The FCC's decision to delete the amateur service from the 3.3 - 3.5 GHz allocation sent a chill down my spine. The message is clear: we must use our super high frequencies (SHF) or risk losing even more access. There is ever-increasing demand by our served partner agencies for higher speed data, digital voice and image transfer, the kinds of data rates that are made possible by the greater bandwidth afforded by our access to the SHF spectrum. There are many forward-thinking amateur groups around the country that are exemplary.

The 5 cm amateur band was recently used for filing a wildfire report - on September 8, 2020, two hams in the Puget Sound region of Washington State were watching the live camera feed from the Mt. Baldy HamWAN site and spotted and reported a wildfire in the surrounding forest. The Ham Wide Area Network is a system of commercial microwave radios tuned to the 5.65-5.925 GHz amateur radio band. Data speeds between the link sites vary depending on the path, but speeds four orders of magnitude faster than 9600 baud packet is common. Video cameras with PTZ control have been added to many of the link sites.

The use of HamWAN as a backup emergency communications system throughout the Interstate-5 corridor in Washington is growing. The Washington Emergency Management Division EOC, the Washington State Department of Transportation Southwest Region EOC, two county and four city EOCs, three hospitals, and one Red Cross office already have permanent connections (so far).

The Northwest Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) Mesh Steering Committee (Lucas County ARES) conducted a drill focused on setting up individually-owned AREDN Mesh gear, troubleshooting and operating the ancillary gear (phones, cameras, laptops, self-contained power boxes) on an individual basis. Numerous law enforcement officers from Wood County as well as from Lucas and Monroe counties in Michigan were enthusiastic about the Mesh Networking capabilities.

In Colorado, the Boulder ATV club installed its new 5.9 GHz, FM-TV beacon transmitter on a government building for the purposes of encouraging microwave experimentation; to get hams to try ATV, especially with the really low cost FM-TV gear now available for drones; to be used as a known signal source for testing antennas and receivers; and to increase usage of our microwave bands, to help prevent their being taken away from us.

Use it or lose it. Add microwave apps to your ARES toolkits. There is a wealth of information from ARRL to get you started. A quick click on any search engine will lend more.