Get Prepared . . . Get Licensed . . . Become an Amateur (Ham) Radio Operator!

Are you and your family prepared for the big earthquake (7.8 magnitude or greater) that scientists tell us will inevitably occur when the southern San Andreas Fault ruptures?

The current “swarm” of earthquakes occurring around the Bombay Beach area of the Salton Sea in California have scientists questioning whether or not the “Big One” may be just around the corner —especially since this area has not experienced a major seismic eruption for around 300 years.

Ironically, on November 13, 2008, the Bombay Beach area served as the hypothetical epicenter for the Great Southern California Shakeout that was part of the Golden Guardian 2008 exercise to test the ability of emergency responders to deal with the impact of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. The exercise was a week-long series of public events jointly organized by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the California Office of Homeland Security.

Scientists and public officials have estimated that such an earthquake could cause as many as 2,000 deaths, 50,000 injuries, and $200 billion in unprecedented damage — not to mention other losses. To view a video simulation of the projected shaking that would occur during such an event, go to www.shakeout.org/scenario/.

Experts predict that during such a catastrophic event, most if not all forms of communications that we normally utilize may be inoperable. As an amateur (ham) radio operator, however, you and your family could still have communications because “hams” can operate independently without other communications infrastructure. By using the appropriate frequencies, hams can talk across town or around the world.

All amateur radio operators must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although amateur radio has become an international hobby with over 6 million “hams” around the world, the FCC originally created it as a “service” to fill the need for a pool of experts who could provide backup during emergencies. In addition, the FCC acknowledged the ability of the hobby to advance the communication and technical skills of radio, and to enhance international goodwill.

The first license available for amateur radio operators is called the Technician’s Class License. The next license is called the General Class License, followed by the Amateur Extra Class License. For information on each of these licenses and study materials, visit the Amateur Radio Relay League’s Web site at: http://www.arrl.org/es/instructor-resources/.

In the Coachella Valley, licensing classes and testing are sponsored periodically by the local amateur radio clubs. Testing is also sponsored (usually on a monthly basis) by the Riverside County Red Cross.

In March, the Desert Rats Club, under the leadership of its president, Peter Reinzuch, VE7REZ, held a Technician’s licensing class with over 40 students of all ages attending the 6 week course. At last reports, most of the students successfully passed the Technician’s Exam and obtained their “ticket” for operation. An upgrade class is planned to begin in May for those wanting to prepare for the General Class License.

Past Issues

Fall 2008 Issue

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and magnitudes
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right after they occur,
click here

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"The Science of
the Big One"

Dr. Lucy Jones
Chief Scientist
for the USGS

(works with Windows 2000 or higher)

Are you and your
family prepared for
the big earthquake?

Get Prepared,
Get Licensed,
Become an Amateur
Radio Operator
(more info)

See the article:
Amateur Radio When All Else Fails
by: Hugh Paul

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