Originally Posted by K6VAR
As RGR says, we are probably already there. In fact, there are thousands of people with ham licenses who do not know what ham radio is. (Or used to be.) They got the license to work with the public safety folks.
At the same time, the need for hams with public safety is rapidly diminishing. PS communications has been upgraded around the nation, usually with highly redundant systems, and with professionally trained dispatchers. We just aren't needed any more. I think the emcom folks are hanging onto a sinking ship.
That said, I think the real ham who does know what amateur radio is, is also equipped to handle emcom. He has the skills and the equipment, and he has the willingness. That is how it was for 75 years. The ham was able and willing but didn't view emcom as a career.
What this notice has done, though, is to not only open the door for many other entities to declare they need of hams on the employment rolls, and ham gear in their trucks and cars, for emergencies, it has opened the door to quasi commercial use. That is a door we worked hard to keep closed, especially in the 1990s when so many were misusing amateur radio.
Here is a fact. If I am an employed nurse at a hospital, and I have a ham radio at my station, and I use it, I am a 'paid professional ham.' It doesn't matter whether the hospital benefits or not (and it does.) What matters is my pay continues while I am using the Part 97 radio. And I am conducting hospital business.
As I said before, how many more entities are going to want that same privilege? Cheaper radios, paid hams on the staff? The camel may be sniffing under the tent.
Also, as RGR notes, employees in public safety are strongly - sometimes very strongly - 'advised' to get a ham license. One of our recent EMs was told if he did not get one, he might not keep the job. Our new EM is not being told this, except by the ARES people. But his boss has not told him to get a ham ticket.
Our county had a recruiting meeting, in which deputies, fire fighters, medic personnel and even the animal control officer, were 'asked' to get their ham tickets. None of them did, and to my knowledge, none of them suffered any negative consequences for not doing so. The EM, though, was an exception. He was pressured to get one. In fact it was demanded of him. So he did. He was let go anyway, and never once used his ham call. Neither did the previous EM use his, and in fact, neither did the one prior to that ever use his call sign either. Hams that aren't hams.
We could see many, many more of those.
Last edited by W5HTW; 07-15-2010 at 08:48 PM.
Ed, CHOP, W5HTW - Novice 1956, General, 1957, Advanced, 1968, Extra, 1969. Keep the amateur in amateur radio, keep the pros, and Part 90, out of it.
And this is a problem? If a ham gets a license, then doesn't use it, it affects you or me in what way?
Originally Posted by W5HTW
I see this a lot. Hams complaining because there are hams on the books that aren't "active". Or that chose to get a license to communicate only with dad, mom, husband or wife. It irks them that there are people with a ham ticket for the "wrong reason".
I am more irked by people who try to define HR in some narrow aspect, as to exclude certain types of people, or certain operating choices (or non operating choices).
HR is not a religion. We don't have to participate to some defined level. We do what we want, participate in ways and times we want, and talk to those we want.
We cannot tax our way to prosperity.
>- Local governments, hospitals, school districts, etc. are going to send a bunch of people to classes to learn how to pass a Technician test.
>- The number of Tech licenses issued will soar. This trend is showing up in the numbers now
I heard the new Tech license exam is much tougher. I wonder about the impact, less "emcomm hams" or less "would be hobbyists hams?"
We have two EM's in this county, now. One of them was a ham long before the current EMCOMM craze, and I do hear him on the air once in a while. The other one pointedly did it "In case none of your ARES people show up".
And yes, I've heard about serious arm twisting. I don't believe there is any way ham radio should be in somebody's job description. My comments to FCC were exactly that - the commission should say that in exactly those words!
But, up here, the need for ARES is growing, mostly because people like me are working to grow it. Oh yeah, 40 tornadoes the night of June 17th didn't hurt any, either. Nor did the terrible floods in 2007 that took out all of those new modern digital trunked systems. I think a total of about 50 hams spent a week in Wadena, MN recently for ARES - replacing all the commercial comms that flew off to Kansas one night. 20 of us were out storm spotting last night right here in this county.
We recognize that in order to be ready for emergencies, people need to learn to use their gear. One of the best ways I can think of is to provide communications for local and regional events. Our radio clubs are very busy with marathons, bike-a-thons, and even a huge dog sled race up North every winter. And yes, we do have a 10K run in February - though why anybody wants to do that, I can't tell you.
This activity breeds other activity - lots of it. I consider the non-emergency activities to be as vital to ARES as any emergency drill. They are critical to recruiting new hams.
Frankly, I've been around long enough to know that no matter how much you plan, and how much you throw at it, when a real emergency happens, it's going to be one of the most active people - not necessarily an EMCOMM guy - that's the first one to get involved.
I'm in the process of reorganizing this district, and along the way, I'm trying to have as much fun as I can without being a Whacker. Indeed, I can see me bumping heads with some people because I frequently remind people that this is a hobby, a hobby, a hobby ... I don't need people 24X7, but I need them to have a team that will cover for them when they are not around. I'd rather have 3 family guys than one iron man for most tasks.
EchoLink, IRLP and DSTAR - adding interest to repeaters worldwide 24X7
The ability and willingness of hams to provide communications in emergencies is the PRIMARY reason we have been able to enjoy billions of dollars of valuable frequencies that could be sold to other services. The minute the government gets the idea that we are not interested in providing such emergency communications, we will lose our privilages. You don't get something for nothing.
Andrew Thall, K2OO
Really, Ed, perhaps it is time for you to take up bowling, kite flying, or bass fishing...Anything that doesn't involve using a radio. Your cynicism is going to eat you up, Sir.
Originally Posted by W5HTW
In Tennessee they say exactly that, "Emergency".
Originally Posted by WA2SI
Becasue those "Emergency" tags, at least in Tennessee, do not designate that vehicle as an "emergency vehicle". It designates the registered owner as being an emergency responder in any one of several categories, and should be extended every courtesy when negotiating traffic or road blocks where appropriate.
Originally Posted by W5HTW
In Tennessee that includes Amateur Radio licensees, physicians, certain nurses (ie: ER/Shock-Trauma), HAZMAT personnel (that are not a part of a fire service), certain members of the Civil Air Patrol, among others. Firefighters have a seperate tag (which may or maynot allow the use of 'code lights') as do law enforcement.
And in all actuallity, those Amateurs with those tags are supposed to be card carrying and active members of the ARES...Not just any Amateur seeking thier call on a tag. That's one abuse of the system that needs to be purged here.
Originally Posted by K2OO
And just in case no one was paying attention recently, our latest Commander-in-Chief has ORDERED that an additional 500MHz in spectrum will be made available for consumer services.
Given the choice between usurping allocations designated "Government Radiolocation" or bands that support 60 minutes of 'drive time' chatter twice a day for "hobbyists", who do you think is going to lose?
Personally, I am surprised we haven't been kicked off 1.2, 2.4 and 3.4GHz already.
I guess the next thing is that the FCC will change the name of the Part 97 Service to the "Amateur Radio Emergency Service" and begin paying royalties to the ARRL.
Personally I can believe they (the FCC) went this far. A number of us of us spent the last 2 years moving our FD off of amateur radio and this news is spreading like wildfire! Looks like I will be able to turn off the FD talk-groups on the trunking system during the next disaster and let the Sheriff, the PD's, and local gov't have all the capacity because the FD will be on amateur radio hamming it up during the hurricane.