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Let’s Make This 1-2-3 Easy!

CAVERN exists to help the whole Cobb community organize for disasters. As I write this, the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to change millions of lives with social distancing, and it will be back every year for the foreseeable future. Radios are a great way to keep in touch without meeting in person, but they’re useful for other things too…

Having a radio and knowing how to use it, even just locally, could very well save your life someday —not because you avoided a wildfire— because you might need it just to go shopping safely!

So, we’re going to give you three easy steps to equip yourself with this critical and potentially life-saving communication tool. You can do this!

[1] Get a Radio

First thing: obtain the tools. In this case, that means get yourself a radio! The easy way is for us to do it for you. All you need to do is contact CAVERN Network Control by email and ask us to get you a radio (we try to keep a few on hand). Your radio comes pre–programmed, so once you’ve charged it up, there’s only one other really complicated thing you have to do: TURN IT ON!

[2] Tune to CAVERN’s Network

Here’s a convenient one-page Guide for what to do after you power your radio on: set it to the correct channel! We probably already did that for you, but you need to know how to do this anyway, because there are options later on. You can print out the Guide and put it on your Refrigerator.

The Guide (thumbnail below) explains the differences between the two basic radios we use, which Channels we talk on with each other, and a few other details about Radios and Channels in case you’re curious. If you want to know more, we have information about our Recommended Radios on this site.

CAVERN’s Radio & Channel Guide.

NOTE: you are not limited to only these two radios: you may already own radios and know how to program them (or we may be able to program them for you). Still, these two radios were chosen for good reasons and they make it easy for you to get started because we set them up for you so they arrive ready for you to enjoy all the tasty radio tidbits out there right away.

[3] Check In & Meet Your Peeps!

Once you have a radio and you’ve charged it, turned it on and tuned it to the right channel, it’s time to join the community at a Radio Check-In. There’s plenty of information about how to do that on this website.

Every Wednesday at 6:30pm is the Main Radio Check-In.

We’ve started Open Community Chats every weeknight at 6:30pm during the COVID-19 outbreak. These are informal conversations with a simple theme: ensuring that all of us —especially our elderly and at-risk brothers and sisters— are OK during the Pandemic.

We’ve also launched our Fire Season schedule early for 2020 with Admin Check-Ins on Saturdays at 1:00pm because there have already been fires and it’s only just Spring.

Saturday admin check-ins are open for everyone to listen to (we also test our Emergency Alert channel). Our GMRS radio operators practice and demonstrate how we can all relay and connect the different mountain and valley areas (some of which are harder to reach).

Our GMRS Licensed radio operators are an important connective element in the CAVERN network because they (A) have more powerful radios, and (B) a “License to Talk” from the FCC. You too can be a GMRS operator pretty easily: you just need a more powerful radio that can be programmed with out frequencies and the FCC license fee. Our GMRS operators relay traffic for those with low-Watt radios to keep everyone connected in emergencies.

Note: the sidebar may have different schedule info, but this schedule is in place indefinitely starting 22 March 2020.

For very detailed information on our Weekly Radio Check-Ins, you can download the Intro to Network Control PDF, which includes the script that Network Control uses to direct our network. Learn how we use these and similar techniques to organize ourselves!

A Radio Check-In is basically just a “roll call” on the airwaves. We do this so everyone gets some practice, but it’s also so we know which people in the community are really prepared. Note: eventually, we think that every single person in the CAVERN network should know how to run the network in case there’s a really serious emergency and there’s nobody else but… YOU!