Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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LDS Emergency Resources – Communications pt2

LDS - Communications

Phones now have full keyboards. And they said that four words is no longer – THNX is Thanks or THX or those kind of things. I just got a text from one of my girls, but it’s easy to read – I can read it. So if you don’t know how to text message, get a phone that does, go to our youths and go like “Could you teach me how to text message?” And I guarantee you – most of our youths know and do it all the time and will be more than happy to teach you how to do it, how to make your phone do it if your phone is not capable. If your phone is not capable of doing it – I suggest a new phone, also powered by an electrical system and they work on the same phone system that the rest of the phones work.

And so, no, they probably will not work. Neither will your wireless. Your wireless DSL you have at home, cause that doesn’t hook through the phone system. If you have any of those, as soon as the light goes off, so does your phone. So if you’ve canceled your home phone system cause you’re going with wireless or something else, you’ll really be in trouble cause then you don’t have any home phone service either if it were to work. The more gadgets and toys and ease we make our lives, the more we’re caught in this spidery web of being reliant on other things.

So no, generally phone systems, email phone systems won’t work. Now the good news with tax systems is because they are usually, not always, especially in businesses, they are on a separate line, separate front line than a standard business line. And so, sometimes if your standard business phone is not working, like the PDX requires power or something like that and that’s not working – the fax machine might be the only machine that works.

So if you work in the office and the phones are down, go check the fax machine, see if that’s working. Most of them have a phone attached to them, some of them don’t. You might be able to see if it’s working during some kind of power outage problem. It depends on everything else – but cells are probably the last ones to work. But it also depends on what carriers. I used to work for AT&T wireless – one of the reason I know how all of this wireless stuff works, and all of their systems have, in fact, if you go and look at this wireless cell site, there’s a little building next to it – that little building has a backup generator.

Now the problem is that a lot of the new stuff they have doesn’t have that. Because with so many cell sites, they’re trying to keep the cost down. It depends a lot on the carrier and which carriers do and which carriers don’t – I don’t have any idea anymore. It might be that Spread, AT&T and Verizon are working and others aren’t and vice-versa. I do know that during the Northridge earthquake, the AT&T was the only wireless that worked in the Northridge area. If the others fixed, repaired or changed since then, it was a long time ago, I don’t know. Then, AT&T was the only one that worked.

So, if you can’t use your phone and you can’t use smoke signals – or you can, but who’s gonna know what it means “Oh look! I don’t know what that is!” If you don’t know how to use Morse code, flashing signals and stuff- what are we left with? We have a great technology now that is available to us. We have other kinds of radios that are not cellular radios, that are not your cellphone – but we have the little ones that you buy from Wal-Mart – even I sell them. They are little FRS or GMRS – The Family Radio System that works for 2-3 miles. They say it’ll work for 2-3 miles, they work for about a quarter of a mile. But 2-3 miles if nothing’s in site, wind’s not blowing.

I was really hopeful for the GMRS cause they were supposed to do 16 miles so I bought some for me and some of my friends. Even if you have these radios, you can only communicate a mile, half a mile with these things. That still has an advantage. You might say “What advantage has a radio that only goes for a mile?” Well, in the city of Washington DC or other cities like it, they’re starting what they call FRS or GMRS cell pods. And that is, one day a month everybody gets their little radio out, they all turn it on the same channel and they see how far they can transmit a message.

Well, with a group of these phones, that’s what you can do. You may not be able to talk from one side of the state to the other, but if I had one and there was somebody there who had one – then we could chain link it down. We did that at one of the youth conferences using those GMRS radios and I was one end and Kim here was at the other end and we couldn’t talk to each other. But there was somebody else in the middle and so I would get the message to him and he would pass it to her and she would talk to him and he would tell me.

Well, that’s not the most efficient way to communicate. But it beats the heck out of getting in my car, driving 3 miles up the road and talk to her. So we were able to communicate back and forth that way and get messages. That’s a great way to do it. The other thing you can do is go back to the 70’s – pick up a CB ready, put it on your house and it can work for 5 miles or so. I have one of those, they work great. They’re really great but they all communicate on a limited amount of space and you’re limited to 40 channels and there are a lot of people out there using them. So, it works and it’s a tool, but it’s not a great tool for emergency communications.

So what if you really wanna reach out and talk to somebody? What would you need if you wanna talk to not just here, but to somebody a long distance away? Well we have this options – we use in our state and what the church uses – and that’s Amateur Radio. Otherwise known as ham radio. I invited Rick here to come cause he knows far more about ham radio than I do. In fact, I asked him a question and so did he ask me and I’m hoping – did you find an answer to the question? Can you talk about that? I don’t know how much time is left, but he’ll talk to you about ham radio – amateur radio and its history and aspects.

Rick: Well, first of all, thanks for the opportunity to speak here this evening and share some things about amateur radio. And I will get to the answer to that question and some other things here. A little bit about the history of amateur radio. When you talk about amateur radio, you have to talk about radio in general. As radios started to emerge – and this is about in 1890, 1894-1899, Marconi did some interesting experiments in Europe and found that he can create a big spark and it would send a signal that was receivable. First it got to a couple of miles then to 20 miles – anyway, they made a radio out of this and it took a huge amount…

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