K6HIV Open Letter to the ARRL

This is a SOARA member opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of SOARA.

Open letter to Rick Palm and Mike Corey of QST, by Knute Josifek, K6HIV regarding the Public Service feature in the June 2014 edition of QST:

In Mike Corey’s article about putting the emphasis on public service instead of emergency communications, he did a great job explaining why the League is making this change. The problem with his argument is that he starts with a false premise. Thus, his argument, regardless how eloquent, results in a false conclusion.

His premise: He states, “The problem begins with the definition of ‘emergency communications.’ One does exist and can be found on the FCC’s website…” He goes on to quote the FCC. The difficulty here is that this is NOT the one and only definition of “emergency communications.” To mention just one other, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (I think that said “Emergency”) includes in it’s emergency communications the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service.

Many Hams who train, prepare their equipment and read up on Emergency Communications never participate in a real emergency. However, they are still emergency communicators. Do you realize that most cops never fire their guns in the line of duty throughout their entire careers. Does that make them not cops?

Mike refers to the difference between an emergency and a disaster, again a false premise. One would have to use very narrow definitions of each to come to this conclusion. Mike told a cute joke about it’s a disaster if it happens to you but an emergency if it happens to me but, in fact most emergencies are a disaster to the ones to whom it is happening and all disasters are emergencies.

What we do as Ham emergency communicators is emergency communications; whether it be providing a public service at a marathon and reporting in, “Everything is OK at station 6,” or, “Man down, man down at station 6. Need ambulance and EMT.”

As Ham emergency communicators we study, train and drill for the disaster/emergency we pray never comes. Like policemen, firemen, national guard, we are emergency communicators whether there is an emergency or not.

The FCC is just some little government agency. It is NOT the be all, end all definition of who we are as Hams. The ARRL has defined us as emergency communicators in Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Homeland Security/FEMA has defined us as emergency communicators in Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. And every Ham who has ever responded to a distress call from a boat at sea or a stranded hiker or an automobile accident in a no-cell-phone area is an emergency communicator.

So Mike and Rick and others at the League who got off on this illogical path, please retract this article and get back to supporting us out here “in the trenches.”

Knute Josifek, K6HIV
Member: ARES, RACES, Mission Viejo, CA EOC Volunteer,
SOARA and, oh yes, ARRL

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