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Mobile Operations and AB 1785

From: Logan R Zintsmaster DEC
Subject: Mobile Operations and AB 1785

In January 2017, AB 1785 went into effect and prohibits use of a "wireless device" while driving. Unfortunately, the term "wireless device" has been broadly interpreted by some to include mobile radios, nullifying the amateur radio exemption that had previously been in place. We could be ticketed (and there are reports that some have been) for using our mobile radio while driving.

There is lots of activity regarding this issue. Attached to this email is a memo from the CHP stating that they do not consider a vehicle mounted radio with a hand held microphone to be a "wireless device". However, local law enforcement may not always be aware of this or follow it. Also, it is unclear if the use of an HT with an external antenna is acceptable.

Also attached is the text from an email from the legislative office of the author of the bill concerning actions under consideration to clarify the intent of the law.

The ARRL is involved.

Finally, there is an on-line petition requesting that the law be clarified.

Until the law can be clarified to assure that our mobile operations while driving are legal, we are going to make the following changes to our procedure and the training courses where we discuss usage of the Resource Net.

Net Control will not directly initiate Health and Welfare Checks with those traveling. It will be up to the individual traveling to contact Net Control and initiate the H&W check every 30 minutes, +/- 5 minutes, unless otherwise instructed by Net Control. The recommend procedure will be that the traveler locates a convenient and safe location to pull off the roadway, stop their vehicle, and make a H&W contact with Net Control. In no case should the traveler stop on the side of a freeway; you should pull off at an exit, stop in a safe location and call in. Where possible plan your travel so H&W contacts are made prior to entering a freeway or after exiting one.

Net Control will periodically announce the above procedure. If Net Control has not heard from a traveler within the specified time, they will specifically mention that traveler's Call Sign and note that they should find a safe location and, only then, make contact with Net Control.

Our objective for the Resource Net is to assure safe and law abiding travel and we will update our procedures as the law becomes clarified.


Logan, KZ6O

- Logan R. Zintsmaster, KZ6O
District Emergency Coordinator, ARES
Chief Radio Officer, RACES SCCo OES
ACSO Santa Clara County

Last Updated:  March 30, 2017