Ham Radio's Role in California Outages?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W2JKT, Oct 9, 2019.

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  1. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just read this morning that PG&E will be blacking out 800,000 customers in California due to the risk of wildfires caused by high winds (driving trees into contact with power lines, presumably).

    I'm curious if Ham Radio is playing a part in maintaining communications within and between communities during the blackouts. Can anyone who is actually out there comment?

    Is there anything the rest of us can do to help out?
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I heard California does not want any help from HAM radio operators anymore.

    I also heard there are other reason power is being turned off. Not just because of the risk of wildfires.

    Maybe it is Fake News. :rolleyes:

    I do not live there, Thank goodness.
  3. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    im not a prepper - i am just risk adverse - which is why i left the bay area of california a few years ago. I'd sit in traffic on the way to pick up my son from daycare - often i'd be late due to unexpected slowdowns (for which i was 'fined' $50 by the daycare provider) - as I sat in traffic i would think "what if I need to evacuate? there is NO WAY i could get out of here. . . " For that reason - and how expensive homes were and how competitive private schools were going to be for my son - we left and went back to Ohio. Best move ever.

    Look at it now. So glad to be a couple thousand miles away...
    K0IDT, W4POT, KD8DEY and 2 others like this.
  4. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My home has power, at least for now, but it's been shut off to other areas of the county I live in and some surrounding counties.

    The local repeaters are abuzz with status reports, but that's about it.

    The reason for the outages is the hot dry winds bringing extreme fire danger. It's calm at my home now, but they're predicting 60mph winds with single-digit humidity tonight. A power outage is mostly just an inconvenience, but a spark in that kind of wind could produce a conflagaration with all the dry fuel we have.

    Many are a bit on edge a bit, but so far, all's quiet on the Western front, and there's not much to report. In my home, the kids are going to school and the adults are going to work today.

    In the outage areas, HF radios have great ability to hear with the reduced local noise.
    N4BC and KA9JLM like this.
  5. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I were in an area that is prone to (newly devised) power outrages, I'd have to invest in a back-up generator, for at least the most critical devices. (The refrigerator, and TV:)confused::D) being most critical. At least one lamp might be a nice luxury.

    Note: SOME people just LOVE to start rumors based on fake news. Pity.:(
  6. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Consume copious amounts of generously buttered popcorn and fan the flames of media hysteria over this.
    KK4GGL and AG5DB like this.
  8. KJ6ZOL

    KJ6ZOL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I will have to hook up my Baofeng and see what's going on on the local designated ARES repeaters. Sacramento city itself has a municipal power utility so they're saying it won't be affected. Power is out in suburban areas served by PG&E though, according to KFBK radio. Power is still on here at my QTH however there is always the worry of a tree falling on a line in the high winds, it has happened several times in high wind events.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not fake news, and PG&E is really doing this in some areas; all about risk reduction during high winds, since it was found that power line sparks and such really have caused major wildfires.

    I'm not from "up there" where this is happening, but I'll bet the power lines were there before so many trees grew up close to them; and if so (I'd almost guarantee it, in lots of places), tree management was lacking and stuff just grew and grew without ever being tended to. In the big Paradise fire which took several lives and almost leveled the entire town, people had homes with trees really close to them. Here our local fire department not only sends out notices pleading with people not to do that, but actually visits such homes when they see them to leave notices tacked to front doors: Clear your nearby trees and brush, or we'll be back to do it for you! And they do, and they don't do it for free. I think it's a $300 min charge for simple brush clearing, and can run into the thousands for major work. If you don't pay the bill, it becomes a tax lien that someone will eventually pay when the house is sold.

    Not much risk of our power here being cut, but this is the city and the risk for major wildfires spread by winds is lower.

    I can't believe some still plant Eucalyptus trees here. Damned things go up like dynamite when they get hit with fire -- I've actually seen them explode.
    WA7PRC, N0TZU and KX4O like this.
  10. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, generators have been flying off of hardware store shelves for months around here, since PG&E announced the policy.

    It seems to me that having hundreds of thousands of generators running presents more of a fire risk than the electrical grid that's being shut off for safety.

    But if a generator starts the next big fire, PG&E probably won't be liable, and that's what's important to those making the decision.
    K8MHZ likes this.

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