When we lose our phones for voice and texting along with the internet, there is always ham radio to provide communications. In an emergency, our South County HAM operators will provide communications between communities, assembly sites, and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
HAM radio operators have at their disposal a wide variety of radio frequencies. This capability ensures communication both locally, statewide, and nationwide. Communication methods ensure that emergency-related messages get through on the same frequency as someone chatting socially.
Each device that HAM Radio Operators talk on is a station. People can talk directly from station-to-station (“simplex”) or through a repeater that adds power and broader coverage (“duplex”).
An Oregon Coast Repeater Group and an Oregon State Repeater Group both keep repeaters in good working order for all of us. You can buy a desk- or pocket-edition Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) repeater directory to carry or keep in your GoBag.
HAM Radio Operators must pass a written exam and are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. You can begin by obtaining a Technician license, gain more expertise and frequency coverage with a General license, or be a real pro with an Extra license.
You can visit these links for local area exam locations including Lincoln City. During 2019, testing is available the first Saturday of every month at the Otis Fire Station.
Once licensed, HAMs supply their own radios. There are a variety of equipment types 5-watt handhelds, car-mounted radios, or 100-watt tabletops capable of reaching around the world. And there are many types of antennas, from the rubber duck to a simple whip, mobile mounts atop your car, and long wires with tuners that serve as temporary/emergency antennas with a long reach.
Much of the local communication needs are met using handheld radios capable of working both radio-to-radio and through repeaters which greatly extend the effective range of these small radios.
Regardless of the radio used, remember to keep your radio operational and the batteries charged at all times — your radio might be needed at any moment.
South County HAM Communications Meeting
The South County HAMs meet regularly to discuss improvements to our community communications efforts. If you would like to join the discussions, you should contact our Communications Team.
Local repeaters utilized for Emergency HAM communications in South County:
- Mount Hebo, VHF 147.220, PL tone 100Hz, standard offset +0.6 MHz
- Mount Hebo, UHF 441.250, PL tone 118.8 Hz, standard offset +5 MHz
Simplex frequency used is 147.500
Local entry level (Technician) HAM Classes are sometimes offered by the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay. You can look under News and Events on their website and the EVCNB calendar for upcoming classes. The HAM radio club of Lincoln County also offers classes. Other resources which are available:
- Online practice exams at
- The ARRL General Class License Manual for Ham Radio
- W5YI for Tech and General License. Extra packages includes a DVD for the PC and question-answer book by Gordon West.
HAM volunteers are also encouraged to take Incident Command System Training offered by National Incident Response (NIMS).
The following description and links are provided by the courtesy and hard work of the Oregon Coast Repeater Group.
From the ‘What we Do’ page of their website, “The Oregon Coast Repeater Group is a consortium of professional volunteers dedicated to providing hardware, software and support for non-profit ventures involving public safety, emergency services and weather reporting systems.”