Information Net for July 29

Prepping for Brownouts and Blackouts


The heat is rising across the country. The high demands for electricity to keep cool are increasing the risk of areas experiencing blackouts or brownouts. Brownouts typically occur during heat waves due to heavy equipment coming online, short circuits, or electrical companies decreasing voltage in order to meet the needs of peak time. Blackouts occur when it is a complete power outage and can last from hours to weeks.

It’s important that you take action now and prepare for the next time service interruptions occur in your area. Because the length of a power outage can vary from a few hours to several days, you need to plan to get by without utilities for at least three days. Not sure how to prepare? FEMA is here to help.

Use FEMA’s “Going Off Grid: Utility Outages” activity module to reference simple steps to get prepared for an outage. Some utility outage checklist items include:

  • Document important phone numbers and vital power company information
  • Locate and label your utility shutoffs


  • Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts
  • Have your disaster kit ready and stocked

Continue reading “Information Net for July 29”

Information Net for July 22

ARRL Urges Denial of Petition to Permit Encryption of Some Emergency Communications

Read by: RICK N9GRW

The ARRL is calling on the FCC to deny a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11699) seeking to permit the encryption of certain amateur communications during emergency operations or related training exercises. Don Rolph, AB1PH, of E Walpole, Massachusetts, petitioned the Commission in March to suggest an additional exception to §97.113, which currently prohibits “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.”

“While Mr Rolph has concisely stated his argument, it is ARRL’s considered view that there is no factual or legal basis for the assumption that encryption of transmissions…is necessary in order to continue and enhance the utility of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief communications,” the League said in its comments, filed today with the FCC. The ARRL also turned away Rolph’s assertion that the current prohibition in §97.113 “has impacted the relationship of Amateur Radio volunteers and served agencies and significantly limited the effectiveness of amateurs in supporting emergency communications.” The League said it’s unaware of any evidence that served agencies have been reluctant to utilize Amateur Radio as part of their emergency or disaster relief communications plans because of the encryption restrictions in Part 97. The Amateur Service rule is based on a similar prohibition in international telecommunication law, the ARRL noted.
Continue reading “Information Net for July 22”