Believe I’ve mentioned it before, but it was the “Cedar Fire – October, 2003” in San Diego County that definitely drove home the need to expand our ability to gather emergency information. The fire stopped 1 mile from our home, but burned heck out of a lot of the community of Crest – I was driving to pick up Mexican takeout and just happened to spot the fire “tornado” at the top of the mountain – had heard nothing on television nor broadcast radio about it being that close. (All of the broadcast media seemed to be focused on areas like Rancho Bernardo, etc., that day). Came home, we packed up and got ready to “get out of Dodge” if necessary.
Later on, speaking of my disgust with personal lack of situation awareness with a good friend over in La Mesa, CA, he recommended I consider finally getting my Amateur Radio License – assuring me I would have little difficulty considering my communications/electronics background from the Navy. In 2004 I aced the Technician’s exam with little preparation.
In August of 2015, Heidi mentioned several times that I should “get back into Ham Radio”…
Here it is, one year later, I am now a licensed Amateur Extra, and Heidi is an Amateur General… We are slowly rebuilding our home “Ham Shack”, which will have HF, VHF, UHF capability, covering virtually all modes of operation. It will have sufficient battery backup power to remain on-line for a significant amount of time – and eventually those batteries will have their own, dedicated, Solar Panels to keep them topped off and recharging when the sun is out.
If we absolutely have to, we will be prepared to go portable – still covering HF/VHF/UHF with battery backup. (HF at present, would require us to park somewhere and set up). Eventually, I plan to add digital mode capability to our portable ops setup.
Anyhoo, we continue to work, (slowly), on our Ham Shack and its capabilities. Yesterday, I made the decision to join the San Diego Amateur Radio Emergency Service Group (SDGARES), and was gratified to be immediately accepted. Now, we have even more to study/learn to determine exactly where we fit in, and how we can contribute. There is a huge need, throughout the various Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) organizations supported by Amateur Radio, for folks in good physical condition that can go out and provide such service – at this age and state of life, that part will probably be prohibitive for us, but we will do what we can to help. We *will* find a niche where we can be of service. 😉
Much, much more to follow…