One of the primary goals of the Hamilton County Amateur Radio Club is to assist in an emergency by providing back-up or supplemental communications as needed.We are federally-licensed volunteer amateur ("ham") radio operators and engage in regular training and preparation for emergency operations.

It is significant that the Federal Communications Commission's Rules and Regulations governing Amateur Radio (Part 97) state, as the first principle under "Basis and Purpose," the following: "Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications."

The club has an internal training program. As part of our training, we also provide "public service" communications assistance during large public events.

We are working with the county Director of Emergency Management to develop an official RACES organization for the county. RACES, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, is specifically established via FCC Part 97, Subpart E, Section 97.407. Operation under RACES takes place only in certain situations when there is a declared emergency and when activated by the county Director of Emergency Management.

We also participate as a member of ARES- the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. ARES is organized and administered by the ARRL (American Radio Relay League). ARES is a nationally recognized volunteer emergency communications organization. On June 21, 2003, Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, announced the official affiliation between the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and President Bush's Citizen Corps initiative. ARRL is also a member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD).

SKYWARN is a program of the National Weather Service. The most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the storm spotter. By providing observations, SKYWARN storm spotters assist the National Weather Service in their warning decisions and enable the National Weather Service to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property. You do not have to be a ham radio operator to be a SKYWARN spotter, but you do have to be trained by the National Weather Service.

Here are some articles about ham radio and emergency communications:
Hurricane Katrina Articles:
Amateur Radio Earning Praise, Respect in Hurricane Katrina Relief (ARRL. Sept. 16, 2005)
Ham radio operators to the rescue after Katrina (MSNBC. Sept. 6, 2005)
Ham radio operators tune in hurricane help (Christian Science Monitor. Sept. 15, 2005)
Ham radio operator heads south to aid post-Katrina communications (Computerworld. Sept. 7, 2005)
Ham radio volunteers help re-establish communications after Katrina (Computerworld, Sept. 6, 2005)
As Telecom Reels From Storm Damage, Ham Radios Hum (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 6, 2005)
Ham Radio Operators Relay Messages, Help Save Lives After Hurricane Katrina (About.com. Sept. 4, 2005)
In Katrina's Wake, Ham Radio Triumphs (Electronic Design. Sept. 19, 2005)
Ham Radio Operators Rise to Occasion of Another Disaster (Newhouse News Service. Sept. 1, 2005)
Ham radio serves in Katrina's path (Test and Measurement. Sept. 7, 2005)
Ham radio aids recovery effort (Columbia Missourian. Sept. 5, 2005)
Ham Radio's Helping Hand (DefenseTech. Sept. 7, 2005)
Ham radio operators reach out and help hurricane survivors (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Aug. 31, 2005)
Toledo-Area Amateur Radio Operators Help Hurricane Victims (WTOL Sept. 15, 2005)
Volunteer Ham Radio Operators to Receive Grant To Enhance Emergency Communications in Hurricane Region (VolunteerToday.com)
Ham radio operators help direct remote rescue (WVLT Knoxville TN, Oct. 2005)
Ham radio to tap in if earthquake strikes (The Albuquerque Tribune Sept. 20, 2005)
President Bush Sends Greetings to Field Day Participants (ARRL Letter. June 24, 2005)
Ham Radio Operators Become Asset to Homeland Security (Newhouse News Service)
Have a Field Day: Why you should try ham radio (ZDNet)
Amateur Radio Operators Shine in Crises (MRT)
Also see:
Emergency Communications overview from the ARRL

Peter Weaver KC2GCH is the emergency coordinator for the club.

If you are interested in the group, or in getting your amateur radio license, please contact anyone from the radio club or attend a meeting for more information. Individuals without a license can still participate in support roles and may be able to use other radio communication methods such as FRS or CB, where applicable.

For more information on the club and ham radio, see the Hamilton County Amateur Radio Club main page.

Radiogram forms and supplemental info for members