Oregon Office of Emergency Management Seeking Amateur Radio Operators

Nov 4, 2013

This weekend Oregon's Office of Emergency Management coordinated the largest test ever of the state's emergency communications network. While the exercise was considered a success, it also shed light on one of the system's vulnerabilities, a lack of qualified amateur radio operators east of the Cascades. 

Oregon has roughly 700 licensed volunteer radio operators.
Credit feesta / Flickr

In this weekend's fictionalized scenario hackers managed to launch a crippling cyber attack on the electric grid, cutting off both telephone and internet access.

In this type of situation, planners have identified amateur radio as the fallback method of communication.

While the state has about 700 licensed volunteer radio operators to help run the system, most are in Western Oregon. Morrow, Grant and Jefferson counties have no volunteers. Other counties have as few as one.

Fred Molesworth is with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

"If we don't have active amateurs who know what to do in that kind of a situation and are part of the county organization, then we may not have any communications in those counties and that's a real concern" says Molesworth.

Molesworth says would-be volunteers should contact the Oregon Office of Emergency Management for more information.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting.