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What if your phone fails during an emergency? Pine Mountain Club has a solution

The Pine Mountain Club Radio Safety Net educates community on a “critical life-saving tool”
Posted at 5:47 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 18:43:13-04

PINE MOUNTAIN CLUB, Calif. (KERO) — The Pine Mountain Club Radio Safety Net educates community on a “critical life-saving tool”

  • Fire, snowstorm, earthquake... in an emergency, being able to get help is vital. Nut what if you lose cell service?
  • With the use of radios, coordinators of the Pine Mountain Club EP Radio Safety Net are busy educating the community on how to use them properly and efficiently.
  • RSN hosts their next meeting on April 27 at 2 p.m. in the Pavilion room.

In an emergency, the first line of communication is your phone. But what if that plan fails?

Residents in Pine Mountain Club have started using radios to keep in contact.

Following last year’s stormy weather, James Douglass and Marc Schnitman, two residents in Pine Mountain Club, recognized a need for residents to stay in touch.

“Snowmageddon last year was a pretty eye-opening experience. A lot of communities… being disconnected from everyone because of power outages and snow,” said Schnitman.

“With our 20 years of HAM radio experience, it was just a no-brainer, let’s get this going.”
James Douglass and Marc Schnitman, Pine Mountain Club Radio Safety Net coordinators

Now, coordinators of the Pine Mountain Club EP Radio Safety Net (RSN) educate the community on the use of radios.

“It’s really important that we get as many HAM radio members as possible to join up, learn the hobby, and the critical life-saving tool that it is.”

The Radio Safety Net has sold 51 radios so far. Of the $12,000 approved budget set by the POA, the Safety Net has purchased less than $2,000 in equipment.

The RSN recommends the Baofeng UV-5G, also sold as the UV-5X, which can be purchased online, or through the RSN at cost.

One common misconception is the difficulty of using radios.

Schnitman said, “Leading the horse to the water is probably the largest obstacle that we have because it is technology they’re not familiar with.”

Douglass adds that the radios are essentially walkie talkies with slightly higher power.

“As far as operating the device itself, it’s as easy as just push to talk. You push a button, you talk. You let go of the button, you stop talking,” said Schnitman.

And while it does require a license, RSN is there to assist throughout the process.

“They do require a little bit of work just to be able to get that license,” said Douglass. “But that license is valid for 10 years, covers you and your entire immediate family.”

After registering with the FCC, users must complete the GMRS license for $35. There is no test required.

Although winter has already wrapped up, the RSN said these radios will still come in handy year-round.

“Emergencies could be anything from an earthquake to a fire to search and rescue efforts, also with bear sightings and what not. It’s really a great tool to have a forum of people who are listening and communicating in live time,” Schnitman said.

Repeater coverage area: Green indicates excellent signal coverage, yellow is good coverage, and areas without yellow or green need a better antenna to be able to communicate clearly via the repeater.

While this program is specifically for Pine Mountain Club, the Radio Safety Net hopes to reach other mountain communities.

“Unfortunately, radio depends on line of sight. So Tehachapi talking to us right now, today, not possible. In the future, that’s what we’re gonna strive towards,” said Schnitman.

The RSN hosts their next meeting on April 27 at two p.m. in the Pavilion room.

To connect to the Radio Safety Net:

Email address:

RSN phone number: 661-241-3754

Facebook: PMC EP Radio Safety Net


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