters, the Snohomish County
Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the county command vehicle in Darrington.
Colorado: 2014 Balloon Launch
In what has become a growing trend, Amateur Radio played a big role in
students’ exploration of near-space in Douglas County, Colorado in October
2014. Through a program called the Edge of Space Sciences, the Douglas
County, Colorado, STEM School and STEM Academy and Spartan Amateur
Radio Club sponsored and coordinated an Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS)
balloon flight.
fl
The mission — dubbed EOSS-202 — involved students from
several schools and school Amateur Radio clubs in Colorado and New Mexico.
It carried seven student-designed payloads to an altitude of over 104,000 feet. Amateur Radio was
used to relay the balloon’s position and altitude during the balloon’s voyage, along with a data stream
reporting live results on a number of the experiments during flight. The balloon landed in rural Cope,
Colorado, approximately 70 miles from the launch site. Parents, teachers, and other community
members used Amateur Radio to track and recover the balloon’s payload, which sustained no
signifi
ficant damage.
Colorado
Amateur Radio was
used to relay the balloon’s
position and altitude
during the balloon’s
voyage, along with a
data stream reporting
live results on a
number of the
experiments
during flight.
fl
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 9
“It was awesome,” said Paul Veal, ARRL Assistant
Director of STEM and Education for the Rocky
Mountain Division. “Data from the various
experiments, along with photos and videos from
EOSS and spectators, will be collected in the next few
weeks.” Veal expects the students’ conclusions will
result in more Amateur Radio applications in
Colorado and New Mexico classrooms.
Nevada
Nevada:
September 2014
Flooding
Amateur Radio Emergency
Service® (ARES) and Radio
Amateur Civil Emergency Service Students and faculty prepare the payload of a high-altitude balloon for launch in
Deer Trail, Colorado. The Edge Of Space Sciences balloon mission included
(RACES) members in Clark
Radio beacons to track the course of the balloon, and a data stream which
County, Nevada, activated Monday, September 8, 2014, Amateur
provided real-time status on several onboard experiments. These balloon launches
after heavy rains sparked fl
flash flooding. A slow-moving are but one way Amateur Radio is being used in classrooms nationwide to engage
students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. The
storm that spun off from Hurricane Norbert dumped
balloon climbed to over 104,000 feet and travelled over 70 miles. [Paul Veal, photo]
nearly 4 inches of rain within 90 minutes onto the town
of Moapa. Heavy flooding and mud closed nearly 50
miles of Interstate 15, stranding motorist and truckers, and buckling or washing away pavement in many areas. The fl
flooding was called
the worst in more than 30 years.
The Amateur Radio volunteers deployed after being called up by local emergency managers to support communication during recovery
r
efforts in the Moapa Valley northeast of Las Vegas. At least two people died as a result of the flooding.
fl
ARES personnel staffed the
Emergency Operations Center in Las Vegas, and the Clark County Mobile Communications Vehicle was on the scene. Emergency shelter
was needed for nearly 200 tribal members of the Moapa River Reservation, as well as nearly 90 elementary and high school students.
Oregon
Oregon OfÀce of Emergency Management
Asks for More Hams
Oregon’s Office
fi of Emergency Management already
recognizes the value of Amateur Radio as a needed
resource. When it coordinated the largest-ever test of the
state’s emergency communications network in 2013, it
found that some regions needed more communications
resources. In a news story by Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), reporter
David Nogueras said, “While the exercise was considered a success, it also
shed light on one of the system’s vulnerabilities — a lack of qualified
fi Amateur
Radio operators east of the Cascades.” The exercise scenario over the weekend
of November 2 – 3 simulated a crippling cyber-attack on the power grid that
took out telephone and Internet access. In such situations, emergency planners
“have identifi
fied Amateur Radio as the fallback method of communication,” the
OPB story said.
Oregon Of¿
f¿ce of Emergency Management Communication
Of¿
f¿cer Fred Molesworth (left), and Amateur Radio volunteer
Patrick Lewis do a demonstration at the Oregon State Fair in
August. [Cory E. Grogan, Oregon Of¿
f¿ce of Emergency
Management, photo]
The broadcast story pointed out that while Oregon has some 700 ARES
volunteers, most are in Western Oregon. Morrow, Grant, and Jefferson counties
have no volunteers, however, and other counties have just one. Much of southeastern Oregon has an average population density off fewer
than five
fi people per square mile, making backup communications to this isolated part of the country extremely important.
Page 10 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
California
California: 2013 Rim Fire
Amateur Radio volunteers supported the American Red Cross and local government for 16 days in the wake of the
gigantic Rim Fire, in and near California’s Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest in August
2013. 236,000 acres of forest were destroyed, along with over 100 structures. The cost of the effort to combat the
fire was estimated at $77 million. The initial callout on August 19 responded to a request to assist the Red Cross in
fi
setting up an evacuation center in Groveland, California. Shelter operations relocated the following day to the
Tuolumne County Fairgrounds in Sonora. On August 20, the Tuolumne County Office
fi of Emergency Services
requested Amateur Radio assistance to staff the Sonora Red Cross shelter and the community information telephone
system at the Tuolumne County Emergency Operations Center.
More than two dozen radio amateurs were involved in the Rim Fire callout. The US Forest Service Type One Team
stated that “The combined operation conducted by Tuolumne County Office
fi of Emergency Management, Amateur
Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) teams, the Tuolumne
chapter of the Red Cross, and the cooperation of the people of Tuolumne County will serve as an example for future operations.”
Volunteers from Calaveras County and Fresno County ARES also participated in the activation.
Your Wireless Good Samaritans
These examples of Amateur Radio being used to
support municipalities are only a small part of
the work Amateur Radio operators do each year,
throughout the country. It is easy to overlook
what a valuable part of the community network
Amateur Radio is, until it is needed. Our nation
learned this value under extremely dire
circumstances during the 9/11 attacks and
Hurricane Katrina; others have seen the benefits
fi
during ordinary civic events or educational
outreach in their schools.
Amateur Radio operators never want to be called
up for a disaster. However, they are prepared to
do so in a moment’s notice, for the good of their
community and fellow man, without hesitation
and without expectation of payment. They help
provide the most valuable of commodities to
emergency services and management teams
during a disaster: real-time information. But
their ability to serve goes far beyond disaster
scenarios. Reach out to your Amateur Radio
population through your state, county, or local
Office
fi of Emergency Management. You will find
an eager group of men and women who can help
bridge the gap in your community’s
communications plan.
Public Service Communications To Go – EMCOMM-1 is a privately owned and ¿nanced
¿
communications trailer designed to support public service events and disaster response
communications. The trailer, custom built by Dan and Marisa Sears of Chapel Hill, North
Carolina, is based on a Pace American 5 x 10 foot cargo trailer. The ceiling treatment,
overhead lighting, windows and receptacles were factory installed to their speci¿cations.
¿
EMCOMM-1’s local and national communications capability has been used extensively at
more than 40 events in the past three years. [Ed Hall, photo]
The national association for
ARRL AMATEUR RADIO
®
ARRL can help arrange a meeting with your local ham community.
Visit us online at www.arrl.org or call 860-594-0200 to learn more.
Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community Page 11
Notes
Page 12 Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to Your Community
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