Amateur radio in the news: 11/18/12

This edition of “Amateur Radio in the News” features a story on how a young ham in Ireland helped prevent an airline disaster and how electrical engineering students in New Mexico are getting licenses and using amateur radio as a basis for their senior projects.

Ham radio fan saves U.S. bacon by spotting Sandy mayday call. Amateur radio fan Benny Young, from Tyrone, was tuning in on his hut-based hobby when he heard a ‘mayday’ call from a plane over the Atlantic. But the United Airlines captain, en route from Dublin to Boston, wasn’t able to reach flight controllers in the US. Benny, 29, picked up the pilot’s distress call and managed to get it passed on to emergency services. Here are a couple more reports:

Mentor guides NMSU engineering students as they construct amateur radios. Faculty adviser Robert Hull, Professor Vojin G. Oklobdzija and mentor David Hassall, WA5DJJ, mentor these senior engineering students as they complete their senior project – getting their amateur radio licenses and building QRP rigs.

EU standardizes “hamtagonistic” power line network tech. BPL just refuses to go away. I don’t know why Europe is so keen on this technology, which has failed to gain any traction at all here in the U.S.

ARRL Bulletin: FCC releases Congressionally-mandated study on amateur radio

[[ Basically, this is a pat on the back from the FCC. Nothing more, nothing less. It's better than a kick in the pants, though. My advice is that if you want to put up a tower, don't move into a housing development where you must sign an agreement that says you can't. D'oh!...Dan ]]

ZCZC AG23
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 22  ARLB022
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  August 23, 2012

To all radio amateurs

On August 20 — in response to a Spring 2012 Congressional directive– the Federal Communications Commission released its findings on the Uses and Capabilities of Amateur Radio Service Communications in Emergencies and Disaster Relief: Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 6414 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

This report contains the FCC’s “review of the importance of emergency Amateur Radio Service communications relating to disasters, severe weather and other threats to lives and property in the United States; and recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio operators in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and recommendations for improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in the planning and furtherance of initiatives of the federal government.” It also required “that the study identify impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications and provide recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.”

“There are many positive things included in the FCC report to Congress,” said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. “We are pleased that the Commission highlighted the existing Amateur Radio infrastructure to provide disaster and time-critical communications. They also recognized the flexibility of the Amateur Service in working with federal, state, local and tribal emergency service agencies to supplement existing communications. The affirmation of the value that Amateur Radio brings to the communities across the country is underscored by the suggestion that DHS work with state, local, and tribal authorities so they may develop disaster area access or credentialing policies for trained amateur operators, including a means for documenting their qualifications…”‘

While the FCC did hold Amateur Radio in a positive light in its discussion of emergency Amateur Radio Service communications, the FCC report was not as favorable in the portion of the study that addressed impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications. In the comments provided to the FCC as they prepared the study, the ARRL — as well as numerous individuals — cited the proliferation of specific land-use restrictions, such as deed restrictions and homeowners associations covenants, that prohibit the erection of even modest Amateur Radio antennas.

The ARRL cited that such restrictions now apply to tens of millions of homes and condominiums. In communities across every state, these restrictions make finding suitable living arrangements that would also allow amateurs to participate effectively in providing support communications nearly impossible to find. The FCC disagreed with that assessment stating “…our review of the record does not indicate that amateur operators are unable to find homes that are not subject to such restrictions. Therefore, at this time, we do not see a compelling reason for the Commission to revisit its previous determinations that preemption should not be expanded to CCRs.”

When considering any current rules that serve as impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, the report did agree with the ARRL’s position, stating that “Commission rules that may be an impediment to enhanced Amateur Service emergency communications can, as the ARRL notes, be considered through the Commission’s rulemaking process. Consequently, we do not believe that Congressional action is necessary to address any of these issues.”

In the report, the FCC recommended that “DHS consult with the public safety, emergency management and Amateur Radio emergency communications associations and groups to identify training opportunities that will support better utilization of Amateur Radio operators for emergency communications, and to solicit views on how Amateur Radio capabilities could be further incorporated into response plans or initiatives. We also recommend that OEC include these recommendations in the NECP.”

Henderson noted that it is significant “that the FCC recommends efforts be continued by DHS to facilitate the training and utilization of Amateur Radio across the emergency and disaster response spectrum — from the public sector through to the various groups and organizations which provide support communications via the Amateur Service, including ARES, RACES, MARS or locally organized support groups. When served agencies and amateur groups plan and train cooperatively, it only enhances our abilities to serve our communities and the public.”

With the delivery of the FCC’s report to Congress, the ARRL will determine its next step in its efforts to find relief for amateurs who live under unduly restrictive private land-use regulations. “Our review of the FCC report shows that there is a lot to be done if amateurs living in deed-restricted properties are to receive even the limited relief they enjoy under the Commission’s PRB-1 ruling or the limited relief given to deed-restricted properties given by the FCC’s OTARD ruling,” Henderson said. “This means continuing ARRL’s efforts on Capitol Hill and continuing to seek a Congressional directive to the Commission to extend those limited preemptions to include prohibition of effective Amateur Radio antennas and support structure that are imposed by private land use restrictions. The FCC report to Congress is not the final action in this fight. It merely lays the groundwork for the next steps to be taken by the ARRL,” he concluded.

Read the complete FCC report on the web.

Is amateur radio’s focus on emergency communications “over the top”?

On the HamRadioHelpGroup, one ham asked:

Over lunch today I read the September issue of QST, which is heavily EmComm oriented.  Articles were interesting, but the Opinion piece on page 98 seemed a little over the top to me.

Has this focus of this intensity always been a part of ham radio and I just wasn’t expecting it?  How has it evolved over the years?

Another replied:

From Part 97 of the Code of Federal Regulations…

Sec. 97.1  Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

  1. 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.
  2. Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
  3. Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
  4. Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
  5. Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

I think that 97.1(a) addresses your question.

To that, I replied:

Providing emergency and public-service communications has been a part of amateur radio since its beginnings. Some hams are extremely focused on this, and I applaud them. In my opinion, the piece referred to in the latest QST was not over the top.

Hams do sometimes go overboard on this emcomm thing, though, acting as if it’s the only reason that ham radio exists. It’s not. That’s why I’m glad that Tim posted Section 97.1 here. As you can see, the rules describe five different “purposes” for amateur radio. Emcomm might be the first, but it’s only one of five. We need to keep in mind the other four as well.

What do you think?

 

From the trade magazines – 7/25/12

Here are a couple of items from the electronics engineering trad magazines that hams might find interesting:

Digital and analog PC TV dongles—the basics. Some amateur radio operators are using these dongles as a software-defined radio (SDR).

Can public-safety radio’s P25 survive LTE? P25 has been with us since 1988, but its capacity and bandwidth are being obsoleted by the latest and anticipated next generations of cellular technology.

Material effectively replaces gold. Impact Coatings claims that its Silver MaxPhase performs like gold while carrying a much lower price tag.

Field Day in the news for 2012

Newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations all over the country covered Field Day last weekend. Many wrote stories before the event, many after. Below, are only some of the stories that appeared after the event.

Amateur radio operators practice communications as hobby and …
KY3 – SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — When disaster strikes, communication often breaks down. Without cell phones and the internet, most of us would be lost. But a fraction of …

Amateur radio operators provide lifesaving communication and …
KSPR – Local operators assist in disaster situations and help to spot storms.

‘When all else fails,’ there’s amateur radio
Helena Independent Record – Amateur radio remains part of the emergency communications system, but another appeal for the users is being able to do a lot of things with different gadgets.

Amateur Radio Operators Prep for Disaster
WAAY – The technology was invented nearly a century ago, but today, these radios can be the most effective form of communication when disaster strikes.

‘Hopping and popping’ on radio in Live Oak
Appeal-Democrat – Microphones in hand, fingers at the radio dial, the amateur radio operators … About a dozen members of the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Club joined radio hams …

Amateur radio operators connect Anderson to the world at training
Anderson Independent Mail – Ham radio operators from Anderson County spent Saturday telling the world about the 90-degree weather in Anderson.

Amateur radio operators have a busy weekend at SCCC
New Jersey Herald – NEWTON — When Kelly Leavitt wanted to send his stepdaughter in Florida a message Saturday afternoon, he didn’t reach for his cell phone to instantly text her …

Amateur radio operators prepare for disasters at the 5th annual Field ...
Billings Gazette – When disasters strike, ham radio and amateur radio operators are sometimes a … The club, a group of about 60 amateur radio operators, have helped out local …

Radio club practices craft for Field Day
Lawrence Journal World – The Douglas County Amateur Radio Club on Saturday had its annual Field Day, when amateur radio members practice their skills by making contacts all over …

Ham radio preps for disaster
Times Record News – Members of the Wichita Amateur Radio Society operate radios to contact other sites across the United States …

Amateur radio operators participate in field day
Janesville Gazette – Carl Cramer and about 15 members of his ham radio club, the Greater Beloit Amateur Radio Club, have been camped out this weekend at Thresherman’s Park …

Ham radio operators stay in practice
BlueRidgeNow.com – A handful of ham radio operators, with the Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club, tapped on keyboards or messaged Morse code across the wires during Field Day, …

Amateur Radio Field Day Held in Bend
KTVZ – BEND, Ore. — Amateur radio is a hobby for most people interested in communication, and this weekend, several people in Bend participated in a national …

Amateur radio operators demonstrate hobby
Marshfield News-Herald – Members of the Marshfield Area Amateur Radio Society gathered at the Miller Recreation Area shelter Saturday and Sunday to hone their skills and show off …

Amateur radio still proving useful in an emergency
YNN – It can’t exactly be described as a lost medium, but as new communication technologies have evolved, amateur radio has been pushed to the back burner. But as …

Amateur Radio Operators Often Help In A Crisis
WDEF News 12 – It may seem just like another hobby to most, but Amateur Radio operators, known as Hams are often called upon in a crisis. And the Bradley County club has …

Huntsville area ham radio operators have a ‘fun’ time during a mock …
al.com (blog) – Enlarge Dave Dieter Field Day is the climax of the week-long “Amateur Radio Week for the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power …

Amateur radio enthusiasts ready for emergencies
Dothan Eagle – To the average person, ham radios may seem like relics – ties to the first half of the 20th century useful only for nostalgic reasons.

Debby heightens significance of amateur radio
WJTV – GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) A weekend of “field day” activities for the Mississippi Coast Amateur Radio Association and the Jackson County Amateur Radio …

Local amateur radio enthusiasts practice their emergency response
Norman Transcript – Throughout the U.S. and Canada, ham radio enthusiasts spent 24 hours over the weekend practicing for emergency situations like Norman’s April 13 torna.

Amateur Radio Operators Participate in Nationwide ‘Field Day’
Patch.com – Saturday event at Horton’s Point Lighthouse was a blend of ham radio fun and emergency preparedness.

Small Town Amateur Radio Society participates in Vilonia field day
Log Cabin Democrat – A mobile weather spotter, James Cope of Vilonia, was in his vehicle seven miles south of the city on April 25, 2011, when he “had eyes on the tornado” that …

Debby Heightens Significance of Amateur Radio
ClaimsJournal.com – A weekend of “field day” activities for the Mississippi Coast Amateur Radio Association and the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association gained significan.

Hams succeed during national field day
Jackson Progress-Argus – The Butts County Emergency Communications Auxiliary participated in the national Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day event during a 24-hour …

Field Day offers radio club a chance to shine
Weatherford Democrat – Members of the Amateur Radio Club of Parker County took part in a worldwide Field Day Saturday to raise awareness for what the club does. Will Teague, left …

Field Day shows off ham skills
Ramona Sentinel – Amateur radio operators—usually referred to as “hams”—have long communicated with each other without the benefit of the Internet, cellphone towers or other …

Amateur radio operators prepare for ‘worst’
Sand Springs Leader – Tulsa area amateur radio operators gathered Saturday at Chandler Park to practice for a “worst case scenario.”

Yuma’s Amateur Radio Ops Demonstrate Emergency Capabilities
KSWT-TV – Yuma’s Amateur Radio Operators joined thousands across the country in demonstrating their emergency capabilities Saturday.

Lake of the Woods Amateur Radio Society makes connections …
Daily Miner and News – Members of the Lake of the Woods Amateur Radio Society were among thousands of ham radio operators across North America reaching into the airwaves…

Police Explorers Begin Amateur Radio Classes
The Missourian – When four young members of the Pacific Police Explorers Club signed up to take classes for the amateur radio federal license exam, Keith Wilson, Franklin …

Amateur radio operators prepare in case of an emergency
Kalispell Montana News – GREAT FALLS- When disaster strikes and all communication lines are down, its licensed amateur radio operators that step in to help, and many of them …

Amateur Radio Event Showcases Emergency Preparedness Skills
Emergency Management – More than 35000 amateur radio operators participated in Field Day and demonstrated the practical uses of ham radio during an emergency.

Local club practices emergency readiness
Jacksonville Daily Progress – Amateur radio enthusiasts gathered together on Saturday to test their emergency readiness. The Cherokee County Amateur Radio Club participated in the.

Emergency radio operators hone skills
Navarre Press – The Navarre Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Amateur Radio Club held a field day from 1 p.m. on June 23 until 1 p.m. on June 24 to test …

Is this thing on?
Maple Ridge News – The Mission Amateur Radio Emergency Services group braved the inclement … This year they joined in with the Maple Ridge Amateur Radio club station who …

Amateur radio connects Coweta County, world
Newnan Times-Herald – Online edition of The Times-Herald, Newnan and Coweta County’s Online Source. Find the latest local, state, national and international news. View and place classified ads online.

Amateur radio club tests emergency communication
Star Community Newspapers – A friend in radio broadcasting attracted Hansen to amateur radio frequencies while he was living in southern California. Just a few months after obtaining his amateur radio license and his own call sign, Hansen’s house was a victim of the Northridge …

When all else fails…Local Ham Radio operators give demonstration for Gordon …
Calhountimes – The Cherokee Capital Amateur Radio Society held its annual field day event in Gordon County on Saturday, June 23, 2012, where the club set up a three alpha station, using no commercial power, to demonstrate how communication could be established, via …

Hamming it up
Coeur d’Alene Press – This past weekend the world got a little smaller. Every fourth weekend in June since 1933 Amateur Radio operators (Hams) have participated in Field Day.

Hams’ Offer Information Lifeline When All Else Fails
The Epoch Times – Hams are the operators of amateur radio, the old-time tech that once connect people across oceans. Nowadays, hams are practically a stereotype—laid back, white-haired retirees who fiddle with dials and antennas, talking to fellow operators across the …

Ham Radio
Santa Ynez Valley News – Field Day is the annual test of radio operators’ ability to set up emergency communications under field conditions and operate solely on emergency power systems for 24 hours, said Ray Lischka, the emergency coordinator for Lompoc Valley Amateur Radio …

Ham radio operators hold annual Field Day exercise
Clay Today Online – But amateur radio operators in the area were on the air within hours after the hurricane hit.” As emergency coordinator for Clay County, Gray said, “We work through the Clay County Emergency Operations Center in Green Cove Springs as an alternative in …

Having a field day: Amateur radio operators contact Croatia
The Union of Grass Valley – The Nevada County Amateur Radio Club held a field-day event on June 23 and 24 at Empire Mine. More than 375 contacts with amateur radio stations all (read more)

Ham radio demo held
Shore News Today – The Shore Points Amateur Radio Club hosted Amateur Radio Field Day last weekend at the North End Observation Deck Ham radio operators from Atlantic County participated in the emergency preparedness.

Local radio operators gather
The Hillsdale Daily News – The Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club Field Day was held recently. Here, Club member, Milt Bowers, communicated with various parts of the country and said between 600 and 700 contacts would be made by the end of the 24-hour period depending on …

21 Things to Do: Join SkyWarn, ARES, or RACES

21 Things to Do After Getting Your Amateur Radio LicenseOne of the principles upon which the amateur radio service is founded is that, when needed, amateur radio operators will provide public service and emergency communications. Part 97.1 (a) reads:

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.

Think of it as part of the price you pay for the privilege of being granted an amateur radio license.

One way to get involved with public service and emergency communications is to join SkyWarn (http://www.skywarn.org). SkyWarn is a volunteer program run by the National Weather Service with more than 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Not all of these weather spotters are amateur radio operators, but a good many are, and using amateur radio is a great way to report severe weather. When severe weather is imminent, SkyWarn spotters are deployed in the areas where the severe weather is expected. A “net” is established on one of the local repeaters, and all of the SkyWarn spotters who have amateur radio licenses check into that net. The net control advises the spotters when they might expect to see severe weather, and the spotters, in turn, report conditions such as horizontal winds, large hail, rotating clouds, and even tornadoes.

To become a SkyWarn spotter, you must take a class that teaches you the basics of severe weather, how to identify potential severe weather features, and how to report it. The classes are free and typically last about two hours.

ARES/RACES
Another way to become involved in public service and emergency communications is to join an ARES/RACES group. Although technically these are two separate services—the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is run by the ARRL, while Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (http://www.usraces.org/) is a function of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) —the amateur radio operators who typically take part in one also take part in the other.

To participate in RACES, you’ll need to to take some self-study FEMA course in emergency preparedness and emergency-response protocols. Classes may or may not be required to participate in ARES. These requirements are set by each individual ARES group. To get involved with either ARES or RACES, ask your local club members when they meet. You can also contact the Section Manager or Emergency Coordinator for your ARRL section. To get in touch with those people, go to http://www.arrl.org/sections and find the section that you live in.

If these formal organizations aren’t for you, you can still participate in public service activities  through your club. Our club, for example, provides communications for a bike tour with more than 1,000 riders and covering dozens of square miles. Our organization is a lot less formal than SkyWarn, ARES, or RACES, but the public service that we provide is just as valuable.

FCC collecting data on how antenna restrictions affect emergency communications

FCC LogoFrom ARRL HQ:

Do you live in a CC&R-restricted community or participate in EmComm activities? Have deed restrictions / HOA covenants prevented you from erecting amateur radio antennas? Have these restrictions prevented you from full participation in emergency communications activities during disasters?

If your answer is “Yes”, ARRL needs to hear about your experience.

As you are probably aware, Congress has directed the FCC to conduct a study of the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief. The FCC was directed to identify ” impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations”. Finally, the study is to make “recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.”

The FCC has issued a Public Notice – DA 12-523- soliciting input from the public as part of their study. The ARRL is gathering comments from the Amateur Radio community to present as part of its comments on the public notice.

The ARRL is looking specifically for input in two specific areas:

  • Recent Amateur Radio involvement in actual emergency communications and disaster relief;
  • Specific details about how CC&Rs and other private land use restrictions have impaired licensed Amateurs to participate fully in these disaster relief communications.

If your ability to participate in ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, CERT, or other emergency and disaster relief communications has been limited because the inability to have adequate antennas due to CC&Rs, you are asked to provide that information to the ARRL.

First, we recommend that you prepare a narrative of your exact situation, in as much detail as practical. Some areas for you to consider in writing your story might be:

  • Were there alternative properties without CC&Rs in the area you wished to reside?
  • What exactly does your CC&R allow / prohibit (please include a copy of the specific wording)
  • Have you applied for a waiver of the CC&R with the Home Owner’s Association / Architectural Review Committee but were denied? If so, what was the reason?

To assist you in sharing your information with the ARRL, please visit the special ARRL website built to allow you to readily provide the pertinent information at www.arrl.org/ccr-study-information

This page will present you with an overview of what we are asking and have links to the two forms for you to complete. Please be as factual as you can with the information you provide and please provide only information about events and activities in which you were directly involved.

If you wish to write out the details of your situation in advance, please do so. Then, they can be either uploaded to the website or they can be sent as an email attachment to an email sent to CCRinfo@arrl.org

Keep in mind that the FCC study does not apply to ordinances and zoning laws implemented by the government – such as towns, cities or counties. PRB-1 covers those situations.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Congress directed that the FCC provide the report back within 180-days and that clock is already counting. The FCC is only accepting comments for a 45-day period, which will end May 17,2012. In order for the ARRL to collate your information in a common report, we ask that you send in your information no later than WEDNESDAY APRIL 25. If you need more information, please contact reginfo@arrl.org The time to act is NOW!

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Regulatory Specialist

Paper calls for emcomm digital networks

Fierce Homeland Security, a website for domestic security leaders, reports:

In a paper (.pdf) dated Jan. 24, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology says unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 gigahertz to 5 GHz spectrum, television white space and possibly even 60-100 GHz spectrum could augment the planned national broadband network….In addition, the network should incorporate Internet protocol packet switching technology to permit ad hoc network formation, the paper says. “Use of the Internet Protocols does NOT necessarily imply use of the public Internet,” it emphasizes.

This is just what amateur radio operators do when we set up nets in response to an emergency, although are networks are usually voice-only.  Why aren’t we doing any digital networking? Well, for one thing, there’s currently no commercial equipment available for purchase, and many of those involved in ham radio emergency communications are just not interested in investing the time and money required to get a digital network like this up and running.

I’ll say again what I’ve said before. We need a group like AMSAT that’s devoted to advancing the state-of-the-art in emergency communications. Unless someone really takes the bull by the horns, amateur radio is going to fall farther and farther behind in this area.

A wake-up call for amateur radio?

Yesterday, this letter to the editor was published on the website of The Review of East Liverpool, OH:

Ham radio usage needs fixed

Dear Editor:

Attention amateur radio operators, it is easy to forget where amateur radio is and what we are here for.

First let me give you a story. A man sat in his car out of gas during freezing weather, on January the 29th of this year. He was a Ham operator and he had called several times for assistance. No answer came.

For those of you who know a little about sub-freezing weather, you can go into hypothermia in less than an hour inside a car and it takes 20 minutes outside.

This man never got any help from the radio but his son, knowing he was stranded, walked 5 miles to where he was with a small can of gas that held about a gallon-and- a-half. They made it home safely, no thanks to Amateur radio assistance.

You wonder why I didn’t help that man inside that car … well that man was me. You see, at home I monitor the local repeater, but now I have lost my faith in Ham radio.

People you need to listen up, if were not going to monitor local repeaters of call channels on a 24-hour basis, than Ham radio is not worth saving. Is this the message you want to send to those who are after our frequency?

Amateur radio is for the recognition of emergency communication first, and a privilege to use it as a hobby second -not anything other than that.

Start monitoring those frequencies, and set up a schedule for volunteers on a 24-hour basis. If we are to live up to our name, then we need to listen to those calls of emergency, with your local clubs.

This could have been a bad car accident happening in the early-morning night, with severe bleeding, or worse.

We must not fail those who need us in these times.

I do want to thank the officer who gave my son a ride back with gas, and we did get home safely.

Walter Kernaich
East Liverpool

So, is someone monitoring your repeater?

 

Preppers getting into ham radio

People get involved in amateur radio for many different reasons. Some of us enjoy experimenting with radio, others are interested in public service. Still others see amateur radio as part of their preparation for a catastrophic event. These latter folks are sometimes know as “preppers.”

I became aware of them several years ago, when one of the students in my Tech class told me that he was a Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraging many of their members to get amateur radio licenses.

I recently decided to do a little more digging when an “amateur radio” Google Alert that I get contained a link to the article, “The Skinny on Ham Radio” on the blog The Survival Mom. This is a very good introduction to our hobby.

Here are some more links:

  • Radio Survivalist. This site contains links to many different online amateur radio resources for preppers, including information about rigs and antennas.
  • Catastrophe Network. This site claims to be the creator of the Standardized Amateur Radio Communication Plan. This plan is downloadable from this site.
  • The American Radio Preparedness Net (TAPRN). These folks are the co-creators of the Standardized Amateur Radio Communication Plan. In addition to a number of pages to help preppers set up and operate amateur radio stations, TAPRN conducts several regularly-scheduled on-air nets.

According to the Catastrophe Network website, the plan “outlines a standard set of frequencies that should be used by all preppers following a catastrophic disaster. These frequencies will serve as a meeting point where information about the event can be shared and actions between like minded preppers can be communicated.”

Googling will undoubtedly point you towards more websites, but this should get you started if you’re interested in this aspect of ham radio.