Amateur ham radio is an important part of our emergency preparedness on the North Coast. Already, during the storm of 2007, when wind gusts reached hurricane levels along the coast, emergency ham radio networks proved their value when cell and ground phone services were interrupted.
Presently, there is a robust and always-improving ham radio system on the North Coast, integrated with other emergency responders. Ham radio is also a fun, and very interesting hobby. Recent technology has made the activity very affordable — hand-held devices sell for less than $40, though the sky’s the limit if you want all the bells and whistles.
There are local ham groups, such as the Sunset Empire Amateur Radio Club (SEARC, https://w7bu.club), meeting in Astoria, and the Seaside Tsunami Amateur Radio Society (STARS, http://wa7ve.org), meeting in Seaside. New members or just interested citizens are always welcome at monthly meetings.
Classes to obtain the ham license are periodically provided in both Astoria and Seaside for free, although there is a nominal charge for the license issued after completing the short course.