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Amateur Radio Seeks Disaster Drill Change

Commenters support changing ham rules to allow government workers to take part in disaster drills

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed changing its rules to ensure that amateur radio operators can participate in disaster drills even if they are employed by a government agency sponsoring the drill.

Current FCC regulations prohibit such participation without a waiver.

Comments on the proposal (WP Docket 10-72) were due May 24.

It appears many commenters support the proposal, including Boeing and Los Angeles County. The latter wrote: “Disaster drills and training are especially important in the Los Angeles area, which is particularly susceptible to wide-scale emergencies such as earthquakes and wildfires. Amateur radio stations have well-defined supportive roles in disaster relief efforts, and amateur radio licensees should not be prevented from participating in training drills merely because they are employed by a sponsoring agency.”

A ham in Redwood City, Calif., who’s a member of the California Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team agrees with the premise.

Stephen Traynor wrote: “It’s clearly in the public interest to create the exemption and to encourage disaster preparation.”

Reply comments are due June 7.