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Amber Silver Alert Net ProgramĀ© (ASAP)

Created by Brent Boydston, KF5THB on 2023-03-20

Your phone "goes off" at 0200 hours, rudely awakening you just in time to cut short a dream about a day on the lake with some old friends. You gaze blearily at the screen in your fogging headed effort to decide who or what should be cursed to blazes. "Oh, another Amber Alert!", you think. Then, "Like at 0200, who is going to start driving the streets looking for the missing kid of the week." Then again, maybe you!?!

In Texas, 2022, there were 262 "missing people alerts". Most states have at the least an AMBER alert program; Texas, not to be outdone by anyone, has six categories which cover missing kids, seniors, military, the generally endangered and those who threaten Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). Not quite 1 per day but about 5 a week. Luckily your phone doesn’t blow up for every alert. You sigh and yawn. You think, “Shouldn’t someone do something about this?”

Yes, Amateur Radio Operators should.

It is clear that the need is real and that it is constant. How could we conceivably make any difference? Would that even be possible?

We have the numbers. Texas has about 54,000 hams. If 10% participated in just one-of-each of these cases then we’d add about twenty pairs of eyes, radios and a significant amount of attention to each search event. (Think what it would mean to a family just to know that ham radio operators were actively conducting a "search net"; out looking for their child. Would this make the news? You bet it would.)  The same is true for you, your group and your State!

We have the time. Listen in on your local nets and repeaters; most hams just talk about the weather (though some go out and spot it), their declining health and numbers and some gripe about politics. Am I right? Of course, I’m right!

Do you and your club want to give back to the community in a significant way? Is preparing for a calamity just a bit to abstract or ‘in the future” to keep your interest. Is passing traffic that doesn’t really have any real sense of urgency or purpose, getting somewhat tedious? Then I ask, what could be more significant than someone’s missing child, or their grand parent who’s wandered (this is the term, 'wandering') off from the nursing home? How about passing traffic from field deployed amateur operators to local law enforcement about the status and progress of an AMBER alert search team? Do you want "Real" ? For a family, searching for their lost grandparent or child, this is the very definition of Real; the need is almost every day.

Here in NTX, we’ve kicked off the ASAP. You don’t have to be from Texas (but it helps). It is just as relevant a subject/need in your state. Stop by our various pages. We’re posting net procedure, template logs, guidance, instructions and doctrine online.

Lastly.  Do you want to know the answer to how you get "young people" involved in ham radio; the answer is be relevant. Relevant means to "have a significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand." That is to say, we need to influence, effect change, improve, and better the world around us. If not this, then find some other way to make a meaningful, positive difference.

Brent Boydston, KF5THB