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Author Topic: LDS Emergency Radio "ERC" Nets  (Read 122837 times)
KF7VXA
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Posts: 568




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« on: January 23, 2015, 10:44:04 PM »

The area I live in has a large LDS population. The LDS Church has been having a huge push to get their church members licensed as Ham Radio Operators for their "ERC" Net (Emergency Radio Communications). Their primary function is to keep church officials informed, checking on their churches, store houses and church members and then getting and organizing any help needed.
From what I hear, there is a nation wide push for the "ERC" nets.
Many of the newly licensed amateurs are also getting involved in ARES/Races. A good number will just choose to be involved in church related activity, others are intent on doing both.
I'm not LDS, but do work with the people in their ERC net. While their priority's may be more church oriented, many will also help with Ares/Races.
This is something that they are spreading from area to area, not just in my part of the world.
They hold weekend training sessions in all types of amateur type communications, mainly voice and digital.
They have got a large number of people here licensed. Most get their Tech and/or General licenses, but some have also formed GMRS nets with the help of a couple very good GMRS repeaters. Most of the people who have got their amateur licenses also get their GMRS licenses.
Our radio club group is putting up a new Yaesu Fusion repeater next to the other existing repeaters as the others are owned by people in the LDS church and we want to be sure to have our own repeater for club business as well as Ares/Races use.
Many areas have multiple repeaters, owned by a variety of people or Ares/Races/Clubs. In our case, most are operated by LDS church members, so we wanted to insure we had a separate repeater for just our club and Ares/Races.
If you are in a smaller area, it may be a good idea to find out who has control of your local repeaters as one's owed by LDS church members may be used in emergency's for church business and having to share could cause problems.
We have a good working relationship with the ERC net, which I feel benefits all. They have been very receptive to people who are not church members.
Our ARES/Races groups have seen this as an opportunity to have additional help if the time comes when it may be needed.
There is cooperation between both groups.
Although their main mission may be the Church as a whole, many will also be an asset if needed to the Ares/Races nets.
They hold training after their weekly nets to try and get their people trained in handling emergency nets.
I have seen a mix of some who are licensed and not really quite up to speed on EMCOMM, but many others are.
If you have a LDS "ERC" net in your area, it might be worth seeing if they could be an asset to your Ares/Races groups.
There is no formal agreement between the two groups, and each area will have to judge if the two groups will be an asset to each other.
Just something to know and think about.

73's John
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 10:50:27 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
KB4QAA
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Posts: 3260




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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 05:21:08 PM »

Your post is almost unreadable.  It appears in a scrolling window that is smaller than the height of a single line.

Are you using some program for text editing/composing other than the native eHam program?
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WA7SGS
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Posts: 68




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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 07:29:29 PM »

Your post is almost unreadable.  It appears in a scrolling window that is smaller than the height of a single line.

Are you using some program for text editing/composing other than the native eHam program?

It reads fine for me.  I use Win7 and the latest version of IE. 

Glad to see more folks, especially those as organized as the LDS, are getting into emcomm.  The more the merrier!

Rick
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KF7VXA
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 08:33:20 PM »

The "ERC" program has been adding a lot of new hams to the rolls. Most seem to be in their 40's or 50's, some older, but some younger one's are getting involved also. With the median age of a radio amateur well into the 60's, we need to add all the younger crowd we can.
John
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K5BBC
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 08:52:08 AM »

Your post is almost unreadable.  It appears in a scrolling window that is smaller than the height of a single line.

Are you using some program for text editing/composing other than the native eHam program?

Mac OS X and Safari.  Seeing it fine.
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KB8VUL
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 03:31:13 AM »

Yet another way that people are taking HOBBY radio and using it for semi commercial purposes. 
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NW7N
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 11:16:29 AM »

I don't like these nets. I was born and raised in a large Mormon community/city and was not Mormon. After I got my Tech license I checked into one of their 'nets'. I checked in, not familiar with what the net was all about at the time and just wanted to listen and was told I needed to vacate the frequency since I was not Mormon.

Frankly, I stay away and do not support their use of amateur frequencies for religious purposes.
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 12:21:10 PM »

Exactly, they should not be using it for 'church business'.

Some hams may remember in the  late 70's and early 80's our HF ham bands were burdened with churches and missionaries running phone patches and ordering supplies, and other daily businesses matters.  It took years but he FCC finally shut them down.

Unfortunately the FCC opened the door again after the ARRL whipped up the 'EmCom" fever. 
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KF7VXA
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 03:12:50 PM »

Having started this post, it was done to let other hams know of the LDS Nets. In our area, they will cooperate with non LDS, but of course, their primary mission is "Church Business"
Other areas may find them closed to non LDS members.
I want to be sure this does not become a bashing thread. I have my beliefs that greatly differ with the LDS, but in the end, the good Lord will decide who was right; I don't mix the religion with radio.
They run the nets just like an Ares/Races net, the things they will actually do are done behind the scenes (at least here). No mention of their mission is mentioned over and above a regular Ares/Races type net.
I also have some concerns that the LDS church is using the waves for Church Business.
In our area, people on the LDS nets will be an outside source to the ARES/RACES nets in a wide spread emergency, but our Ares/Races group does not view them as a part of Ares/Races (though many are also Ares/Races members). They are another resource.
Being in a rural area, people tend to help each other more than in urban areas, we are on our own much more than those with massive emergency services near by.
This is why I brought up to check and see who owns or are in charge of the repeaters in your area. Basically almost all local repeaters are owned by LDS church members. It is also why we have a separate repeater, owned by our local radio club for Public, Club and Ares/Races use.
At this time, Ares/Races nets are held on many LDS member owned repeaters with zero problems.

I guess the bottom line is that in our area, they are here unless the FCC shuts them down.
In an emergency (in our area), I have no doubt knowing many of the LDS net members, that many would help when needed.
We would do the same within the bounds of FCC rules / Ares/Races, and many will do duel duty within the ERC nets and Races nets.
The problem is, will the people who own the repeaters cooperate in an emergency. It could be a conflict of interest if repeaters were to be used for church business, not to mention a violation of FCC rules. In an emergency, it would be hard to operate a continuous Ares/Races net if the people who own the repeaters want the ERC net to be on the air at the same time.
Many of the LDS people in our area who have become licensed only operate on VHF/UHF and only check into the ERC nets. Others (a much fewer number) are very interested in the broader hobby of Amateur radio.
The fact that many of the LDS church members only operate under the umbrella of the ERC nets shows the ERC nets to be more "Business" than hobby use, though many also operate as a part of the amateur radio community.
In our area, the repeaters are very much under used. There have not been any problems or conflicts. I can't speak for other places.
I don't condone the use of the air waves for Business, either commercial or religious business, but for now, it's here.
The ERC nets could be an asset or become a problem in an emergency.
I'm not trying to sway anyone, just present the facts. In my view, the ERC nets fall under the guise of "Business". But they are not going away unless the FCC puts a stop to them. An "Us and Them" attitude would only create problems. One can view them as a possible asset, something that should not be allowed to exist, or ignore them.
The ERC nets in my area do not discuss "Church Business". That said, in a real emergency, all bets are off.
73's John
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 03:20:13 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
AI6JA
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2015, 03:54:52 PM »

LDS perspective here.  We run an ERC net on simplex on Sunday afternoons in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Many of our hams are also part of the local ARES/RACES and enjoy the hobby outside of emergency communications.  I'm one of those.

I'm sorry some of you were told to "bug off" a ERC net since you weren't Mormon.  That is certainly not in the spirit of ham radio or Christian behavior and it surprises me that anyone would do it.  I know that for our net, we would love it if others from the community joined us.  Our net script includes an invitation for "visitors", similar to a weekly club net.  We don't want to be preachy (gospel conversation rarely comes up), but we do want to expand our reach in event of an emergency.  I always invite people to join our nets, but in over a year, I have yet to have any non-LDS people take me up on the invite.

Also, I don't see how this is business use.  We have no pecuniary interest.  We just want a way to check and see if people are safe.

To be fair, we could do a better job of reaching out to the ham community, and be better involved with our local clubs and ARES/RACES groups.  But it's not as if we are not approachable.  If you are in the East Bay, come join us on 147.495 simplex.  Sunday afternoons at 5 pm and Sunday evenings at 8:45pm  We would be happy to hear you.
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W6EM
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015, 04:33:31 PM »

The Red Cross must have had similar issues.  That being said, I seem to recall that "official" Red Cross business is conducted on assigned RC commerical frequencies.  OTOH, there is all manner of volunteer amateur participation in support of RC health and welfare operations during bonafide disaster deployments.

It seems to me that any volunteer group, performing health and welfare work during disasters, or practicing to do that, can and should use amateurs and amateur radio as part of their programs.

During Hurricane Charlie in central Florida, I know for a fact that the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization used amateur radio widely to coordinate with other volunteer organizations.

We should encourage participation by volunteer groups from any and all sources.  When disasters strike, there is no guarantee that sufficient numbers will be available to meet the needs in a given area, or that those anxious to help can get there to meet the need.
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KF7VXA
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2015, 07:53:11 PM »

The Red Cross must have had similar issues.  That being said, I seem to recall that "official" Red Cross business is conducted on assigned RC commercial frequencies.  OTOH, there is all manner of volunteer amateur participation in support of RC health and welfare operations during bonafide disaster deployments.

It seems to me that any volunteer group, performing health and welfare work during disasters, or practicing to do that, can and should use amateurs and amateur radio as part of their programs.

During Hurricane Charlie in central Florida, I know for a fact that the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization used amateur radio widely to coordinate with other volunteer organizations.

We should encourage participation by volunteer groups from any and all sources.  When disasters strike, there is no guarantee that sufficient numbers will be available to meet the needs in a given area, or that those anxious to help can get there to meet the need.

I agree for the most part but, the LDS mission is to keep church leaders informed, insure the integrity of the Stakes (church buildings), storehouses and church members. I have no doubt that the church would help others as well, but that is the main mission. I have not seen anything about working with other relief agencies such as the Red Cross etc. Not that they would not, it is just something I have not herd in their mission. I can't say that I'm privy to all the intents though. Knowing the people in our area, they would help all, but the things mentioned are the top priorities. I do know the ERC worked with the local Emergency Operations Center during a rain induced flood this last year and were a big help in identifying problem areas.
Our local Ares/Races group think the ERC could be a resource for us, and vice versa. My only real concern is the use of the repeaters in our area. In a disaster, sharing 2 nets on one repeater could be problematic. It is for that reason another repeater was put up by our local radio club. I say put up, it is, but we are still waiting for better weather (less snow) on the mountain top so we can get the antenna up. We all went in on a Yeasu Fusion repeater. Registered ARRL clubs can get them for about $500.00 from Yaesu. It has to be a full club with bi laws, elected officials etc.
The people on the local ERC nets have been very hospitable, including anyone who wanted to come to a weekend training class where different aspects of radio were taught. Digital, VHF, HF and other classes. They were good beginner classes to get people up to speed on what modes are available and how to operate with different modes.
As stated, my only real concern is available repeaters for two nets. I have more than a few friends who are part of the ERC net and many are also part of the Ares/Races net. If run true to the mission statements I've been told of, it could possibly seen as being a "Business" for lack of a better word. That is not to say that they would not be an asset, but if one goes strictly by FCC rules, it could be a conflict. I don't see it that way, but things could be different depending on the area you are in.
Re: Other post- Glad to hear you are reaching out to others in the SF area. I think if the nets are run as emergency nets and do not involve religion, it's fine. That is how they are run here.
I just want to insure that there are not two nets trying to handle things on one repeater. I think all can work together in an emergency, and in the rural areas, we need all the help we can get.
To me, it's not the Church or group you belong to in an emergency, it's about helping people and communities in the most efficient way possible. I may not be LDS, but I have a lot of respect for the many LDS people I have met through amateur radio.
I really want to see this be a positive thing, and it can be if handled correctly. We do need all the trained operators possible.
73's John
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 08:31:16 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
KB4QAA
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2015, 12:27:54 PM »

The areas of concern which violate the spirit and intent of the regs have been mentioned above:

-Maintaining communications among the Stake
-Keep leaders informed
-Checking on church buildings.

These are all routine business of the church.  Ham radio is not the appropriate place for them.  The church should not be using ham radio as their planned normal method for conducting this business.  They need to purchase commercial radio and obtain commercial licenses.
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AI6JA
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2015, 01:25:09 PM »

The areas of concern which violate the spirit and intent of the regs have been mentioned above:

-Maintaining communications among the Stake
-Keep leaders informed
-Checking on church buildings.

These are all routine business of the church.  Ham radio is not the appropriate place for them.  The church should not be using ham radio as their planned normal method for conducting this business.  They need to purchase commercial radio and obtain commercial licenses.

In that case, how about city sponsored CERT teams?  They use ham radio to:

- Maintain communications within the City
- Keep city leaders informed
- Check on city buildings

By your criteria, CERT teams should also have commercial radios and a commercial license.  While the city services, such as police and fire do, our city's CERT team does not.  I guess they are in violation of the spirit and intent as well.

What this boils down to is this; a body of volunteers, without pecuniary interest, is willing to provide their time and talents to help the community in a disaster.  That's a good thing, right?
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WA7NDD
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 05:00:01 PM »

Here in Jefferson County Idaho, the Sheriff and County Commissioners, have asked the LDS ERC hams to be part of their emergency communications for the county. Not enough county people to have eyes on everything during and emergency. The county along with Home Land Security conduct two exercises a year with LDS ERC hams an important part of the exercise for the last two years. The last two summers an ERC convention has taken place at BYU-Idaho with more the 400 hams in attendance from many states and Canada. I use to be one of a very few hams in the area. There are at least 20 less then a mile of my house now because of the LDS ERC Nets. Yes, I am LDS. A few of us have already been involved in a huge emergency, the Teton Dam brake and flood June 5, 1976.
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