Saturday, November 22, 2014

Amateur Radio in the 2014 National Emergency Communications Plan

DHS has published the 2014 update to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) and it recommends greater cooperation beetween federal, state and local government agengies and with the Amateur Radio Service.

Source: Department of Homeland Security

The Amateur Radio Service is defined as "A radio communication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, who are duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

The NECP says that amateur radio operators "can be important conduits for relaying information to response agencies and personnel when other forms of communications have failed or have been disrupted."

"With assistance from DHS, State, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions should assess their existing governance structures to ensure they are positioned to address current and emerging policy, technology, and planning developments.  This could include adding representatives to Statewide Interoperability Governing Bodies and Statewide Interoperability Executive Committees from associations, organizations, or agencies that support or rely on communications during response and recovery operations (e.g., emergency management agencies, 9-1-1 boards, hospital associations, utilities, and amateur radio organizations)."

"Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions should identify domestic and international entities with potential roles in information sharing and the delivery of emergency communications during emergencies (e.g., utility companies, amateur radio operators, nongovernmental organizations, media companies, and telecommunications owners, operators, manufacturers, and suppliers).  As appropriate, these entities should be incorporated into training and exercise activities on a more regular basis.  This includes involving the appropriate stakeholders in curriculum or exercise design and execution, as necessary."

"Likewise, volunteer organizations such as community emergency response teams and auxiliary communications volunteers (e.g., amateur radio operators; also called Hams) play key roles in emergency communications and preparedness.  Volunteer emergency communications operators and groups using amateur radio have been providing backup communications to event planners, public safety officials, and emergency managers at all levels of government for nearly 100 years.  Often, amateur radio services have been used when other forms of communications have failed or have been disrupted.  Today, nearly all the States and territories have incorporated some level of participation by amateur radio auxiliary communication operators into their Tactical Interoperable Communications Plans and Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans; this allows them to quickly integrate the operators into response efforts, which can strengthen communications and operations during incidents of any scale.

FCC:  Uses and Capabilities of Amateur Radio Service Communications in Emergencies and Disaster Relief

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Local officials say radio can fill in for Internet in event of cyber attack

Source: WBBTV

“We can actually send email attachments, video and what-not via ham radio without ever using the Internet.”

“Their contacts can be in the emergency operations center using their emails as they would on a daily basis.”

“The software can send the digital information via radio waves to another station with similar equipment and then be able to pull it up on the screen and print it out."

40th Anniversary of the Arecibo Message

Source: Slate

Nov. 16, 2014, marks the 40th anniversary of the Arecibo message, an interstellar communiqué transmitted from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico toward Messier 13, a globular cluster of stars located more than 22,000 light-years away.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Family Radio Service (FRS) - Types of communications

You may use an Family Radio Service (FRS) unit to transmit a brief text message to another specific FRS unit and automatically respond with location. Digital transmissions can be one second per thirty-second period and automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a thirty-second period.

Source: FCC

Code of Federal Regulations

Title 47 - Telecommunication

Volume: 5
Date: 2007-10-01
Original Date: 2007-10-01
Title: Section 95.193 - (FRS Rule 3) Types of communications.
Subpart B - Family Radio Service (FRS). - General Provisions.

§ 95.193(FRS Rule 3)

Types of communications.
(a) You may use an FRS unit to conduct two-way voice communications with another person. You may use an FRS unit to transmit one-way voice or non-voice communications only to establish communications with another person, send an emergency message, provide traveler assistance, provide location information, transmit a brief text message, make a voice page, or to conduct a brief test.
(b) Non-voice communications. 
     (1) The FRS unit may transmit tones to make contact or to continue communications with a particular FRS unit. If the tone is audible (more than 300 Hertz), it must be transmitted continuously no longer than 15 seconds at one time. If the tone is subaudible (300 Hertz or less), it may be transmitted continuously only while you are talking.
    (2) The FRS unit may transmit digital data containing location information, or requesting location information from one or more other FRS units, or containing a brief text message to another specific FRS unit. Digital data transmissions must be initiated by a manual action or command of a user, except that an FRS unit receiving an interrogation request may automatically respond with its location. Digital data transmissions shall not exceed one second, and shall be limited to no more than one digital transmission within a thirty-second period, except that an FRS unit may automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a thirty-second period.
(c) You must not use an FRS unit in connection with any activity which is against federal, state or local law.
(d) You must, at all times and on all channels, give priority to emergency communication messages concerning the immediate safety of life or the immediate protection of property.
(e) No FRS unit may be interconnected to the public switched network.

[61 FR 28768, June 6, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 9901, Mar. 3, 2003]