Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike Recovery

I have been monitoring the situation in southeast Texas and hurricane (now tropical storm) Ike. In addition to the news networks and the Weather Channel, DirecTV is providing a feed of the Houston CBS affiliate full time on channel 361.

It appears that an amazing number of state, federal and military resources, called "Task Force Texas", are being poured into the Houston/Galveston area to help with recovery and restoration of services and power. I had received word from friends in Houston before the storm hit that FEMA was already staging equipment and vehicles in the old Astrohall, near Reliant Stadium.

Although this is certainly an amazing monitoring opportunity with all the activity going on, most folks in the area either have other, much more important things to worry about, or they have no power. But if you are in the area and want to search for any recovery communications, don't overlook the federal UHF band, 406 to 420 MHz. FEMA and associated groups such as DMAT and Urban Search and Rescue crews are almost certainly utilizing radios in that band as they were at the two recent political conventions. Plus national guard units have been known to utilize this band for short range, simplex communications.

TSA Trying "Calmer" Radios

The TSA is apparently moving towards the use of speaker mics and earpieces with their radios at airport checkpoints. The move is intended to help keep the checkpoints "calmer" by eliminating the yelling across the checkpoint areas. You can read the story here:,0,7802412.story

I had noticed the new blue TSA uniforms when I travelled through Minneapolis / St. Paul airport a week ago after the Republican convention.