When all else fails
Part of the relevancy of Amateur Radio in the 21st Century is the idea that “When all else fails” Amateur Radio will be there.
From the ARRL
Despite the complexity of modern commercial communications – or perhaps BECAUSE they are so complex – Amateur Radio operators are regularly called upon to provide communications when other systems are down or overloaded.
You can check out what the ARRL has to say here:
What is the “else” in…When all else fails?
Did you ever wonder what has to fail? Curiosity led me to find the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan for my state – Illinois
Here is the scope of that plan
The Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan, or SCIP, serves as the operational blueprint for the conceptualization, procurement, implementation, and usage of interoperable communications by Illinois’ public safety agencies and non- governmental/private organizations. The development of the SCIP was a cooperative effort by a consortium of federal, state, and local public safety practitioners working through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s Communications Committee and the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee. Annual reviews/updates to the SCIP will be conducted under the auspices of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
The SCIP is much more than a user’s guide to radio communications. The plan outlines Illinois’ interoperability vision, its mission, and the goals, objectives, and strategic initiatives that will be employed to achieve that vision. It establishes standard operating procedures that will be followed by public safety practitioners when responding to disasters or significant incidents and underscores Illinois’ adherence to the tenets of the National Incident Management System. The plan sets forth the methodology that will be used to assess Illinois’ current interoperable capabilities, defines the governance role of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, and details funding strategies to achieve Illinois’ interoperability vision.,, Most importantly, however, the SCIP demonstrates Illinois’ uncompromising commitment to bring communications interoperability to all of its governmental/non- governmental public safety agencies.
It’s a fascinating read. In this plan you will find tons of frequencies providing the opportunity to “listen in” on drills and actual emergency communications
The Bigger Picture
The bigger picture, for Illinois, is located here
Illinois Emergency Management Agency
Disaster Preparedness, Response & Recovery
And then there is FEMA.
Check out the National Response Framework
FEMA offers more than 100 training courses on-line for free
So how does all this fit in with Amateur Radio?
Read the Public Service Communications Manual from the ARRL
Here are some resources from an Illinois ARES group
Mystery Projects – FEMA/DHS AM backup transmitters
And finally, this article from the Radio Engineering Blog
What is the deal with those FEMA/DHS AM backup transmitters?
Back last February, it was reported that FEMA/Department of Homeland Security was mysteriously constructing prepackaged AM transmitter buildings at various PEP (Primary Entry Point) transmitter sites across the country as something call “Primary Entry Point Expansion.” These buildings contain a 5 KW Nautel AM transmitter, EAS gear, satellite equipment (the exact equipment list is undisclosed) and a backup generator all in a shielded (Faraday Cage), prefabricated building placed inside of a fenced in compound at the station’s transmitter site. The buildings are being put in place, but not connected to anything in the outside world. They are planning to have about 80 (the number keeps increasing) of these structures in place when the project is completed by mid 2013.
Read the entire posting here -
If all the above is the “else” … and “If all else fails” I’m not sure I want to be around. Or perhaps, if all else fails, none of us may have a choice to be around or not.