Having just earned and received my Technician Class Amateur Radio License, I started looking around for a way to incorporate Disney into my newfound hobby. Did you know there’s a radio network at Disney World that visitors to the area can use?
It’s called the Disney Emergency Amateur Radio Service, or D.E.A.R.S. for short, and it has several transmission stations or repeaters in the 2M and 60cm bands scattered about the Walt Disney World Property.
While the system is open for use by the public, only licensed amateur radio operators, or Hams, can legally transmit on the system.
In times of natural disaster or other emergency, amateur radio is sometimes the only link to other parts of the country and the outside world when cell phone lines and land lines are down. The D.E.A.R.S. repeater system helps to provide that necessary link to the outside world in times of trouble.
In 2006, the National Weather Service recognized the Walt Disney World Resort as a StormReady® Community. As the first theme park and resort in the nation to achieve this recognition, Walt Disney World joined more than 1,050 StormReady® communities throughout the United States.
According to the D.E.A.R.S. website, the Disney World repeater system is a small part of a larger system.
“The 147.300+ repeater at Walt Disney World is now part of the Disney Amateur Radio Interconnect system. DARI for short. This system links together multiple Disney, ABC, and ESPN locations across the country. When you are talking on one, you’re talking on them all.” –D.E.A.R.S. Website
The repeater frequencies are:
147.300 +.600 PL Tone 103.5
145.110 -.600 PL Tone 103.5
444.000 +5.00 PL Tone 103.5
442.500 +5.00 PL Tone 103.5
You would think that a repeater system on Disney World property would be extremely busy, but in reality it’s actually pretty quiet.
“Not too many of our guests are aware of the 147.300 machine, and the locals that use it are usually busy behind the scenes “creating magic”. If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World resort, we encourage you to make use of our repeaters. You may have to listen for a while or call CQ to bring us out of the wood work. Either way, please don’t be offended if you don’t get a response. It’s not that we don’t want to talk to you, (after all, we’re hams) we may just be out sprinkling a little pixie dust.” –D.E.A.R.S. Website
So the next time you’re in the area, bring your handheld Ham radio and introduce yourself on the net. I’ll be bringing mine!