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Author Topic: LDS Emergency Radio "ERC" Nets  (Read 121716 times)
GREGWTH7MMMAG
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2015, 09:56:48 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.
It sounds more like you take issue with the church itself, or religion in general, rather than there being some violation.  The LDS is a church organization, and is tax exempt, correct?  Therefore they are not in business to generate a profit, solicit sales, etc, correct?  They are practicing what to do in the event of an emergency, which because of the nature of their church, would make necessary the need to check on buildings, etc.  Why?  Because they have emergency food stores, and other rations that would be important in an emergency.  They are likely better prepared for a crisis than FEMA is.  So if it is ok for ARES and RACES to conduct on air practice drills etc, how is it not appropriate for the church to do the same thing?  If one chooses to self interpret what the "spirit of the regs" means, you start a slippery path down a trail that you may not like in the end.  One could say, based on the regs, that there are other means to communicate than ham radio, so therefore we should just eliminate ham radio. 
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KD0PWN
KS4VT
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Posts: 165




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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 01:05:40 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.
It sounds more like you take issue with the church itself, or religion in general, rather than there being some violation.  The LDS is a church organization, and is tax exempt, correct?  Therefore they are not in business to generate a profit, solicit sales, etc, correct?  They are practicing what to do in the event of an emergency, which because of the nature of their church, would make necessary the need to check on buildings, etc.  Why?  Because they have emergency food stores, and other rations that would be important in an emergency.  They are likely better prepared for a crisis than FEMA is.  So if it is ok for ARES and RACES to conduct on air practice drills etc, how is it not appropriate for the church to do the same thing?  If one chooses to self interpret what the "spirit of the regs" means, you start a slippery path down a trail that you may not like in the end.  One could say, based on the regs, that there are other means to communicate than ham radio, so therefore we should just eliminate ham radio.  

But they are still business and like my HOA that is also "not for profit" and does not solicit sales, etc. use Part 90 equipment for their regular business and also practice emergency communications.  I'm with KB4QAA, they need to be using commercial equipment to include paying $300.00 for the appropriate license and at that point anyone in their organization can utilize the radio, to include any volunteers they want to allow.

If they have someone that has an amateur license amongst their ranks that they can utilize to communicate to the outside their organization that is perfectly OK, but using it for inside coordination and operations is a no-no.

Also they clearly fit the Part 90 rules as noted below:

§90.31   Scope.

The Industrial/Business Radio Pool covers the licensing of the radio communications of entities engaged in commercial activities, engaged in clergy activities, operating educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions, or operating hospitals, clinics, or medical associations. Rules as to eligibility for licensing, frequencies available, permissible communications and classes and number of stations, and any special requirements are set forth in the following sections.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=62809a9575e00b548f516abeed2a7521&node=se47.5.90_131&rgn=div8
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KF7VXA
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2015, 07:14:52 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.
It sounds more like you take issue with the church itself, or religion in general, rather than there being some violation.  The LDS is a church organization, and is tax exempt, correct?  Therefore they are not in business to generate a profit, solicit sales, etc, correct?  They are practicing what to do in the event of an emergency, which because of the nature of their church, would make necessary the need to check on buildings, etc.  Why?  Because they have emergency food stores, and other rations that would be important in an emergency.  They are likely better prepared for a crisis than FEMA is.  So if it is ok for ARES and RACES to conduct on air practice drills etc, how is it not appropriate for the church to do the same thing?  If one chooses to self interpret what the "spirit of the regs" means, you start a slippery path down a trail that you may not like in the end.  One could say, based on the regs, that there are other means to communicate than ham radio, so therefore we should just eliminate ham radio.  

Here is a question, What if every church organization and non profit decided to do the same thing as the ERC Nets ? Would it be a good thing or a bad thing ? I'll let you decide.
Would it not be better to have church members just join Ares/Races rather than having a separate net that competes for time on the available repeaters ?
I'm really glad to have all the additional amateur emergency operators. I know in my area they would do a great deal to help in an emergency.
I also understand the staying prepared part of the LDS church and have zero problems with their stance.
Reading the that Homeland Security has approved, shared, directed emergency exercises with the ERC makes me think there could be some conflict of interest. In an area where the ERC net is far larger than the Ares/Races nets, where is the line drawn between emergency services for all on a strictly need basis vs. emergency services for LDS affiliated interests first and the rest is 2nd position ? This is not what EMCOMM is set up as or for. This is why we have Ares/Races/Mars nets.
The number of people who only are on the Ares/Races nets in our area is small compared to the number of amateurs brought to the hobby by the LDS church here. So now the ERC is the largest emergency net in our area. The Ares/Races nets have grown as a result of the ERC trained operators with a good number wearing both hats.
The ERC Nets are in place. They have good people in charge of them, I guess I'd just rather see a push towards Ares/Races for emergency support and response and a Part 90 communication system for the church elders, store houses and stakes as well as any other no profit for their business, not just the LDS church.
There is a need for EMCOMM, but if every non profit set up their own nets, it would quickly overload repeaters and simplex frequencies in a real emergency. The ARRL has had a huge push for EMCOMM, but too much of a good thing can be bad.

This is not an attack on the LDS church. Their be prepared stance is a good one.
I think that someone checking on churches (of all faiths) is a great idea. Churches make a great emergency shelter and many also have aid programs and storage. There is no reason that in a big emergency, any non profit that can be counted on for support could not have their resources directed through Ares/ Races nets, by the Ares/Races net. That evens the playing field and allows for one net per repeater/simplex frequency and don't forget that simplex frequency's are heavily used in a real emergency to help keep traffic down on the main net.
John
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 07:25:29 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
AE5J
Member

Posts: 94




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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2015, 10:13:32 PM »

I really have no interest in this issue other than to reply to the assumption that a church is a business. Webster defines the word this way:

: the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money

: work that is part of a job

: the amount of activity that is done by a store, company, factory, etc.

If you peruse the unabridged dictionary about the term, you will discover that even organizations like RACES fit the definition of a business. So do most of the activities that we frequently undertake in our everyday lives. I am not on the FCC, of course, but I suspect they might hold to a more classic definition such as the short one above. I agree that having a separate network for all such organizations would not be wise in an emergency. Probably better to work through one of the established Amateur networks.
73
Pete

BTW an HOA, while it may be non-profit, fits the description of providing services for money - dues for regulations. Many non- profits are the same. Business is not determined by profit or loss.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 10:19:30 PM by AE5J » Logged
KS4VT
Member

Posts: 165




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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2015, 07:01:52 AM »

  The ARRL has had a huge push for EMCOMM, but too much of a good thing can be bad.

EmComm no longer exists at the ARRL per a recent article in QST that is not on their website:

Effective immediately the League has discontinued use of the term EmComm and now refers to the communications support given to government, NGO's, and the public as Public Service Communications. Even the Leagues former "Emergency Communications Courses are being re-branded as public service courses.

http://www.arrl.org/ares

They "claim" that what amateur radio is providing is not emergency communications, which is actually being provided by entities like 911 PSAP's (Public Safety Answering Points) and there is some "confusion", but a number of us locally believe it is due to another reason that was generated locally.
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W6EM
Member

Posts: 1666




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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2015, 07:15:51 AM »

I said this before, but I'll say it again.  The Red Cross example fits this perfectly.  RC has commercial radios, licenses and frequencies under Part 90.  And, RC uses amateur radio to coordinate during emergencies.  It is important to separate "business" even though not-for-profit from non-business activities such as shelter to shelter or to other amateurs during an actual crisis.

No one needs to point out the justification for things like checking the condition of business assets such as church buildings, but that is clearly a function of the business side, not the operation in a crisis to help the community at large.

Perhaps the FCC should hear of this via a request for a finding by Ms. Smith of the Enforcement Bureau.  At least she could separate any misunderstandings in where to draw the line.

We can sit here and offer our own interpretations, but she could offer an opinion that would be useful in clarifying this and preventing otherwise unfortunate consequences.

It goes without saying that Part 90 radios would cost several fold more than amateur gear on a piece by piece basis.  There's probably something to be said for that motivation as well.
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KG7KVH
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2015, 09:29:00 AM »

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 my limited experience, and according to direction I have read, these things are only done on the ERC nets during emergencies.  Otherwise they are done by more widely used means.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 09:33:21 AM by KG7KVH » Logged
GREGWTH7MMMAG
Member

Posts: 45




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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 09:43:28 AM »

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.
It sounds more like you take issue with the church itself, or religion in general, rather than there being some violation.  The LDS is a church organization, and is tax exempt, correct?  Therefore they are not in business to generate a profit, solicit sales, etc, correct?  They are practicing what to do in the event of an emergency, which because of the nature of their church, would make necessary the need to check on buildings, etc.  Why?  Because they have emergency food stores, and other rations that would be important in an emergency.  They are likely better prepared for a crisis than FEMA is.  So if it is ok for ARES and RACES to conduct on air practice drills etc, how is it not appropriate for the church to do the same thing?  If one chooses to self interpret what the "spirit of the regs" means, you start a slippery path down a trail that you may not like in the end.  One could say, based on the regs, that there are other means to communicate than ham radio, so therefore we should just eliminate ham radio.  

But they are still business and like my HOA that is also "not for profit" and does not solicit sales, etc. use Part 90 equipment for their regular business and also practice emergency communications.  I'm with KB4QAA, they need to be using commercial equipment to include paying $300.00 for the appropriate license and at that point anyone in their organization can utilize the radio, to include any volunteers they want to allow.

If they have someone that has an amateur license amongst their ranks that they can utilize to communicate to the outside their organization that is perfectly OK, but using it for inside coordination and operations is a no-no.

Also they clearly fit the Part 90 rules as noted below:

§90.31   Scope.

The Industrial/Business Radio Pool covers the licensing of the radio communications of entities engaged in commercial activities, engaged in clergy activities, operating educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions, or operating hospitals, clinics, or medical associations. Rules as to eligibility for licensing, frequencies available, permissible communications and classes and number of stations, and any special requirements are set forth in the following sections.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=62809a9575e00b548f516abeed2a7521&node=se47.5.90_131&rgn=div8

Are the LDS performing practice drills on the air, or they actually conducting business?  On the air every day, performing work duties is not the same thing as once a week, going thru the motions of an emergency drill.  By trying to make it all one and the same, you walk a slippery slope for ham radio as a whole.  Plenty of room for interpretation in a lot of the rules, enough to rule us out of service.  If we conduct all of our "business" elsewhere, then there will be no traffic on the bands.  
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KD0PWN
KS4VT
Member

Posts: 165




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 12:17:53 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.
It sounds more like you take issue with the church itself, or religion in general, rather than there being some violation.  The LDS is a church organization, and is tax exempt, correct?  Therefore they are not in business to generate a profit, solicit sales, etc, correct?  They are practicing what to do in the event of an emergency, which because of the nature of their church, would make necessary the need to check on buildings, etc.  Why?  Because they have emergency food stores, and other rations that would be important in an emergency.  They are likely better prepared for a crisis than FEMA is.  So if it is ok for ARES and RACES to conduct on air practice drills etc, how is it not appropriate for the church to do the same thing?  If one chooses to self interpret what the "spirit of the regs" means, you start a slippery path down a trail that you may not like in the end.  One could say, based on the regs, that there are other means to communicate than ham radio, so therefore we should just eliminate ham radio.  

But they are still business and like my HOA that is also "not for profit" and does not solicit sales, etc. use Part 90 equipment for their regular business and also practice emergency communications.  I'm with KB4QAA, they need to be using commercial equipment to include paying $300.00 for the appropriate license and at that point anyone in their organization can utilize the radio, to include any volunteers they want to allow.

If they have someone that has an amateur license amongst their ranks that they can utilize to communicate to the outside their organization that is perfectly OK, but using it for inside coordination and operations is a no-no.

Also they clearly fit the Part 90 rules as noted below:

§90.31   Scope.

The Industrial/Business Radio Pool covers the licensing of the radio communications of entities engaged in commercial activities, engaged in clergy activities, operating educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions, or operating hospitals, clinics, or medical associations. Rules as to eligibility for licensing, frequencies available, permissible communications and classes and number of stations, and any special requirements are set forth in the following sections.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=62809a9575e00b548f516abeed2a7521&node=se47.5.90_131&rgn=div8

Are the LDS performing practice drills on the air, or they actually conducting business?  On the air every day, performing work duties is not the same thing as once a week, going thru the motions of an emergency drill.  By trying to make it all one and the same, you walk a slippery slope for ham radio as a whole.  Plenty of room for interpretation in a lot of the rules, enough to rule us out of service.  If we conduct all of our "business" elsewhere, then there will be no traffic on the bands.  

Oh far from it....actually they are circumventing Part 97.113 where if they furnished their own Part 90 gear they could utilize it for both their normal business and doing a practice drill all on the same system and never touch the amateur radio spectrum.  Designed correctly they could assemble a system with the capabilities that could out perform amateur just by using DMR technologies that is very inexpensive and has a lot of capabilities. LDS is NOT THE SAVIOUR of amateur radio.  They are proposing to circumvent 97.113 by not utilizing their own money and resources to assemble their own communications system that can be multifunctional for all of their needs. 

By no means is this a slippery slope for amateur radio.  The FCC couldn't care less if they were there or not and this one organization not using amateur spectrum is not going to cause it to go away.

Now while this church is not a government entity, you need to read this froe FCC website...

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-2259A1.pdf

Transmissions by amateur stations participating in government disaster drills must comply with
all applicable amateur service rules. While the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary
noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency
communications, is one of the underlying principles of the amateur service,1 the amateur service is not an
emergency radio service.
(Emphasis added)
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KF7TKK
Member

Posts: 7




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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2015, 11:48:33 AM »

I received a phone call on Saturday from the local LDS missionaries who had questions about my Ham Radio.  Not sure what they are looking into, but I am the only Ham in this area after the others moved away due to the local economy.  I gave them my wife's name and callsign.  ;-)  Back during the 1993 flooding the LDS church was open to everyone as an emergency shelter, it is on top of a hill.  There was a Ham Radio station operating there, but he has moved away.  I guess I will find out their motivation soon enough.  Hopefully they are only planning in case of another disaster.

KF7TKK
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KB4QAA
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Posts: 3258




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« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2015, 03:20:07 PM »

All this has NOTHING to do with LDS as a religion.  It  would not matter if the Roman Catholics or Amish were doing this. 

To reiterate:

1.  Amateur radio is not to be used where other communications services  are available, e.g. telephone, cell, CB, MURS, GMRS, commercial radio.

2.  'Public service" is a recognized purpose of amateur radio.  Government agencies are public.  A church, i.e. LDS is a private organization and not public.

3.  Amateur radio is authorized for emergency communications for the immediate safeguarding of life or property.  Planning to use it for routine coordination and maintenance of contact is not an emergency.

4.  Nothing is preventing the LDS church renting or purchasing commercial equipment or services, or any of the other communications means listed above.
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KF7VXA
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2015, 05:34:20 PM »

Bottom line: If the LDS Church or any other organization is truly interested in Amateur Public Service (EMCOMM) radio, their members individually would be welcomed into Races/Ares ; This is where that type of service to the whole community should be placed.
Any organization interested in letting their Owners/leaders know of problems caused by an emergency situation, checking on private buildings, checking on employees/members and distribution or movement of supplies should do it with Part 90 radio's, not try to use the Amateur Radio Service for something it was never made for and that has laws against such use.
The Red Cross got rid of their "Amateur Only" vehicles some time ago. Their vehicles now have Part 90 as well as Amateur Radio equipment. This is the way to do it right.
No one thinks the LDS church should not be able to conduct "emergency" business, they should. But only using the correct service to do so.
We don't need two "Public Service" organizations trying to use a repeater, ergo; Ares/Races - LDS Emergency Radio Communications.
There is the issue of repeater ownership. If an individual from any organization/business owns a repeater, they can specify who uses it, therefore locking out the use by Ares/Races and specifying it's use just for their purpose.
If you are using a repeater for Ares/Races, do you know for sure it will still be yours to use for a Races Net in an emergency situation ?
There is not room for two ongoing nets on one repeater (or a series of local repeaters, all owed by people of the same organization/business).
This may not be an issue in many areas, but it sure is in ours, and maybe in your area also.
I may not be making any friends in the LDS community, and this is nothing against the LDS, but it's a fact that the LDS is working on getting hundreds of their members licensed and a part of the LDS ERC radio network, using Amateur Radio in every area of the country; it's a major push.
As stated, some LDS Members do duel duty and participate in both the Ares/Races and ERC nets. My question as it pertains to the Amateur Radio Service is why is there a need for two nets. Answer: there isn't.
Ares/Races is under the control of local, State and federal agency's as to the communication needed for Public Events or Emergency's. ERC Net is under control of the LDS Church. That is the major difference.
If I found out my Church Organization (or any other business or organization) was doing the same as the LDS Church, I'd fight just as hard to have it done right.

John
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 06:03:16 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
KF7CG
Member

Posts: 1192




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« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2015, 08:19:10 AM »

Simple answer to the ARES/RACES net question. Since "government" is involved in both of these, you can't pray on an ARES/RACES net without getting someones shorts in baunch.

KF7CG
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KC2QYM
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Posts: 860




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« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2015, 08:34:15 AM »

There are plenty of non profit organizations other than religious orders that can use amateur radio under the same guise.  The only legitimate use of amateur radio by non-profits is during times of declared emergencies/disasters or simulations where licensed amateurs associated with the non profit are engaged during the event.  After that, nets where you are engaged in regular 'business', church or otherwise does not fit into part 97 guidelines.  If the Red Cross uses licensed commercial radios for their regular business doesn't that say something to you?  An excuse that you're part of a church or non profit of any type and use amateur radio for non emergency activities is a 'fib' and not ethical under the rules.  Oh, specific non emergency amateur radio events such as field day and such are OK, no business is being conducted.  Someone stated that one of the posters must be anti church (Christian) to have presented his opinion on this.  Well that's just a baiting technique to try to put the person down and delegitimize his oposed opinion to the original poster of this thread. Ham radio is getting more and more out of control with EmComm used as an excuse by some organization to build their radio networks for non EmComm uses.  How about amateurs that do radio repairs and negotiate repair fees to others right on the air.  I here this crap all the time.  One can say that the repairer is doing fellow amateurs a service...yes he is but you can't negotiate prices on the air.  How about the guys that promote vitamins, food supplements, and the like during nets.  It's all pecuniary interests and no one has the sense to cut in and stop it.  That's why when you hear that ham radio has declined these are the contributing factors among other reasons why it's true.
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KA4NMA
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Posts: 518




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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2015, 01:44:53 PM »

The Southern Baptist Convention is the 3rd largest disaster relief organization.  I am a member of the NC Communication and Information team.  Our goal is to get the message through, by any means.  As such our communication trailer is equipped with a variety of communication systems including ham radio, cb radio (for truckers delivering supplies), frs/gmrs, local wifi (to set up a wi fi intranet system on site) , satellite phones and internet, RED Cross radio,  and business band equipment. To be a member, you need to be a ham and be trained every 3 years.  We do have a weekly ham radio net and a voip net each week. Southern Baptist have mutual aid agreements with the Red Cross and Salvation Army.  Southern Baptist have provided millions of meals, chain saw debris removal and rebuilding efforts for both local an national disaster.  All for free, without regard to any persons religion, race, etc.   As you can see, Southern Baptist does have part 90, business band equipment with the proper FCC license. Copies of all necessary licenses are on the communications trailer.  And you can see we want to get the message out, by any means necessary.

Randy Ka4nma
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