Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From the CQ Magazine news desk

This appears courtesy of Rich Moseson W2VU, editor of CQ magazine:

FCC Katrina Panel Recognizes Hams' Contributions:

The role of amateur radio operators in the response to Hurricane Katrina was recognized by the FCC"s "Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks." The panel's final report to the Commission on June 12, included a paragraph on the Amateur Radio Service, which stated:

"11. Amateur Radio Service. As with other commuinications services, amateur radio stations were also adversely affected by Katrina. Equipment was damaged or lost due to the storm and trained amateurs were difficult to find in the immediate aftermath. However, once called into help, amateur radio operators volunteered to support many agencies, such as FEMA, the National Weather Service, Hurricane Watch and the American Red Cross. Amateurs provided wireless communications in many locations where there was no other means of communicating and also provided other technical aid to the communities affected by Katrina."

Among the panel's many recommendations was one that, in a disaster, any restrictive amateur radio rules be waived in order to permit any "transmissions necessary to meet essential communications needs."

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on June 19, seeking comment on the panel's recommendation. EB Docket No. 06-119 may be accessed on the FCC website at <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs public/attachmatch/FCC-06-83A1.pdf> Note that the NPRM is 82 pages long and includes the entire report of the Independent Panel. Comments will be due 60 days after publication of the Notice inb the Federal Register, and my be filed online using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at <http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/ecfs/Upload/>. Be sure to reference the docket number above.

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Two things I'd like to mention here. First off, we amateur radio operators have a terriffic friend in Rich Moseson W2VU. Yeah, I know that as editor of CQ Magazine that Rich has a vested interest to see amateur radio thrive and do well. But I know him personally and I can honestly say, without reservation, that this man loves amateur radio and will do whatever he can to promote us and our hobby. If you read his editorials in CQ Magazine, you will often see his opinions as the "common sense" side of things in many emotionally charged issues.

Secondly, if there's anyone out there who thinks that public service and public service communications are a waste of time and go unnoticed - all I have to say is: "Bunk !!!" This is what amateur radio is all about, in the end. It's about using our time and talents to help our neighbors, our country and our fellow man whenever the chips are down.

So, if you've been thinking that you'd like to get involved; but think it's too difficult then think again. There are a multitude of things you can do and things you can get involved in. Too many in fact to post here without doing a little research first. But you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll see more on this from me in a further post.

IMHO, public service communications may be the salvation of the Amateur Radio Service.

73 de Larry W2LJ

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