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2007-12-08
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HAM Radio Operators Recognized - Future in Jeopardy

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Tagged As: HAM and Legal

The recent storms plaguing the Northwestern United States were the root cause for massive amounts of infrastructure damage. When disasters like this strike, communication infrastructure is often the first to fail as power and telephone lines are knocked over by debris and cell towers are either over saturated with traffic or damaged. HAM Radio operators often step up and provide emergency communication relays for 911, Red Cross, FEMA and any agency needing to get in touch with distant parts of the action. For their efforts, Oregon's governor recognized amateur radio's contribution, "I'm going to tell you who the heroes were from the very beginning of this...the ham radio operators. These people just came in and actually provided a tremendous communication link to us."

While HAM Radio operators have participated in nearly every disaster from the Titanic through 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, their ability to stay on the air may soon come to an end. Broadband Powerline (BPL) initiatives have existed for awhile, but have been slow to take off in application. Part of that delay is due to lobbying from amateur radio groups to preserve the high frequency spectrum which would be swamped by interference from BPL. The matter has been proven to the FCC which takes the issue seriously as other services, to include shortwave and low-band VHF, will be impacted. Many federal and local government services to include ambulance and fire department dispatch use these frequencies.



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