Thursday, September 19, 2013

Communicating when the Worst Happens

I've been told the two key things to manage in the event of a disaster are communications and logistics. Ham Radio Operators are very well practiced in the Communications site, and in fact, often run the communications systems for public events, as a practice for when it is required for a real emergency. Thus, with your Amateur Radio License, you can help out with such events in a very real way, assisting to save lives!

The main reason I became involved with Ham Radio recently is the desire to assist with emergency communications. In fact, within the first week of owning a radio, I had checked in to an Emergency Resources Council (ERC) net for my local area. As time has continued, I have continued to look for opportunities to practice emergency communications. I even own a set of solar panels, in theory allowing me infinite ability to communicate in the event of a communications disaster.

In order to help facilitate emergency communications, a number of organizations have appeared over the years. The two biggest are RACES and ARES, which even have a few questions about them on the Technician level exam for Amateur Radio!. These groups provide organization, training, practice, and are a way to get to know your fellow hams in general. Participating with them is a good way to practice your skills, in particular with their nets.

I am planning on submitting my application formally to join either RACES or ARES soon. As Virginia has signed a moratorium that in this state, they are equivalent, I don't think it matters too much which one I join. I'm also hoping to take as much training as I can, so that if and when the worst happens, I will be able to assist. Furthermore, I plan on helping out facilitate communications with my Ham Club, LARG, which will help me to gain real world knowledge of how to communicate in a disaster. Furthermore, I have participated in Field Day, and I operate full time on Emergency power. In so doing, I'm hoping I can be prepared for the worst.

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