Call to Arms – PA House Bill 37

UPDATE:

DATE: January 30, 2020
MEMO TO: All Pennsylvania Amateur Radio Operators
FROM: ARRL Pennsylvania Leadership Team
RE: Amendment to HB 37

During a conference this morning with the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee, we learned that partly as a result of our efforts, Senator Farnese of Philadelphia will be introducing an amendment to this bill that will exempt Amateur Radio Operators from its prohibition on the use of Amateur Radio equipment while mobile.

The committee’s executive director is unsure of the timing for a future vote on this bill but feels certain that if Amateur Radio Operators in Pennsylvania communicate their support for the amendment, it will contribute to a successful outcome.

Senator Farnese’s staff is currently preparing the language of the amendment following input from your ARRL team. Once the Senate includes this exemption and passes the bill, it will go to a conference committee where the differences in the House and Senate versions must be ironed out. So, your support for this amendment is crucial. Contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support the amendment to HB37 exempting Amateur Radio Operators.

Please use the links below to offer your support to the
Ham Radio Amendment

 


Bob Famiglio, (Delaware County) who is the Atlantic Vice-Director of the American Radio Relay League (The National Association of Amateur Radio) has brought HB-37 to my attention. There is a serious flaw in the draft as it now stands. By omission, it prohibits the operation of VHF or HF amateur radio equipment in Pennsylvania moving vehicles.

Link to HB-37: https://www.legis.state.pa.us

Amateur Radio, using ARES-RACES, has provided Disaster Communications to millions of citizens since the 1930s. Ham Operators have provided reliable communications out of the affected areas during Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the Johnstown Flood in 1977, Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant melt down, 1999, Flight 93 Crash, Shanksville, 2001, Tropical Storm Henri, 2002, the Quecreek Mine Disaster in 2002, Cambelltown Tornado 2004, dozens of weather and natural disasters on I-80, I-376, I-81, I-95, I-476, I-99, I-76, , and the 2017 PA Turnpike Snow event, where Ham Operators assisted PEMA??in maintaining communications to WPA.??

In order to perform this function, it is imperative that these trained and FCC licensed radio operators are permitted to communicate by radio while operating their vehicles.

Often times, during an incident, cars and trucks provide the only power and antenna platforms available.?? These volunteers, who act as operators and repair technicians, can provide both voice and digital communications completely devoid of any commercial infrastructure such as cell phone towers or the Internet.

Amateur Radio has mutual aid agreements with dozens Fire Companies, PA County Departments of Emergency Services as well as PEMA, CAP, FEMA and the PA State Police, who rely on the back-up communications provided by amateur radio ARES-RACES operators.

For over 20 years, ARES-RACES operators have contributed to the bi-annual drills of the Peach Bottom and Limerick Nuclear Power Plants, plus the drills at the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia International Airports.

I propose that a specific exemption be made in the bill to enable these public service radio operators to to operate their equipment within their vehicles while in motion.

Many thanks.
Lloyd Bankson Roach – K3QNT
RACES Officer, Bedford County Department of Emergency Services.

You can find your legislators on the General Assembly website:
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address

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