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The Salvation Army SATERN Program Image

The Salvation Army SATERN Program

A global network of radio operators saving lives, reuniting families and relaying vital information around the world during global disasters


What is SATERN?

The Salvation Army's SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) program is a globally recognized, international fellowship of ham radio operators that provides necessary communication to and from disaster sites around the world.

It’s amazing to think that Amateur Radio operators have had such a remarkable impact on the world thanks, in part, to the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN). The number of lives saved, families reunited, and vital information relayed by these volunteers is beyond measure. Time and again, SATERN serves as the only communications link to the outside world during a disaster.

Here is how it all began...and how it continues:

Before there was SATERN, there was SAROF—the Salvationist Amateur Radio Operators Fellowship founded by Major Carl J. Lindstrom (W9JSF) in the late 1950’s for “strengthening those bonds of faith and common interest which link us together as Salvationists [enrolled Salvation Army church members] and amateur radio operators.” Over time, an increasing number of non-Salvationist operators began participating in SAROF which eventually became the Salvation Army Radio Operator’s Fellowship reflecting its expanded membership base.

As early as 1958 SAROF members were already providing essential Amateur Radio emergency communications in times of need. The War Cry reported:

“Last spring when a devastating tornado hit the Colfax area of Northern Wisconsin, Major [Carl] Lindstrom was instrumental in helping to organize communications for Salvation Army personnel operating in that area. In this effort more than 150 Wisconsin radio amateurs took part, handling health and welfare messages and relaying reports and instructions from the divisional office in Milwaukee.”

SAROF was active until 2016 when it was discontinued.

In the late 1980’s, a small international group of four SAROF members from the United States and Canada—Harold Gibson (VE3NKU), Ernie Reid (VE3BIX), Art Evans (KA9KLZ later N9KQ) and Captain Patrick E. McPherson (WW9E)—began discussing how they could provide emergency communications for The Salvation Army. These four were the nucleus of a new international emergency communications group—the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network or SATERN—which held its first Net session on Saturday, June 25, 1988. Three months later, SATERN began its mission in earnest, assisting with handling Health & Welfare messages after Hurricane Gilbert, still the second most powerful Atlantic Basin hurricane in history, devastated portions of the Caribbean and Central America. Recognizing its increasingly important role over the ensuing 30-plus years in responding to hurricanes in the United States, the Caribbean and Central America, SATERN officially partnered with the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) in 2021 to assist with incoming Health & Welfare messages and provide relays of incoming hurricane conditions and damage reports from the impacted areas.

In 1993 SATERN again demonstrated its ability to utilize new technological advancements by creating the first official SATERN website——only two years after the very first website had been introduced in 1991. In 2022, was replaced by

Within its first ten years SATERN had more than proved its value and was recognized as an official part of the Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) program in the United States. Major, Pat McPherson (WW9E) was appointed as the first National SATERN Liaison—a position he held from then until his retirement from The Salvation Army in 2011. Major McPherson was posthumously awarded the prestigious Certificate In Recognition of Exceptional Service by National Headquarters for founding SATERN shortly after being Promoted to Glory and becoming a Silent Key on May 14, 2016.

Since the founding of SATERN, its volunteer operators have served both The Salvation Army and the public with vital communications in support of responders and survivors of significant national and international disasters by:

  • Transmitting messages of health and wellbeing from survivors inside domestic and international disaster areas to their friends and families.
  • Connecting concerned families with appropriate agencies to help locate their loved ones inside disaster areas.
  • Relaying communications to assist Salvation Army incident command personnel with tactical and logistical coordination in support of their disaster services mission.

Disasters often result in high volumes of emergency communications. Occasionally the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated the SATERN frequency as temporarily restricted to emergency communications only as it did in 1998 during Hurricane Mitch.

In 2005, following Hurricanes Katrina’s and Rita’s landfalls on the Gulf Coast, SATERN was assigned an emergency call sign on a federal frequency. SATERN operators used all available modes of communication to save lives by directing emergency personnel to people trapped in houses and on rooftops. Over 61,000 missing person requests were received and 25,508 were located. National SATERN Liaison Major Pat McPherson (WW9E) commented, “It appeared the entire amateur radio population of the United States pitched in to assist, including 50 operators from the Texas National Guard.”

Today, SATERN continues to respond to disasters employing both traditional Amateur Radio technology and increasingly sophisticated Amateur Radio and non-Amateur Radio technology to meet the needs of the moment. Operators train regularly, serving in vital roles relaying communication during first responder training exercises. This prepares disaster service providers for whatever man and mother nature can throw their way.

Internationally, SATERN has spread globally with operators registered from all over the world including Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Canada, Bermuda, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. Consequently, SATERN has been invited to talk at several international Amateur Radio gatherings including two Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) Conferences and the 2016 IARU Region 2 (Americas) General Assembly held in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Emergency Disaster Services (EDS)

Get more information about The Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services and sign up to become a SATERN volunteer.

Visit EDS Website

SATERN USA Territorial Coordinators

SATERN Liaison to NHQ

Maj. Michele Heaver
K8EDS (formerly KC8NAI)
Email Major Heaver

Central Territory Coordinator

Eastern Territory Coordinator

Maj. Tom Dingman
Email Major Dingman

Harry Bauder
Email Harry Bauder

Southern Territory Coordinator

William H. "Bill" Feist III
Email Bill Feist

Joe Bassett

Email Joe Bassett

Western Territory Coordinator

Ian Anderson
Email Ian Anderson

SATERN Divisional Coordinators

Great Lakes

Dick Seeley
Email Dick Seeley

David W. Johnson
Email David W. Johnson


Anthony Stokes
Email Anthony Stokes

Kansas-Western Missouri

Herbert Fiddick
Email Herbert Fiddick

Diana Fiddick


Adam Menne
Email Adam Menne


John Desmond
Email John Desmond

Northern & Central Illinois

Scott DeSantis
Email Scott DeSantis


Mary Joseph
Email Mary Joseph

Wisconsin / Upper Michigan

Scott Ruesch
Email Scott Reusch

Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands

Miguel Rivera
Email Miguel Rivera













Bill Feist
Email Bill Feist

North & South Carolina

Michael W. Patterson
Email Michael W. Patterson











Del Oro

Lauren M. Styles
Email Lauren M. Styles


Ian Anderson
Email Ian Anderson











High Frequency Radio Nets

SATERN provides emergency communications support to the Salvation Army wherever needed on site, at the local level, via VHF/UHF Nets. During wide-spread emergencies (hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, etc.), the 14.325 kHz Net becomes emergency traffic and H & W Net provides tactical assistance to those on site and handles outgoing H & W messages. The 14.325 kHz Net is generally on the air from 1200Z to approximately 0100Z during times of wide-spread emergency.

View High Frequency Radio Nets