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Cover Page Mike Scott, Director September 20, 2007 Galveston County Emergency Communications Group (GCECG)

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Presentation on theme: "Cover Page Mike Scott, Director September 20, 2007 Galveston County Emergency Communications Group (GCECG)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cover Page Mike Scott, Director September 20, 2007 Galveston County Emergency Communications Group (GCECG)

2 Amateur Radio What is Amateur (or “ham”) Radio? A service that uses various types of radio communications for public service, recreation, and self-training Volunteer, non-paid per FCC Part 97 Amateur radio operators are licensed by the FCC Must pass a test to obtain one of three license classes Each radio operator is issued a unique callsign All callsigns have specific attributes World/US region (N, K, W, AA-AL), structure (2x2, 1x3, etc.) Amateur radio operators are often proficient in: Emergency Power Mobile/Field Communications It is often an amateur radio operator on the air first after a disaster

3 Major Amateur Radio Organizations Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Est. 1952 as part of the Amateur Radio Service Civil preparedness during periods of emergency Administered by local, county, and state emergency management agencies Supported by FEMA Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Emergency communications Support on a state and local level “Net” operation – a coordinated exchange on a frequency Skywarn Spotters provide data to the National Weather Service Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS) DOD sponsored program – auxiliary military comm

4 Groups In or Near Galveston County JSC Amateur Radio Club Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club Tidelands Amateur Radio Society Pearland Amateur Radio Club GCECG Pasadena Amateur Radio Club There are about 900 hams in Galveston County Amateur Radio and Galveston County

5 Types of Amateur Radio Communication High Frequency - HF (also known as short wave) “skip” off upper atmosphere to talk great distances VHF and UHF Voice Point-to-point or use of repeaters which retransmit the signal Typical range: 50 miles using a repeater Repeaters can be “networked” such as Saltgrass or Armadillo systems in Texas. Allows statewide communication. Packet/Airmail Send digital data via radio as an alternative to internet/e-mail Amateur Television (slow scan TV) Morse Code - CW Easier to hear when a low signal is present (used mostly on HF) Amateur Satellites, Shuttle, and International Space Station Some amateur radio groups build their own satellites (AMSAT) Half of all astronauts are amateur radio operators and routinely operate from orbit Earth-Moon-Earth (moonbounce) Talking to other amateur radio operators by bouncing a signal off the moon

6 Repeater Networking The Armadillo Intertie Network Armadillo repeaters are linked by microwave. No internet or PSTN lines are required.

7 Galveston County Office of Emergency Management resides at FM 646 near IH-45 in League City Amateur Radio is used when other modes of communication are inoperable or overloaded Amateur Radio relies very little on existing infrastructure Communications between city EOC’s, County EOC, and State (DPS) level GCECG is comprised almost exclusively of amateur radio operators, about 50 members at this time At least 2 GCECG personnel in County EOC radio room at all times during an event Capability: VHF Voice, UHF Voice, HF Voice/CW, Packet/Airmail 10 ham radio antennas on tower, ranging from 60’ to 180’ level Personnel to support City EOC’s (if needed) GCECG Supports Galveston County OEM

8 County EOC, WR5GC Austin SOC Houston DDC City EOC’s Bayou Vista Dickinson Friendswood Galveston Hitchcock Jamaica Beach Kemah La Marque League City Santa Fe Texas City Tiki Island N Brazoria County HF 7.285, 3.975 Armadillo 443.650 Saltgrass 149.920, 443.825 Communication with city EOC’s 147.140/167.9 Primary VHF 145.410/131.8 Alternate VHF 442.225/131.8 Primary UHF 145.050 Airmail (if available) Note: All frequencies are local to Houston. All frequencies in MHz. OPS Plan (Frequency dependent on DDC requirement)

9 Conclusions The Amateur Radio Service is a valuable asset to Emergency Management Low dependence on infrastructure Near 100% geographic repeater coverage in Galveston County On the air within minutes of a disaster Motivated volunteers Technically competent individuals Mobile capability Hams have their own radios, antennas and power

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