In addition to operating ham radio for passing news, intelligence, and email/text traffic, we set up our Radio Free Redoubt ‘Black Echo’ FM broadcasting station and transmitted on 107.5 FM. This was greatly appreciated by the townspeople, as we were able to keep them posted on recent developments and play music. We were the hub of information, with local information coming from the city officials, the fire chief, citizen’s eye witness accounts, and our own observations looking out the windows and talking to people.
Additionally, we were receiving live updates from the linked ham repeater and other communications we were scanning from within the SIGCEN (Signals Center). We also received email-over-radio official reports from the Okanogan County EOC (Emergency Operations Center), that the citizens in Conconully would otherwise have been unable to receive. All of this information was able to be relayed to the citizens over their FM broadcast receivers in their homes and cars.
Below is about a 17 minute sample of what the towns-people were able to listen to.
Mission of Black Echo Broadcasters:
1. Inform the citizens of developments, public service announcements, and safety information
2. Reinforce a sense of ‘connection’ in the community
3. Encouragement and sense of ‘normalcy’
Source of information:
1. VHF Ham Radio Repeaters reporting real-time intelligence on fires, road closures, evacuations, routes, etc.
2. HF Ham Radio. Voice was used often, but most importantly were emails over radio with official reports from the Okanogan Emergency Operations Center on the scope of the fire, disaster relief efforts, and progress reports in battling the wildfires.
3. City officials and firefighters.
4. Interviews with citizens on their first-hand accounts
5. Observations by the AmRRON operators on the ground in the town of Conconully
6. Scanner traffic of officials, firefighters, and any other vhf/uhf traffic in the vicinity
More information covering the specific equipment and software used will be added as a ‘Part 2’ posting.