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Hurricane Katrina

West Gulf Emergency Net
critical tactical and emergency traffic - 7.285 MHz days / 3.873 MHz nights
health-and-welfare traffic 7.290 MHz days / 3.935 MHz nights

Salvation Army - Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN)
14.265 MHz days / 7.265 MHz nights

Disaster Communications Volunteer Sign-Up Database

Katrina Disaster Survivor List


Friday 16th September 2005

Amateur Radio continues to earn praise and respect as the Hurricane Katrina relief effort moves forward.

Amateur Radio equipment and supplies arriving at the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief staging area in Montgomery, Alabama, have been turned around as quickly as possible to accompany volunteers into the field. A team has been on duty for some three weeks, overseeing Amateur Radio volunteer intake and registration and trying to satisfy the ever-changing requirements of the Red Cross and other served agencies.

The American Red Cross and other served agencies are very thankful and appreciative of the help and several have said they could not operate without the amateur radio backup.


FRIDAY 9th September 2005

New and fresh Amateur Radio volunteers are still required for the Hurricane Katrina relief operation. To assist with with need, the Hurricane Katrina Amateur Radio Volunteers Needed Clearing House now is live on the ARRL Web site. This database will be the primary means for relief organizations requiring Amateur Radio volunteers for communication support to list their needs. Additionally, volunteers looking to help may search the listings to match up their capabilities with the various requirements.

Full Story -

FRIDAY 9th September 2005

Amateur Radio operators from states along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in the US continue to volunteer their skills and expertise as the Hurricane Katrina relief effort heads into its third week.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and other volunteers are assisting as needed to support communication for relief agencies as well as for state and local government and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Earlier this week Amateur Radio was the only means for state officials at the state emergency operations center (EOC) in Baton Rouge to communicate with the so-called "Florida parishes" above Lake Pontchartrain.

A communication to the EOC in Baton Rouge from FEMA that said, "Ham radio is our prime communications with you, and they should get anything they need."

A marshaling center has been established in Covington, Louisiana. ARES has been continuing to support Red Cross shelter and Southern Baptist Convention debris-clearing in St Tammany parish, as well as Baptist Men's Kitchen canteen operations.

In Washington Parish, ARES volunteers provide critical communication among hospitals and the parish EOC. Field teams continue to use HF to maintain communication with the EOC in Baton Rouge. It is hoped to install a temporary VHF repeater in Washington Parish this weekend.

In Mississippi, ARES operators have been helping to maintain communication among hospitals, EOCs and shelters.

The Red Cross staging area in Montgomery, Alabama, continues to process and orient Amateur Radio volunteers for duty in Louisiana and Mississippi. Some volunteers will help support communication at Red Cross shelters set up for evacuees, while others will provide tactical communication for feeding stations.


THURSDAY 8th September 2005

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) is seeking 10 two-operator Amateur Radio teams for deployment in the US Gulf Coast. Operators must hold at least a General class license. Teams should be fully self sufficient in terms of food, water and lodging and plan to remain in the disaster area for from one to two weeks. Teams should be equipped with HF and, preferably, VHF/UHF, gear and will check in through SATERN's Jackson, Mississippi, marshaling area. The primary mission of the SATERN volunteer teams will be to get health-and-welfare traffic out of the storm and flood-stricken areas and, if possible, handle incoming H&W traffic as well. The Salvation Army continues to ramp up its disaster relief effort and is sending more than 100 meal and relief stations into the affected areas where the need is the greatest. Do not self deploy! Prospective volunteers should contact SATERN Liaison Jeff Schneller, N2HPO, [email protected]; 917-226-1339 or 347-680-9059.

TUESDAY September 6 2005

More than 800 Amateur Radio operators from all over the US have signed up to aid the Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery effort now under way along the US Gulf Coast. At this point, an estimated 200 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers en route, on site where they're needed or in the pipeline for processing and deployment. In addition, Amateur Radio manufacturers and equipment suppliers have stepped forward to donate radio equipment for use in the field.

full story -

MONDAY September 5 2005

Several HF nets continue in operation to support Amateur Radio's response to the Hurricane Katrina emergency. All members of the Amateur Radio community who are not taking part in disaster relief or recovery operations to give these nets as much elbow room as possible--5 kHz or more on either side of the net frequency. Nets already are having to deal with less-than-ideal propagation, and any interference--even if it's unintentional--can make their job all the more difficult.
full story -

SATURDAY September 3 2005

Amateur Radio operators are beginning to be sent into areas around New Orleans to support command and control operations for Red Cross and other disaster relief operations. The equipment requirement is VHF and UHF FM. Both portable, hand held and mobile stations are needed. Conditions remain primitive. A pass is required from the Louisiana state police for access beyond roadblocks. These are obtained from the state EOC in Baton Rouge either by fax or in person. Similar requirements exist in Mississippi, where the state EOC is located in Jackson.

FRIDAY September 2 2005

There are very few Amateur Radio operators being sent into the most devastated areas. The primary problem is the lack of transportation and motor fuel. Many key roads remain closed by damage, flooding, or to prevent access to areas that are still unstable. We are beginning to receive some requests to support long term shelters outside of the most severely impacted areas. These will replace the traditional short-term storm evacuation centers. Most of these requests are being managed with nearby resources. Larger long-term shelters are being opened in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas; also being supported by local resources.

All of us know this will be a months-long effort. Just because we are unable to immediately send those of you who have registered here, that does not mean we will not in the future. Your patience in awaiting an assignment that may never come is appreciated. At this moment, the number of volunteers is exceeding the requirements by about 100 to 1, if not more. The requirements is likely to change in the future, we are unable to give any idea of when that will be.

The ARRL now is seeking experienced Amateur Radio emergency volunteers to help supplement communication for American Red Cross feeding and sheltering operations in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle - as many as 200 locations in all. Special consideration will be given to operators who have successfully completed the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course training (Level I minimum) to serve as team leaders. These volunteer operators will help to provide communication and equipment for relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers may face hardship conditions without the usual amenities and will need to provide their own transportation to the marshaling area.

Working in cooperation with the ARRL, will now be handling all volunteer sign ups for the Katrina Relief effort. If you have already entered your information to [email protected], your information will be forwarded to AB2M to avoid duplication.

31st August 2005
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Louisiana are engaged in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, and more are waiting in the wings. ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Gary Stratton, K5GLS, told ARRL that some 250 ARES members have been working with relief organizations and emergency management agencies since the beginning. Because much of the affected areas remained flooded and dangerous, state officials had not allowed emergency or other units to enter the flooded zones.

A call for help that involved a combination of cell telephone calls and Amateur Radio was instrumental in saving 15 people stranded by floodwaters on the roof of a house in New Orleans. Unable to get through an overloaded 911 system, one of those stranded called a relative in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That individual, in turn, called another relative, Sybil Hayes in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, whose 81-year-old aunt Helen Elzy was among those clinging to the roof along with other family members.

Hayes called the American Red Cross chapter, which contacted the Tulsa Repeater Organization. Using the Red Cross chapter's well-equipped amateur station, TRO member Ben Joplin, WB5VST, was able to relay a request for help on the 20-meter SATERN net via stations in Oregon and Utah to Louisiana, where the ARES net contacted emergency personnel who rescued the 15 people.

"When all else fails, Amateur Radio works is more than a catchy tag line," says TRO's Mark Conklin, N7XYO. "It's a lifeline." He said as of late Monday evening, Elzy and the others on the roof were safe at a Red Cross shelter.

National Public Radio interviewed Joplin about the experience for its "All Things Considered" program on August 30.

WB5VST is interviewed by local news media

Ben Joplin, WB5VST, in Oklahoma City, is interviewed by local news media after getting word through to Louisiana officials that 15 people were stranded on a roof there.
[Photo by Mark Conklin / N7XYO]

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will provide a $100,000 grant supplement to ARRL to support Amateur Radio's emergency communication operators in states affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The grant will help to fund "Ham Aid," a new League program to support Amateur Radio volunteers deployed in the field in disaster-stricken areas. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, expressed gratitude to CNCS for its generous response. Ham Aid, she said, offers a unique opportunity to support individual radio amateurs helping to bridge the communication gap Hurricane Katrina has caused.

"For the first time in ARRL history, we will be able to reimburse some of the expenses that hams incur in response to a disaster," she said. "We only wish that we could justify an expense reimbursement program like this every time Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers are called upon to help in a disaster or emergency, sometimes placing themselves in harm's way."

In addition to providing emergency communication within and outside the affected areas, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) members and individual radio amateurs are supplementing the communication needs of emergency management and relief agencies, including the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. Hobart said it's only due to the scope of the unprecedented and tragic Katrina disaster that CNCS agreed to help support dedicated Amateur Radio volunteers.

"But," she added, "we'd like to think of this grant as a token of appreciation and a recognition of Amateur Radio's value in past emergencies and disasters, such as 9/11."

Hobart says ARRL's Ham Aid program already has received some substantial private donations. Those and the CNCS grant, she said, provide a way for the League to "support our Field Organization as never before."

The CNCS Ham Aid grant is effective for operations established and documented as of September 1, 2005, and the aid is earmarked for Hurricane Katrina deployments only at this point. Guidelines are being established that will permit volunteers who have been involved in bona fide field support operations on or after September 1 to provide communication support to apply for a reimbursement voucher on a per diem basis.

Trained Amateur Radio operators will be on site for the duration of this disaster response, which could run into several weeks or months. "Many will leave their jobs and families and travel on their own expense, using their own equipment," Hobart points out.

Corporation funds may also sustain the Ham Aid program and help to rebuild the emergency communications capabilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to ensure that the Gulf Coast is prepared, should disaster strike again.

The CNCS grant is an extension of ARRL's three year Homeland Security training grant, which has provided certification in emergency communication protocols to nearly 5500 Amateur Radio volunteer over the past three years.

"CNCS grants helped make it possible for the ARRL to train America's hams and make them the best all-volunteer emergency radio service ever seen," Hobart said. "Now they are making it possible for the hams to use that training."