I’ve been asked why I limit my Emergency Communications involvement to little more than Personal Preparedness?
There is a whole raft of reasons:
Staying off lists.
I’m not interested in being on targeted lists. In the best of times they lead to requests and demands I may have never intended to offer my services for, and in the worst of times they are ready-made radio confiscation lists. Perhaps having a bit of a background in doing the government side of working lists & information has made me edgy, as I basically want to keep my “private citizen, not involved” status whenever possible.
Family, neighbors, coworkers and community come first.
I don’t want to have some semi-official status pulling me away from doing what I have committed to do first – that is taking the best care & contributing where I can for Family, Neighbors, Coworkers and my very local Community first.
Not interested in “playing army” having really been a Soldier.
A real put-off is the paramilitary feel and games some parts of organized Emcomm have taken on. While I understand the need for discipline and a standard methodology, I have enough experience at the real military that I’m not going to play around pretending I am still in service.
There are other forms of organization, motivation and coordination that can work for a volunteer group rather than the paramilitary model.
Just because you’re licensed longer, take more meds, and have plenty of spare time doesn’t mean I can trust your leadership.
One of the ways people arrive in leadership in many Emcomm groups is to have the time available to them. This often means the energetic young leaders are expected to follow good folk who circumstances have put a lot of time in their laps. Not every everyone who has retired, happens to be out of work, or is medically off work, makes a leader a volunteer can trust. Many are great folks having their first stab at leading volunteers, which can be rather “interesting.” Unfortunately some are prone to leadership flaws that keep them from being effective.
Demands that I compromise personal safety by disarming to help Emcomm are irresponsible demands.
This is a personal pet peeve. Maybe these Emcomm Leaders don’t understand he life experiences I have had that leads me to select appropriate protection when prudent, but I am not delegating my individual personal safety to them. Sitting back in their grant money funded Emcomm bunkers one could argue that they don’t even have enough skin in the game to say anything at all how a rover or home based Emcomm volunteer keeps themselves safe.
This demand to disarm by Emcomm crosses an non-negotiable infringement on how I keep myself safe, and I am certainly not altering my stance to volunteer.
Knowing the games played to place truthful information flow under political control, can a person keep their integrity intact in organized Emcomm?
Time has leaked out so much about the attempts to control information during Katrina – when cellphone systems were shut down to meet information control goals, that one wonders if they can ethically be part of any repeat? The moves to obscured transmissions and encrypted internet type traffic for Emcomm is not all about getting the information out there, is it?
I really didn’t get into this hobby to play traffic cop.
I love too much the varied aspects of Amateur Radio and originally became involved for technical interests with a special interest in the old HF long distance aviation navigation system for overseas flights. I’ve built some of my own gear and have experimented with leading edge (and “bleeding edge”) gear throughout the 20 plus years I’ve been involved.
It wasn’t a civic duty as a focus that drew me to amateur radio.
So what do I do? Independent Emcomm a.ka. “Freecom”
There is a lot an individual can do to be an Independent Emcomm ready – a Freecom Amateur. I’d taken almost every ARRL pre-FEMA on-line course, have built up a very modest but well proven portable station and have kept abreast of the latest in Emcomm.
Having a generator and batteries to operate off grid, a selection of portable antennas, and enough gear to go to the field is useful.
Most important though is gaining enough knowledge and technical references to build & repair gear. And to improvise.
All of this is a lot of fun – from building transceivers to satellite antennas to mobile-shack accessories.
All without attending a meeting, a drill or playing games.