I attended the 2006 session in Seattle along with Tom Cox VE6TOX the Edmonton EC and Dan VE6GDM another ham from Edmonton. I learned a lot and was quite impressed with the wide variety of courses. One keynote speaker was a senior onsite manager with FEMA who was there for Hurricane Katrina. Other sessions I attended were from folks who had volunteered there. They had a number of useful lessons.
For example APRS in the Red Cross hot meal trucks would've been highly useful so the net control operator, who was a local, could tell folks, who were from out of town, how to get to their food distribution points and not have to depend on local landmarks which no longer existed.. If there were any street signs left chances are they were twisted enough that you couldn't trust them.
Or to bring a directional VHF antenna with you as sometimes you have to setup your communications gear deep inside a building and you can't run an antenna outside. You need to punch that signal through the walls and such.
Needless to say highly recommended. The Comm Academy is held on a weekend every spring. I'm not sure how many people attended in 2006 but I'd say there were about 600 or so. Registration was $20 plus $10 each for the two lunches. Just enough to cover the cost of renting the venue. And they've found inexpensive hotel rooms. I see the rates this year were $79 US a night. 2006 might've been slightly cheaper.
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