More bad, anti-freedom moves by the single-party government of the State of California.
Ham radio is a time-tested, low-cost, reliable means of communication when emergencies strike. As in other states, Ham radio operators have been assisting California’s fire and emergency services for free for years. In fact, Ham radio is the only source of communication when the power is out and the cell-phone towers are down. The equipment costs the state nothing, as it is operated by the Ham radio owners. Simply put, there is no benefit or justifiable reason to eliminate Ham radio commuication.
But the California State government, although supposedly concerned about deadly wildfires, is now determined to eliminate Ham radio communication.
Megan Fox reports for PJ Media, Oct. 15, 2019, that in spite of PG&E recent massive power shut-down that plunged a wide swath of northern California into darkness, the state’s Fire District has decided that Ham radio equipment in remote areas must be removed unless radio operators cough up a prohibitive fee to lease the land from the government.
In an email to Ham operators, Lorina Pisi of the Department of General Services of California’s Public Works Board, wrote:
I do understand and appreciate all of the service you have provided in the past. However, with constantly changing technological advances, there is no longer the same benefit to State as previously provided. Therefore, the Department no longer financially supports HAM operators radios or tenancy. If you desire to enter into a formal agreement to operate and maintain said equipment, you must complete and submit attached collocation application along with fee as outlined on page one of application. There is cost associated with getting an agreement in place. In addition to the technical analysis fee ($2500/application), there is DGS Lease admin cost associated (typically between $3000-$5000) with preparation of lease. Also, there will be an annual rent charge based upon equipment type/space.
OffGrid Survival observes:
What is infuriating here is people are going to die because of this decision. It costs the State of California nothing to allow these repeaters on public land; in fact, Ham Radio Operators pay for the equipment and maintain the equipment at their own cost. Ham Radio operators also make nothing from running these radio repeaters; they do so as a service to the public to help ensure the public’s safety during natural disasters and emergencies.
In a letter to Lorina Pisi, with cc to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Brian Dahle, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, Shingletown Volunteer Fire Department, and others, attorney A. Nathan Zeliff writes:
Dear Ms. Pisi:
I am writing you concerning your e-mail to Ham Radio Repeater owners advising them that they must remove all repeater equipment from various mountain locations unless they pay huge fees…. I am advised that this action is being done for the entire State of California. Many of these repeaters have been in public safety use for decades. They have saved lives. They have in fact been used for public safety and to protect life and property when the public communication systems have completely collapsed and failed during disasters.
The cost to the State of California is nothing for these repeaters. Rather, Ham Radio Operators pay for the equipment and maintain the equipment at their own cost. The Ham Radio Operators do not make any money off of these repeaters.
Your actions will destroy the existing Ham Radio Repeater System Infrastructure and Network that is a critical and vital asset for Disaster Emergency Communications. This Ham Radio Emergency Communications Infrastructure has existed for decades. Additionally, once removed, these Ham Radio assets will be cost prohibitive to rebuild….
The FACT IS – when there is a complete communication failure (no phones, no cell phones, no internet, no reverse 911, no code red, no ability to dial 911, and no ability to warn people who are asleep at 2:00 AM in the morning of a raging wildfire, etc…,) ALL of the Cal Fire and Sheriff recommendations go up in smoke. WHY? Because there is no WAY to send or receive any information OR even issue warnings! Communities will have no communications. They will not be able to advise neighbors that the exit to a subdivision is blocked by a fallen tree. They will not be able to ask others to bring chain saws and trucks to open up the exit. There will be no actual ability to coordinate or communicate. You can’t effectively warn your neighbors about a fire at 2:00 A.M., without communications!
In the real world scenario of a communications blackout and raging fire, all of those “technological advances” you advised of in your e-mail will HAVE ALL FAILED AND DO NOT WORK! Your claim that Ham Radio is no longer a “benefit” to the State, is delusional….
The Governor of California issued Executive Order N-05-19, dated January 8, 2019, recognizing California as having experienced the most destructive wildfire season in State history during 2018, enduring over 7,600 wildfires that burned 1,846,445 acres in total. The Executive Order referenced the Camp Fire as being the deadliest fire in State history claiming the lives of 86 people….
Under this Executive Order, Cal Fire was charged with providing a written report to the Governor with recommendations… “necessary to prevent and mitigate wildfires to the greatest extent possible”….
Cal Fire responds by instituting a destructive project to remove Critical Emergency Ham Radio Communications Infrastructure. Such is in flagrant disregard of the Executive Order and devoid of any notion of common sense. Moreover, making an emergency resource cost prohibitive is in fact destruction of that resource! Additionally, once removed, these Ham Radio assets will be cost prohibitive to rebuild….
Compounding the situation is that PG & E may shut off communities electricity during Red Flag and other events. This poses additional risks. Communication Blackouts may result….
So why would the California State government do something so irrational as eliminating Ham radio communication?
OffGrid Survival believes this is the reason:
The real story here is Ham Radio is a threat to the government. We make them look stupid! They spend billions on infrastructure that breaks down, while we can literally take a hundred bucks in equipment, some random wires, and in minutes set up a radio system that can communicate with anyone in the world. Hell, I’ve used my kid’s slinky, some Television Coax Cable, and a solar battery system to build a mobile rig that I’ve used to talk to people around the world — You can check out the Radio Rig Here. They don’t want the public to realize that we can take care of ourselves, and do a much better and cheaper job doing so!