Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 2, 2009
County and local amateur HAMS conduct emergency training exercise
Kane County decided the Western Legend weekend would be an excellent opportunity to conduct an emergency training exercise. In the past the county has experienced fiber optic breakdowns where phones lines could not be used. Police frequencies were in place, but the county did not want to overburden those lines.
In this type of emergency, the amateur radio operators can become active as communication volunteers through out Kane County.
Alan Alldredge the Kane County Emergency Manager, conducted this exercise with the assistance of Robert “Bob” Craven, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security stationed in Salt Lake City, Ron Mosher, Southwest Region Division of Homeland Security, along with many of the volunteers from the Kane County Amateur “HAM” Radio Operators Club.
In case of a disaster or an emergency event, the district court in the Kane County Courthouse will become the operations/command center for the entire county. The courtroom will be the central location where the elected officials will meet.
The room is equipped with phones, radio equipment, and Internet capabilities, some of which are concealed in the ceiling. There will be antennas installed on the courthouse roof.
Alldredge stated the county was able to purchase the equipment through a grant process.
As part of the exercise, an attempt will be made to establish communications with Salt Lake City. In the event of a disaster, they could assign the National Guard to the Kane County area. Major Joaquin Mixco of Draper acted as the liaison for the Triple Duce National Guard out of Cedar City.
The county has a Sheriff’s County Mobile Command Unit that is ready to be used in case of the emergencies.
During this exercise, the “HAM” radio operators will be assigned to different locations within the county depending on their radio capabilities/frequencies, (VHF) very high frequency or low frequency (HF).
They will drive to Glendale, Orderville, Alton, Cedar Mountain, Duck Creek and Big Water, and be stationed at a pre- selected designation indicating what frequency they need to use. Mapping and documentation will be used for future reference.
Alldredge explained the amateur radio repeater. It is a device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances. There is a shortage of repeaters in this area.
The “HAM” Radio Operators are licensed with the Federal Communications Commission. The operators are assigned a call sign with a unique identity that is used when transmitting. The word “amateur” simply means they don’t make any profit from their efforts.
The “amateurs” provide their own equipment; some build their own out of old radio parts, etc. Membership is open to anyone interested in serving the community. Contact Club President Joyce Ross or Secretary Earl Decker.
Alldredge commented the training exercise was beneficial in pointing out areas in the program that could be improved.
There will be another exercise on September 26 at the high school.