On January 10th of this year, KI6GOO posted a blog titled, “CQ-Calling All Hams- CQ.”

It starts out with the following paragraph: “This is KI6GOO calling all licensed amateur radio operators in the 94952, 94953, 94954 Zip Code areas. Doesn’t common sense tell us that we must be willing to step up to the plate and be ready to help our neighbors in light of the various natural disasters over the years, such as Hurricane Katrina and the recent emergency in Haiti, when thousands of people were left on their own for 72 hours or longer, and often without any one of the regular communication systems operating?”

Just last month,“Emergency Management” magazine acknowledged the fact the “Amateur Radio Operators Provide a Critical Communications Link During Emergencies.”  Here are a few significant statements from that article:

In the aftermath of a disaster, amateur radio operators are often the first to report what happened to emergency managers so they can start formulating a response.

Communities countrywide have signature large-scale events like state fairs, marathons and food festivals during which radio operators can work with public safety personnel so that departments can maximize their resources. (Sonoma County hams also volunteer for parades, bike races, and air shows.)

Many people participate in RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service), ACS (Auxiliary Communication Services), and/or ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), but the main difference is that ARES members may provide emergency communications before an emergency has been officially declared, while RACES and ACS operators, which are registered with state, county, or local governments, are activated after an emergency declaration. In Sonoma County, ACS members may operate local emergency operation centers (EOCs).

About 156,000 amateur radio operators are ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) members. One of the best way for these ham operators to connect with local responders is to participate in their local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Over the past four years, CERT graduates in Sonoma County have been offered opportunities to earn their amateur radio licenses from the FCC.

One of the purposes of this blog is to encourage any licensed ham in the greater Petaluma area, who is not involved in some type of emergency radio activity, to drop by the CERT-CERN (Community Emergency Radio Network) information table at the 2nd Annual Classic “Wings & Wheels” air show at the Petaluma Municipal Airport on Saturday, July 17th from 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity to find out more about local emergency communication activities in Sonoma County for ham radio operators.

For additional information, contact Bill, KI6GOO, at whammer@petalumanet.org or phone (707) 762-6593.

(Air show parking is free. Admission: $2 per adult, kids 16 and under free!)