Report sparks concern, confusion among California ham radio ranks

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10/15/2019

By all credible and reliable accounts, the State of California has not has turned its back on ham radio as an emergency communications resource, and established repeater owners have not been asked to remove their equipment from state-owned sites unless they pay a fee important. California controversy, ignited by viral YouTube video, stems from a communication from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) telling an owner or group of repeaters that amateur radio equipment should be taken out of service. ‘a site or a “safe” owned by the state. If the owner (s) determined that the cost was too high to make a formal request to keep it there.

“I understand and appreciate all of the services you have provided in the past,” CAL FIRE’s Lorina Pisi told the unknown repeater owner (s) or group (s) last month. “However, with constantly evolving technological advances, there is no longer the same benefit to the state as before. Consequently, the Department no longer financially supports HAM operators. [sic] radios or rental. If you wish to enter into a formal agreement to operate and maintain such equipment, you must complete and submit the attached co-location request along with the fees described on the first page of the request. There are costs associated with setting up an agreement.

It is not known who Pisi’s note was addressed to, as any names or names have been redacted from the version of the note that is circulating. The ARRL contacted Pisi this week but had no response.

After receiving a long communication Attorney Nathan Zeliff, K6DPS, of Shingletown, Calif., citing the letter from Pisi, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko asked a few questions for his own. He reported that Jim Price, the communications center operations officer for the State Emergency Services Office, explained to him that the case was not new and that the problem with the repeater equipment in state radio safes lasted for 5 years or more. .

“He said it comes down to the local level, if local officials feel there is a need to have amateur radio repeaters in safes in their area,” Bosenko told Zeliff. “As such, it boils down to the authorization of the vault space, permissions and permission to access equipment in vaults, and contractual agreements for the equipment to be can be found in the safes. The question of cost and who will bear the cost of contracts and storage space has also been an issue for years. “

ARRL officials who have also examined the situation agree that it has been exaggerated by parties with their own agendas.

“The State of California has made no decision that we can find” that Ham Radio [is] is no longer an advantage, ”said Pacific division manager Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, on the Sacramento Valley Section Website. “What happened is that CAL FIRE transferred responsibility for its communication sites to its property management department. The mission of this service is to assess each site, its condition, its use and its tenants. If a repeater not known to be associated with a local jurisdiction’s emergency management function is found in a CAL FIRE vault, the default action is to move it or subject it to commercial rental rates.

“Our contact at the California Emergency Services Office suggests that if an affected repeater is in any way involved in a local emergency or government support activity, they should ask that agency to engage with CAL. FIRE concerning the repeater. If the agency justifies it, there is a good chance that the repeater will not be affected, ”Tiemstra added.

ARRL Southwest Division Manager Dick Norton, N6AA, responded to inquiries with the same message.

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