The Radio Operator

As a radio operator the requirements for preparedness are a little bit more involved; after all we have extra gear that we have to make sure is ready to go when it is needed.

What to have in your go bag is a hard question to answer; a lot greatly depends on how long you will be gone. At the very least you should have a couple of bottles or water and 24 – 48 hours of food. It can be snacks, fruit, dried meat, etc. It is also good to bring an extra shirt or a complete change of clothes. Always bring any prescription medication / allergy medication you may be taking.

Most events that Buncombe County ARES partakes in the longest deployment will be 12 hours. However in an emergency situation you may be required to stay for days or even weeks. In such a deployment you will need to have and bring more gear.

Ideally you should have what is called a go box / go bag. Essentially what this is; is a box or bag that is pre-packed with a radio, power supply, antenna and coax, spare parts (coaxial adapters, fuses, etc), if using a HT extra batteries, the operating manual to the radio and a list of the local repeaters. Headphones are also a good idea especially if you are going to be in a noisy environment.

In the event of an activation all you need to do is grab your go bag / box load it in your vehicle and go. There will not be a lot of time once an activation has started for you to hunt down your kit. In a real emergency / disaster time matters and local shops may not even be open.

Now that you have a go bag for your radio equipment you should have one for yourself. At the very least there should be a complete change of clothes (make sure it is season / location appropriate), a small first aid kit with a daily supply of any medications you are on, a good flash light with extra batteries / bulb if not LED, writing supplies (2 pens, 2 pencils, pencil sharpener, erasure, highlighter and notebook (preferable waterproof), clipboard), safety vest and a good pair of work gloves.

You should also pack some bottled water, the hotter the climate the more water you need, some high energy snack food like nuts, dried fruit or trail mix. You may need a drink or something eat while you are deployed, you can’t depend on someone bringing food and water to you.

For some examples of Go-bags / Go-boxes or just general preparedness visit:

KK4BRD – Amateur Radio Project Blog

N1RFD – Portable Go-Kit Radio Station

W4CC – Personal Disaster Preparedness

KM4BLG – Raspberry Pi Field Computer

For general information on Emergency / Disaster Preparedness:

FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide