The Problem . . .
With how unpredictable weather, geological events and other emergencies have been on our islands, we saw a need that was not currently being addressed by any private or government agency. When a disaster strikes and landline phones, cell towers, the power grid, and the internet are suddenly taken out of service, and families are forced to flee their homes to evacuation shelters there was no communications system in place to allow them to let friends and loved ones outside of the disaster area know that they were safe.
A similar system is already in place through another group of volunteer ham radio operators with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) to handle the communications needs for the Red Cross staff at the shelter to communicate with the Office of Emergency Management, but unfortunately here in Hawaii they place health & welfare messages as a low priority and do not allow the public to send messages on their system to let their friends and family know that they are safe.
Our Unique Solution . . .
Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators is the only organization in Hawaii that is capable and willing to provide that Emergency Communications service to the general public by allowing you to send an email at no cost to you from the evacuation shelter over our High Frequency Radio Emergency Email System using our portable WIFI hot spot that you will access from your own cellphone, laptop, or tablet. In addition to our HF radio system, we also have a portable High-Speed Satellite Communications System as a redundant backup to our HF Radio system.
Instead of burdening the ARES system and overwhelming their resources and volunteers, we developed our own system and provide our own resources to take care of the Health and Welfare message traffic from the evacuation shelter.
Your email can be sent to the mainland or other areas around the world outside of the disaster area where the internet and power grids are still functioning normally.
This gives your loved ones and you piece of mind in a very stressful situation where information is the most valuable resource.
We Serve Our Community, Not Agencies . . .
While ARES handles emergency messages for their "served agency", we handle emergency messages for those in the community affected by the disaster.
We are not trying to replace ARES, instead we are supporting them by lessening their burden and using a separate but compatible system to work in conjunction with them to accomplish the goal of being able to handle all of the emergency message traffic coming out of a disaster area, both from the agency, and the public.
The majority of all ARES message traffic will be local traffic on-island or inter-island depending on the situation, where all of the message traffic we will be handling will be to the mainland US outside of the disaster area and to other countries around the world so that it can be injected back into a functioning internet system.
If ARES were to get overwhelmed with message traffic from the agency and require our assistance, we can also step in to assist them with the overflow as a redundant backup system for them.
Our Mission is to Serve Our Community and your generous tax-deductible donation will be used to improve our Emergency Radio Communications capabilities, to train qualified EmComms radio operators, to further the skills of amateur radio enthusiast and ensure that we are able to better serve our communities after a disaster and in other times of emergencies.
We also assist other community services such as the National Weather Service SKYWARN® Storm Spotter Program, and the Neighborhood Watch program, and community events such as parades, and marathons.
Equipment & Supplies . . .
Donations are used to purchase HF/VHF/UHF radio equipment, laptop computers, portable emergency repeaters, rechargeable LIFePO4 batteries, solar panels, backup electric generators, portable fiberglass antenna masts, HF antennas, VHF/UHF antennas, as well as other necessary equipment and vital supplies used for our emergency communications and disaster response efforts.
Radiation Monitoring . . .
After the earthquake in 2011 off the coast of Japan that caused radiation from the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, to be released into the atmosphere, background radiation levels in Hawaii have risen slightly to levels that were double the previous levels.
Because of the ever present dangers of radiation, we have installed a permanent radiation monitoring station which measures and records the radiation levels 24-hours a day 7-days a week and uploads the readings to the Radiation Network every minute and is displayed on the National Radiation Map, where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time.
The daily minimum, maximum, and average readings are also displayed in a visual graphic on our Radiation Levels page for easy reference. We also post the current maps of all radiation monitoring locations across the country along with their current radiation readings.
X-class solar flares that were launched from the sun as it became more active this summer caused spikes in radiation levels measured here in Hawaii that were almost 20-times higher than our normal background radiation levels. As we continue to progress towards a Solar Maximum in 2025 we will continue to monitor solar activity and radiation levels here in Hawaii.
Our radiation monitoring station is currently the only station in the entire Pacific region that continuously monitors radiation levels, making us the only early warning system for the West Coast of the Continental US.
Terrestrial & Space Weather Monitoring . . .
Weather is unpredictable in Hawaii, and we monitor it closely to be better prepared for possible hurricanes, typhoons, and other deadly storms, as well as tsunamis which have the potential to cause damage and disrupt the lives of those living in Hawaii.
Over the past few years major advancements have been made in the field of Space Weather and we are now starting to understand how weather conditions deep in space caused by our sun affect the terrestrial weather here on Earth, the geomagnetic shield protecting the Earth from harmful radiation from space, as well as how it can affect radio propagation. Satellites from NASA and other agencies positioned in space measure multiple different aspects of Space Weather and these measurements are now starting to be used to predict weather changes, and even predict earthquakes. This data is posted each day on our Space Weather page for reference.
In addition to relying on monitoring performed by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, we also have our own weather station set up at our office to track atmospheric changes as well as air pollutants and automatically upload those readings directly to the NWS. We also have a second portable weather station installed on a vehicle that can be set up on-site at an evacuation shelter to document local readings after a disaster.
We monitor these weather changes so that we can better be able to respond to emergency situations here within our community. The current data recorded from our KH6ERO Weather Station can be viewed on our website. A new lightning sensor is being installed shortly and its data will also be integrated into the weather data from our station.
Volcano Monitoring . . .
Because of the many active volcanoes we have located in Hawaii and their recent eruptive activity which has disrupted the lives of many of our citizens and visitors and the massive localized destruction they can cause, we closely monitor all six active volcanoes; Kīlauea, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, Kama‘ehuakanaloa, and Haleakalā. We post the latest Alert Level from each volcano from the USGS on our Home page in an easy to reference visual graphic.
Air Quality Monitoring . . .
Also because of the many active volcanoes we have located in Hawaii and their recent eruptive activity which spew toxic chemicals and ash particles into the air which affect the health and safety of people in our community, we have set up an Air Quality meter to test the Air Quality Index readings each day and then display the reading in an easy to read graphic chart on our Home page.
We also fly the corresponding EPA Air Quality pennant on our flag pole each day as a visual reference to the citizens of the community as they pass by our office in Aiea. Here is a reference chart for what each flag color means. Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators is one of only two organizations in the entire State of Hawaii registered with the EPA Air Quality Flag Program to inform the public of hazardous air conditions.
In emergency situations and disaster recovery operations we also have a portable Air Quality meter than can be set up to take Air Quality readings on-site wherever it is needed.
Unfortunately the Hawaii Department of Health can not be relied on to provide accurate air quality information as their system mysteriously goes offline and stops reporting data each time the winds die down and the air quality starts to suffer as you can see from the image below showing that all three of their monitoring stations were showing "No Data" along with an image of our own air quality sensor taken at the same time showing the actual "unhealthy" air quality conditions at the time. Both screenshots were taken on 13 OCT 2022 at 8:09am HST.
Disaster Information Resources . . .
Disasters happen, that's just a fact of life in Hawaii, and we all need the latest information and resources so that we can prepare for and recover from those disasters. This is why we are making resources available on our website such as the Oahu Hurricane Shelter List as well as an interactive Map of Oahu Hurricane Shelters which will show you at a glance which shelters have been opened, and which are closed. Our map will automatically update with the latest shelter information. We have also included an interactive Oahu Tsunami Evacuation Zone Map. We have more resources that we are currently working on that will be added soon.
Missing Children . . .
We care about protecting the most vulnerable people of our community, so whenever an Amber Alert is issued for the state of Hawaii from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, it is immediately posted on our Home page to assist in getting the word out about the missing child to aid in their recovery. Whenever possible we will also assist with any local searches for missing children.
Our Youth . . .
In support of future generations, donations will also be used to provide scholarships for underprivileged youth. Funds will be used to pay their license examination session fees and purchasing their first ham radio once they become licensed by the FCC.
This offers them a chance to enter the ham radio community and expand their knowledge of science and electronics which are two under-taught areas in our public education system today. We feel this will give youth a rewarding skillset and allow them to become an active part in a group that will mentor them to learn to help others, and lessen their chances of becoming involved with gangs or drugs, which will enable them to become productive members of society as they grow up.
Our Veterans . . .
Another focus is our local veterans. They have given of themselves to support our community and we want to help support them as they return home. We are currently working on plans to implement a Veteran Suicide Prevention Program in which we will be working with at-risk veterans to get their FCC Amateur Radio license and help them acquire and set up amateur radio equipment so that they can interact with a larger community through ham radio, increase their positive outlook on life, and hopefully brighten their future and lower their chances of committing suicide due to isolation.
Our Volunteers . . .
100% of your donation will be used for our stated charitable purposes. Unlike other charities, we do not pay multi-million dollar salaries to a CEO or Board of Directors, we are all volunteers who are licensed amateur radio operators and concerned citizens who are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our communities and want to make Hawaii a better place to live for everyone.
Your Donations Are Tax-Deductible . . .
The Internal Revenue Service has determined Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators, Inc. to be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) for both federal and state income tax and has recognized us as a public charity under Section 509(a)(2). Donors can deduct contributions they make to HERO under IRC Section 170. Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators, Inc, is listed in the Internal Revenue Service PUB 78 database of tax-exempt organizations.
We are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under Section 2055, 2106, or 2522.
We are also registered with the Hawaii Attorney General as a public charity operating within the state of Hawaii for fundraising and have been added to their publicly accessible database of Hawaii charities.
A receipt for all donations of $250 or more will automatically be given to the donor, and a receipt for any donation amount may be requested to be used for tax purposes. To request a donation receipt, please Contact Us.
If the donation made is non-monetary, It is the donor’s responsibility to determine the value of the donated items.
The IRS form 8283 is used to document Non-Cash Charitable Contributions valued at $500 and more. The following link to the IRS website is provided for your convenience: IRS Form 8283.
We are committed to continuing to strive for complete transparency.
For those wishing to support Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators with a larger tax deductible contribution, we also have several levels of Sponsorships available.
ONLINE DONATION OPTION COMING SOON
Tax-deductible donations in the form of a check or money order can also be sent by mail to:
Hawaii Emergency Radio Operators, Inc.
98-1047 Oliwa Street,
Aiea, HI 96701
Exempt organizations must allow for public inspection and copying of their exemption applications, determination letters, and annual reports. Because we believe in transparency, PDF copies of our applications, determination letters, and annual reports may be downloaded on this page.
Our 501(c)(3) Application can be viewed here.