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Cover Page. Galveston County Emergency Communications Group (GCECG). Mike Scott, Director September 20, 2007. Amateur Radio. What is Amateur (or “ham”) Radio? A service that uses various types of radio communications for public service , recreation, and self-training

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cover page
Cover Page

Galveston County Emergency

Communications Group (GCECG)

Mike Scott, Director

September 20, 2007

amateur radio
Amateur Radio
  • What is Amateur (or “ham”) Radio?
  • A service that uses various types of radio communications for public service, recreation, and self-training
  • Volunteer, non-paid per FCC Part 97
  • Amateur radio operators are licensed by the FCC
    • Must pass a test to obtain one of three license classes
    • Each radio operator is issued a unique callsign
    • All callsigns have specific attributes
      • World/US region (N, K, W, AA-AL), structure (2x2, 1x3, etc.)
  • Amateur radio operators are often proficient in:
    • Emergency Power
    • Mobile/Field Communications
  • It is often an amateur radio operator on the air first after a disaster
major amateur radio organizations
Major Amateur Radio Organizations
  • Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
    • Est. 1952 as part of the Amateur Radio Service
    • Civil preparedness during periods of emergency
    • Administered by local, county, and state emergency management agencies
    • Supported by FEMA
  • Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)
    • Emergency communications
    • Support on a state and local level
    • “Net” operation – a coordinated exchange on a frequency
  • Skywarn
    • Spotters provide data to the National Weather Service
  • Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS)
    • DOD sponsored program – auxiliary military comm
amateur radio and galveston county
Amateur Radio and Galveston County
  • Groups In or Near Galveston County
  • JSC Amateur Radio Club
  • Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club
  • Tidelands Amateur Radio Society
  • Pearland Amateur Radio Club
  • Pasadena Amateur Radio Club
  • There are about 900 hams in Galveston County
types of amateur radio communication
Types of Amateur Radio Communication
  • High Frequency - HF (also known as short wave)
    • “skip” off upper atmosphere to talk great distances
  • VHF and UHF Voice
    • Point-to-point or use of repeaters which retransmit the signal
    • Typical range: 50 miles using a repeater
    • Repeaters can be “networked” such as Saltgrass or Armadillo systems in Texas. Allows statewide communication.
  • Packet/Airmail
    • Send digital data via radio as an alternative to internet/e-mail
  • Amateur Television (slow scan TV)
  • Morse Code - CW
    • Easier to hear when a low signal is present (used mostly on HF)
  • Amateur Satellites, Shuttle, and International Space Station
    • Some amateur radio groups build their own satellites (AMSAT)
    • Half of all astronauts are amateur radio operators and routinely operate from orbit
  • Earth-Moon-Earth (moonbounce)
    • Talking to other amateur radio operators by bouncing a signal off the moon
repeater networking
Repeater Networking

The Armadillo Intertie Network

Armadillo repeaters are linked by microwave. No internet or PSTN lines are required.

gcecg supports galveston county oem
GCECG Supports Galveston County OEM
  • Galveston County Office of Emergency Management resides at FM 646 near IH-45 in League City
  • Amateur Radio is used when other modes of communication are inoperable or overloaded
  • Amateur Radio relies very little on existing infrastructure
  • Communications between city EOC’s, County EOC, and State (DPS) level
  • GCECG is comprised almost exclusively of amateur radio operators, about 50 members at this time
  • At least 2 GCECG personnel in County EOC radio room at all times during an event
  • Capability: VHF Voice, UHF Voice, HF Voice/CW, Packet/Airmail
  • 10 ham radio antennas on tower, ranging from 60’ to 180’ level
  • Personnel to support City EOC’s (if needed)
ops plan
OPS Plan

Note: All frequencies are local to Houston.

All frequencies in MHz.

Austin SOC

HF 7.285, 3.975

Armadillo 443.650

Saltgrass 149.920, 443.825

Houston DDC

(Frequency dependent on

DDC requirement)

County EOC, WR5GC

City EOC’s

Bayou Vista





Jamaica Beach


La Marque

League City

Santa Fe

Texas City

Tiki Island

N Brazoria County

Communication with city EOC’s

147.140/167.9 Primary VHF

145.410/131.8 Alternate VHF

442.225/131.8 Primary UHF

145.050 Airmail (if available)

  • The Amateur Radio Service is a valuable asset to Emergency Management
    • Low dependence on infrastructure
    • Near 100% geographic repeater coverage in Galveston County
    • On the air within minutes of a disaster
    • Motivated volunteers
    • Technically competent individuals
    • Mobile capability
    • Hams have their own radios, antennas and power