Joe Frank, W6JLF Email
As hams, we have a tremendous amount to offer in the way of communications and information in times of difficulty, such as winter storms and power outages. Below are some practical resources that may be helpful to hams as well as the local community.
One resource that is often overlooked is the National Weather Service automated broadcast 162.400. They offer current conditions and forecasts. If you can access the internet there is www.weather.com they provide 34 different options including multiple Doppler radar views for our area by typing in your zip code.
The California Department of Transportation offers a toll free number for current road conditions including the status of Deadwood Pass. 800-427-7623. This same information is also available on the web at www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/ where you can simply type in any highway number and receive up-to-date information with 1-hour accuracy.
Fire is a major concern here in the mountain area so it is important to keep abreast of the latest information at all times. The CDF has a very well laid out site at www.fire.ca.gov/cdf_incidents/ that has data on most of their current incidents. Also try the Pacific Southwest Region Fire and Aviation Management Web Site by the USDA Forest Service which has Local, US & Canadian fire reports. The scanner is also a great place to get the most up to date information. For most fires in Eastern Madera County tune to 151.460 (CDF Dispatch) and 151.400 (CDF Support) and for fires on National Forest Land listen on 172.225. For additional frequencies go to our (Scanner Frequencies page).
Most people know about PG&E's 800-743-5002 outage info number, but this recording provides general info for large areas. We all know web sites are useless during power outages, however, if you have battery power to your radio, the PG&E dispatch can be monitored at 153.560. Monitoring this frequency provides real time information on what exactly is going on. It's very interesting to note that during a recent outage, PG&E's hotline said power would be restored in 2 hours while the dispatch and field techs were still attempting to locate the problem.
If even a few of us were to monitor alternate information sources, more valuable information could be relayed to fellow hams and community citizens which is what we are here for.
1 800 876-4766
1 800 560-4911
Madera & Mariposa Co.