Amateur Radio Emergency Communications


Welcome to the Big Island ARRL News update.

Today’s post comes from Leslie Hittner (K0BAD).  The document quoted here reaffirms the emergency communications role of radio amateurs–something many deed-restricted properties and local governments tend to forget.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio article are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content supplied by Leslie Hittner (K0BAD) and The Intergovernmental Advisory Committee  concerning disaster communications.

Accessed on 15 January 2020, 2125 UTC, Post 1281.

Source (via email from Leslie Hittner-K0BAD):

Please click link or scroll down to read the excerpt.

[BIARC] Amateur Radio Emergency Communications


Leslie Hittner via BIARC

7:14 AM (4 hours ago)

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The following is an excerpt from a report to the FCC from the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee concerning disaster communications. The entire report can be found at:

…One of the mainstays for many decades in disaster communications in a recovery has been the use of Amateur Radio Operators, often referred to as HAM Operators.  HAM radio’s ability to operate when other telecommunications systems cannot is critical to understand in this discussion.  “More Americans than ever have been licensed by the [FCC] as amateur operators, and those in the know say that emergency communications is driving their passion to be hams.”24  Citizen interest in emergency communications is a result of citizens who saw their cellular phones overwhelmed by excess traffic and system outages.  This has resulted in over 30,000 licenses being issued for amateur radio operators by the FCC in 2016, 2015, and 2014.25  Generally, amateur radio operators assist when other means of communications are down or overloaded.

HAM radio resources are available for emergency communications support to any public service agency and can bridge interoperability gaps between agencies on a local, Tribal, and/or state level.  Potential HAM deployment locations include, but are not limited to, auxiliary command posts, emergency operations centers, emergency shelters, evacuation sites, fire stations, medical facilities, mobile disaster vehicles, police stations, public works sites, and volunteer intake centers.26  They can also be deployed to provide links to:

• Create communications links between similar agencies across political boundaries, especially where there are misalignments in frequency bands and modes; • Establish communications in locations outside the existing coverage areas of public service and commercial communications systems; • “Shadow” critical public officials and emergency management personnel to facilitate constant and rapid contact; • Monitor critical infrastructure (such as highways and bridges) and provide periodic situation reports; • Staff operation posts (river levels, flooding, damaged areas) and provide periodic situation reports;

• Every hospital has a HAM radio station on premises and there are volunteer HAMs ready to operate (they are generally not hospital employees).  These systems are tested on a very regular basis.  A typical emergency activity might be identifying which hospitals have the available capacity to accept the injured after an event; and • Another overlooked HAM application is continuing communications support after an event.  An example of this would be after a hurricane has blown through and fires are out etc.  There is still no power or phone service.  HAMs have provided on-going coordination to families outside the disaster area.27

As a communications provider, HAM radio falls under the Emergency Support Function #2 umbrella.  Planning for a “when all else fails” communications scenario is essential for all jurisdictions.

-Les, K0BAD
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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

The Original Big Island of Hawaii International Swap Meet/Hamfest is set for Saturday, 25 January 2020, at the Waimea Community Center near the ball field just off the Mamalahoa Highway in Waimea.  The event runs between 0930 HST and 1400 HST, with the EMCOMM Forum at 1200 HST and VE testing at 1300 HST.  For details, contact Steve Milner (WH6N) at

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM).

Public Information Coordinator.

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section. (breaking amateur/ham radio news).

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