Mission and History
Mercer Island Radio Operators (MIRO) is a group of amateur radio operators who volunteer their time to provide back-up communications for the City of Mercer Island and its Police and Fire Departments in the event of natural or man-made emergencies. MIRO was founded in 1993 by Ron Elsoe, Former Mercer Island Public Safety Director and Bob Farmer, N7SJW.
MIRO Operating Authority and Affiliations
MIRO operates under the authority of the City of Mercer Island Department of Emergency Management, led by Emergency Manager Amanda Keverkamp. In addition, MIRO operates under the aegis of the ARRL Western Washington Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). We report directly to the Mercer Island Emergency Operations Center EOC and, as directed, to the King County EOC.
MIRO has a radio room at the Mercer Island City Hall located adjacent to the MI Police Department Operations Center. MIRO also has a back up radio room located in the Mercer Island Community and Event Center at Mercerview (MICEC). Additionally there are VHF and UHF voice radios at the north and south fire stations on Mercer Island.
Voice communications are facilitated through the use of VHF and UHF radio repeaters located on a shared communication tower located at the Mercer Island water reservoir on the highest point on Mercer Island. These repeaters accept low-level signals from radios around the island and repeat them so that they are clearly audible on most parts of the island as well as on many off island locations.
MIRO also provides for email and other digital communications capability on VHF and two UHF gateway frequencies. These digital communications allow computer-to-computer connections for those MIRO amateurs with digital equipment. When all other internet service is down, as long as the emergency generators are powering the gateways, email can be sent anywhere in the world. Additionally with the appropriate software and HF radio capability an operator can communicate with email without the gateways in operation. The services are called WINLINK.