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Global Skywatch

Bitterroot emergency comms plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it.

A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end.

Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it.

Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail.

I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and transmit useful information in an emergency.

There are two different versions of this card because the GMRS repeater coverage favors channel 20 from Hamilton north and channel 19 from Hamilton south. That is the only difference between them.

If your GMRS radio is not programmed for repeater use, it should be. Repeaters, typically installed in high places receive signals from smaller, weaker radios and re-transmit those signals to much greater ranges and coverage. The difference can be from a two mile range with a hand-held to 25 or more miles via a repeated signal.

I put together a 20-minute presentation for the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club meeting on how the network should and, could work in this area if some hams rise to the occasion. It was well received and I think many of them will.

Below is one of the slides from that presentation followed by a .pdf with all of them. Of course without the presenter you are left guessing what I said while that slide was on the screen. If it involves minimal travel, I would be willing to present the plan to your group. Give me a call or send me an note. (Yeah, that assumes you know how to reach me. I’m not putting that up on the World-Wide-Web)

Similarly, contact me if you want some of the laminated two-sided emergency comms cards.

– Ted

BEARS emergency network