Amateur Radio and Public Service

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KC0KM

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I got to thinking, while on another thread, about what does Amateur Radio do? One thing we do as Amateur Radio Operators, is public service. From RACES, ARES, and other functions, what kind of public service do you do, if any? I admit, I am not a member of RACES or ARES, however, I am a member of KCHEART. KCHEART is the Kansas City Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio Teams. Every hospital with an emergency room, with in the region (MHP Troop A) and a few counties on the Kansas side, all have an Amateur Radio set up. At least one hospital per county has a HF, but most just have a two radio set up. We use a local 70 cm repeater, and it allows all the facilities to be connected in case of a emergency. Although not official, I have called into a Skywarn (and Skywarn was the reason I got into Amateur Radio in the first place). While I have had CERT Training, I am not sure if I want to go any further.

So does anyone else do anything in Amateur Radio, as a public service?
 

signal500

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I got to thinking, while on another thread, about what does Amateur Radio do? One thing we do as Amateur Radio Operators, is public service. From RACES, ARES, and other functions, what kind of public service do you do, if any? I admit, I am not a member of RACES or ARES, however, I am a member of KCHEART. KCHEART is the Kansas City Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio Teams. Every hospital with an emergency room, with in the region (MHP Troop A) and a few counties on the Kansas side, all have an Amateur Radio set up. At least one hospital per county has a HF, but most just have a two radio set up. We use a local 70 cm repeater, and it allows all the facilities to be connected in case of a emergency. Although not official, I have called into a Skywarn (and Skywarn was the reason I got into Amateur Radio in the first place). While I have had CERT Training, I am not sure if I want to go any further.

So does anyone else do anything in Amateur Radio, as a public service?
I'm a member of our counties CERT and also a ARES member for a neighboring county. Our CERT team has a 70 cm repeater up on a local water tower. Most all members are amateur radio operators. We participate in community events all the time. Just today, we helped the Sheriff's office with vehicle and pedestrian traffic for our annual Mardi Gras parade. We help with communications and first aid stations at most local 5K runs. Also, we participate in disaster training where we set up communications from the EOC to all areas around the county and use HF communications to set up a net to our state Capital.

Our ARES group works closely with our counties Search and Rescue team and we are called out at the same time they are to assist with communications. We set up a temporary repeater at the location and every search and rescue team has a amateur radio operator assigned to it. We have 2 meter and 70 cm radios located at every area hospital, police / sheriff's departments, and the Emergency Management Office. We have predetermined (with backups) amateur radio operators that are assigned to each location. We also have a extensive SkyWarn net that stretches from Mobile, AL to Panama City, FL. The Mobile NWS has a few meteorologists that are amateur radio operators and keep us informed via 2 meters when we are in the field weather spotting.

I'm in hurricane country and everyone in this community understands how important amateur radio operators are when it comes to disaster communications. What amateur radio has to offer is communication networks that are not overloaded when needed the most. When all else fails...amateur radio is there.
 

zz0468

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I'm not a direct participant in public service events. I've tried it, and didn't much care for it. I do, however, make the repeaters for the clubs I'm in available to various public service groups, and so support it indirectly.

I prefer the technical side of the hobby, so just wanted to point out that, even for the technical types that prefer to be in the background, there's a role in amateur radio public service.
 

pinballwiz86

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Well, I'm taking a Skywarn spotter training class in a few weeks. I'd like to report any severe weather to the NWS repeater in Springfield, MO- 88 miles away. I can hit them direct or through echo link.
 

n5ims

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Often here hams help out with many things besides the usual skywarn and ARES/RACES exercises. There are several bike races, marathons, and "fun runs" that have hams help out with. One thing that's generally quite fun is the balloon festival which often not only has hams assisting with the chase group coordination but use APRS to help track the balloons.
 

KE5MC

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Cowtown marathon was last weekend in Ft. Worth TX. I was on the radio for Rest-stop 10 @ mile 11.5. Handling any logics or medical issue that might come up. Not much happened other than tired feet and a sore back from standing around. :D
 

LtDoc

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Is 'public service' a requirement for ham radio? No, it isn't. If you feel like you want to contribute to 'public service' then by all means do so. Don't want to? That's fine too. Just be aware that you have to conform to their requirements/needs and that's not all that easy sometimes (boy is that an understatement!). And then some people are just not 'suitable' for it, if that makes sense to you.
The local club is associated with the EOC here. That isn't the club's only 'thing' but it's certainly one of them. Both the EOC and the club have benefited from that association so it's a good thing. If the club disappeared suddenly it would be an aggravation to the EOC but it certainly wouldn't be a catastrophic thingy, you know? Oh well. Do what you feel like doing...
- 'Doc
 

N0IU

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Well, I'm taking a Skywarn spotter training class in a few weeks. I'd like to report any severe weather to the NWS repeater in Springfield, MO- 88 miles away. I can hit them direct or through echo link.
I would think it would make more sense to try and find a way to contact the NWS in St. Louis (LSX) since storms in Missouri tend to move from the southwest to the northeast up the I-44 corridor (for some reason). Once a storm has hit St. Robert, it is already well past Springfield and is on its way towards St. Louis.
 

pinballwiz86

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I would think it would make more sense to try and find a way to contact the NWS in St. Louis (LSX) since storms in Missouri tend to move from the southwest to the northeast up the I-44 corridor (for some reason). Once a storm has hit St. Robert, it is already well past Springfield and is on its way towards St. Louis.
Thanks for the tip. Makes sense.

But then idk why the local radio club decides to hold a weekly skywarn net with Springfield.

I could monitor Springfield's N0NWS repeater to see what's heading my way right?

I guess I'll learn about weather patterns at the class. Any other frequencies or repeaters I should listen to?

Thanks!
 

W9BU

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In my experience, Skywarn reporting is tied to the NWS office that serves the area where the report originates. If a Skywarn report originates in, let's say, St. Robert, Missouri, that report most likely will go to the Springfield, Missouri, NWS office because St. Robert is in Springfield's County Warning Area. The Springfield NWS office is responsible for issuing warnings for the county where St. Robert is located. I have no doubt that the St. Louis NWS offices monitors the warnings being issued by the Springfield office.
 

WB4CS

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Public Service? NONE!

I got into ham radio to talk to people on the radio, chase DX, and experiment with RF technology. When I became a ham, all of this emcomm nonsense didn't exist.

Thanks to the ARRL in an attempt to get more people interested into the hobby in the late 90s/early 2000's, the idea that Public Service, "when all else fails" emcomm is the end-all-be-all of ham radio was introduced. Thanks to that "fine" idea by the ARRL, we now have a large group of whackers and preppers.

Backup emergency communications has always been a part of the hobby, but never has it been the main reason for amateur radio to exist. The original ham operators where pioneers of their time, experimenting with RF technology that created some of the household items we now take for granted.

If someone wants to participate in emcomm, that's great that you're active in your community and in the hobby. I'm sure that the NWS and EMA offices really appreciate all that you do (whatever it is you do.) Meanwhile, I'll be in my hamshack calling CQ and listening to the local TV weatherman when it gets stormy outside :)
 

k6cpo

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We have a number of events that are supported by amateur radio in San Diego County. There are several back country endurance runs each year, the ARES organization, of which I am a member, supports the annual air show at MCAS Miramar by providing lost child services and then there's the annual Baker to Vegas law enforcement relay race that gets massive ham radio support.
 

pinballwiz86

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In my experience, Skywarn reporting is tied to the NWS office that serves the area where the report originates. If a Skywarn report originates in, let's say, St. Robert, Missouri, that report most likely will go to the Springfield, Missouri, NWS office because St. Robert is in Springfield's County Warning Area. The Springfield NWS office is responsible for issuing warnings for the county where St. Robert is located. I have no doubt that the St. Louis NWS offices monitors the warnings being issued by the Springfield office.
Thanks a lot for the information! Now I know.
 

pinballwiz86

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Thanks to the ARRL in an attempt to get more people interested into the hobby in the late 90s/early 2000's, the idea that Public Service, "when all else fails" emcomm is the end-all-be-all of ham radio was introduced. Thanks to that "fine" idea by the ARRL, we now have a large group of whackers and preppers.








Lol.
 

methusaleh

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The kind of people attrached to public service these days are not what they were back in the 90s.

This guy's photo pages always make for a good laugh...it's Chief Jay!!!

 

jim9251

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My local ham radio club helps provide communications for the mountain marathons they have here. I also do ARES, and Skywarn. I don't have flashy lights on my car nor do I wear an orange glow vest. And during tourist season I answer dumb questions and help with directions on 52 simplex a lot.
 
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