SATERN Is Not Your Destination

by Ken Standard, AD5XJ
SATERN So. Terr. SSB Net Mgr.
SATERN Int. Digital Net Mgr.



Before we get too far into this editorial, let me make this note. If you are offended by a discussion about God or religion or Faith – membership in SATERN is not for you. It is as simple as that. If you join SATERN because of the work we have done over the years supporting and promoting the work of The Salvation Army, read on.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of SATERN. That means that some 30 years ago a Salvation Army Captain by the name of Pat McPherson saw a vision where ham radio could benefit the work and ministry of The Salvation Army (TSA). Our founder had Faith in the vision that God could use the tool of ham radio to further the mission of the work TSA does as they reach out to survivors, victims, and volunteer workers during and after a disaster.

Those humble beginnings of Maj. (then Capt.) Pat and a few others saw that vision and moved toward making it a reality. One thing is true then as it is today: SATERN is not an ending – it is a beginning.

Had Maj. Pat seen the establishment of SATERN as an ending, he could have been content with that and just retired. Instead, he expanded his vision with each new opportunity. The reading of SATERN history shows many opportunities were afforded SATERN, and SATERN members were there to respond.

Today, we want to call to your attention that, becoming a member of the SATERN team is not an end unto itself. Instead it begins a new adventurous, and exciting beginning of dedication and service. SATERN is here to serve. We serve the Emergency Services Division (EDS) of The Salvation Army and the broader Emergency Communications community.

We also provide tactical, logistical, and technical communication services for EDS. Whether in training, practice, or actual deployment to service, SATERN is here to provide the needed communication necessary to enhance the already meritorious work EDS and TSA are known for. Across North America, the Caribbean, and beyond, SATERN has volunteers who are on the air regularly as SATERN volunteers.

This on-air participation is a testament to the original spirit that inspired Maj. Pat and others, to begin SATERN.

We are not done yet. Not only are SATERN leaders not content with were we have come, we are inspired to do more. More means becoming better ham radio operators, challenging our skills, honing them, expanding them, and becoming a more valuable asset in our service to EDS. We also are expanding in the area of public awareness and recognition.

This past month, our National SATERN Liaison for TSA (Bill Feist, WB8BZH) traveled to two significant events – The National EDS Conference and the Dayton Hamvention. He attended each of these events as a SATERN representative and to increase the awareness of who we are and what we do.

While some may feel that is his job, the seeming tireless efforts of Bill Feist are not entirely his responsibility. That is where individual SATERN members must continue that vision Maj. Pat began and exists today. He had the inward Faith that his favorite hobby could be an important tool EDS could use to further the mission of TSA:

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

More than 140 years later, The Salvation Army stretches across the globe and has a presence in more than 125 countries, with its international headquarters in London, England. The Salvation Army is dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and ministering to human need wherever needed.

Disaster Services

The Salvation Army began offering assistance to disaster survivors after a major hurricane hit Galveston, TX in September 1900, destroying the coastal city and killing thousands of people. At the request of The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Frederick Booth-Tucker, officers (the clergy of The Salvation Army) from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed emotional and spiritual support.

Since then, The Salvation Army has responded to numerous natural disasters, transportation accidents, civil unrest situations and terrorist attacks. By providing beverages, meals, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors, The Salvation Army strives to bring hope and healing to people who find themselves in the midst of extremely difficult situations.

Disaster Relief Services

SATERN is an all volunteer organization made up of currently licensed amateur radio operators. The volunteer their time and efforts toward aiding The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services ministry. Many of us are also volunteers in such all volunteer organizations as SKYWARN, ARES, and others. Some have completed the FEMA online training, or EDS Incident Command training, SKYWARN training, or ARES Emergency Communications training.

SATERN has local organizations in all 50 states and Canada, as well as many other parts of the world. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network has demonstrated its effectiveness by providing essential radio communication services in countless disaster situations, including:

Hurricane AndrewNorthridge earthquake
Plainfield, Ill. tornadoFlorida wildfires
Mississipi River floodsHurricane Mitch
Oklahoma bombingOklahoma City Tornado
Hurricane MarilynHurricane Keith
North Dakota floodsHurricane Katrina
New York City Ground Zero 9/11/2001  Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico & USVI) 22 days
Hurricane Harvey 

Our Mission

The Salvation Army has by inclination and tradition strived to provide service at the point of greatest need in time of disaster. Numerous services are available to alleviate suffering, meet physical needs and provide spiritual counseling and support by TSA and EDS.

The purpose of SATERN is to acquire and train personnel skilled in emergency communications and message handling, who will support Salvation Army operations in local, regional and international disaster situations.

Our fervent hope and prayer is that our congregate service may indeed help mitigate the trauma and impede the potential of widespread tragedy that is implicit in disaster.

SATERN is in service to aid the EDS ministry and provide communications and other technical assistance to EDS to enhance the response and effectiveness of what EDS does.

SATERN may assist in handling Health and Welfare requests in times of emergency where normal communication media fails.

SATERN will also partner with cooperating emergency responders and / or disaster relief agencies, where needed, to provide communications media where infrastructure service has been interrupted or where the infrastructure has been destroyed.

SATERN, through its’ network of volunteers, has provided training and education on the SATERN web site satern.org. SATERN also has internal communication for members and leadership through the use of timely technological tools like educational web pages, newsletters, edititorial comments, and chat server facilities provided by the satern.org host provider.

But SATERN is not done yet. We continue to expand or service from the voice and CW only beginnings to the digital radio modes of operation. Now digital messages can span the globe, and ham radio WiFi (known as MESH networks) can provide local networking services where needed by EDS and cooperating sister agencies.

The future of ham radio is still unclear. Because we are wholely governed by the US FCC, we will always be subject to their regulation, that changes with each new Presidential administration, technological innovation, and time. SATERN has taken the approach that no matter the future we will continue to be of service in the same character and vision that Maj. Pat began our organization with. And, we will provide the best of our efforts to EDS to continue the long and storied history of The Salvation Army and SATERN.

73, AD5XJ

Rev. 1.00 2018-07-03 AD5XJ