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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Is There Planning for Hams to Help?

Greg Dean (N9NWO) on August 19, 2004
View comments about this article!

As a member of ARMY MARS, the question came up as to what needs there were for Hams to help in disaster relief with respect to Hurricane Charlie.

Several of us have not noticed a lot of traffic on either Ham or MARS frequencies. The only notice that we had that anyone had seen was for local Hams in Florida. Read this:

Link

I called the National Red Cross. The gentleman that I talked to was also a MARS member. From his comments, it seems that Red Cross has no Ham communication network. Salvation Army has a great group that was deployed.

My thoughts are that ARES needs to be more closely linked to Red Cross for disaster relief. This means that Hams need to take the disaster training and other classes that the Red Cross has in order to be ready to be mobilized in times of disaster.

Any thoughts?

Greg Dean
N9NWO/AAV5ZO (IN)

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well Greg,………I agree with you. But I am also one of those that believe that the ARS justifies itself, at least in part, with it’s potential for Public Service.

Actually, I’m really curious to see what kind of responses you get. The “It’s Only A Hobby” faction has gotten rather vocal over the past year. I have seen several threads in the last few months where open ridicule was expressed towards anyone who suggested that Amateur Radio offered any serious services at all!

If you want a good example of this kind of attitude, see the article “RCEMHS Participates in Disaster Drill “by Doug Reed on July 1, 2004.

Best of luck………..

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K2GW on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, while the Salvation Army has created it's own Amateur Radio communciations organization (SATERN) the Red Cross uses Amateur Radio through it's Memoradum of Undersatanding with ARRL, which is on the ARRL website. Most folks in ARES will tell you that the Red Cross is one of the prime customers of ARES.

In New Jersey, virtually all of the Red Cross chapters have permanent 2 meter stations which are manned by hams from their county ARES organizations. These are tested in a monthly statewide net controlled by N2ARC at the state lead chapter for disaster services. We just activated the net last Saturday as prep for Hurricane Charley in NJ.

Within the Red Cross, much of their in-house communications capability is on non-ham VHF & UHF frequencies (a luxury the Salvation Army doesn't have), but their national response leadership teams (called DSHR) have a communications specialty posistions that requires a ham license so as to coordinate with the local ARES organizations. Be aware though, that reestablishing telephone and other communications capabilities at a disaster headquarters also goes along with the job. Amateur Radio is just one tool in the kit.

So, if you want to get involved with Red Cross disaster communications, contact your local EC and ask what relationship they have with their Red Cross chapter. If they don't have one, offer to take the lead! Then take the ARRL EmComm certification courses and the Red Cross disaster services courses relating to Damage Assessment, Mass Care and Logistics.

Best of luck in your efforts and thanks for your interest in Public Service!

73

Gary Wilson, K2GW
Southern New Jersey Section Emergency Coordinator, ARRL

American Red Cross DSHR Communications Specialist




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WIRELESS on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe its time for hams to admit they are not needed. This isn't 1925. Hams for the most part have been totally passed by with professional and permanent other resources.

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N0MLR on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well guys as for me I would not Pee on the Red Cross if it were on fire.
Does anyone remember when the Trade Centers went down? The Red Cross took in donations like never before. When things were under control they had a hugh surplus of funds. Funds that were ear marked for the Victims. The powers that were in control wanted to transfer all the left over to the general fund.
I have heard countless people tell of the Red Cross charging for Disaster Relief goods. They are not the Great Humanitarians we are led to believe.
Now to the Topic at hand.......
I went looking for the call for all good Hams to man their radios during the Storms that hit Fla. I checked QRZ, EHAM, and The great ARRL web sight. Not one of these had any information on Nets or Groups that were to be pressed into service to handle traffic. I listened to 80 and 40 meters as well as 15 and 10 meters. I heard a lot of talk but nothing really about trafic in or out of the affected region. A couple of Nets were operating and they had lots of check ins but I never heard any real hurricane traffic. I am sure there was some and I must give credit where it is due. But where were we as a group? Why didint we get any TV coverage showing Hams in the affected areas forwarding on Health and Welfare traffic? How come the phone patches were not dusted off so they could be used for brief exchanges between family members. You guys do remmeber Phone Patches don't you? They were probably the greatest asset to ham radio we had! Imagine how it would feel to talk to a family member in a devastated area and know that it would not have been possible without Hams and their radios. Imagine the good will generated when Hams got thru and all public communications were out of order.
We just need to do a better job. Then maybe we would be invited to the party more often.

73
Greg Dunn / N0MLR
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
WIRELESS:

I don’t think that it’s a case of the ARS no longer being needed: I think that it’ a case of the “Needs” having changed.

The days of a fixed HF station being “the only contact with the outside world” for days on end are long gone. If that’s what you’re thinking about, then you’re probably correct, as far as that goes.

Today, the ARS can still contribute in the area of mobile communication, in a “real time” mode, during an event. The well organized Weather Spotter Nets throughout the country are living proof of this. If you doubt this, just call your local National Weather Service office, and ask them if they consider spotter reports to be important!

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AB5ON on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
There are several aspects to this issue.

1. The need for HF nets for health and welfare. We may be a victim of technology here. Satellite phones are deployed by many agencies, are reliable and not affected by infrastructure damage. There was a time we needed to get information from a disaster area to the "outside" world. Now every TV network has a mobile unit with a satellite link and can send news in real time.

2. Tactical communications on UHF/VHF. In my opinion this is where we stand to have the most impact. When cell systems go down or are overloaded, VHF/UHF repeaters are very effective in establishing communication over a wide area.

In my own experience in Oklahoma City during the Murrah building bombing and during a couple of tornado events, we did not need to handle health and welfare traffic. What was needed was a way to communicate what was needed, where it was needed and who would take care of that need. Our club is affiliated with Salvation Army and provided communication to kitchens, the HQ, and a supply warehouse. Mobile units moved food for rescuers and supplies to the sites as needed. Having an established relationship with the Salavation Army got us almost immediate recognition with the FBI that permited us to get ID badges that allowed us into the bomb site.

Hams provide a valuable resource in that they have equipment, experience, and the ability to activate in an emergency.

I work for a major hospital here in Okla City and they are commited to incorporating ham radio into their disaster plans. We are working on a permanent UHF/VHF base station in the incident command center and have been offering classes taught by local clubs to our employees.

Back to the basic issue in the first post. I think it is important to be aligned with a credible agency, be it Red Cross or Salvation Army, or a state/local agency. We have a lot to offer in terms of service to pay back for all the free bandwidth we are blessed with. So my vote is get connected with established agencies that provide immediate local response rather than waiting for notification of an HF net to start operation.

Rick Martin
AB5ON
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K0RFD on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
N0MLR: you listened on 80, 40, 15, and 10, but you should have checked 20.

Hurricane Watch Net was QRV on 14.325 forwarding local spotter wind and barometric pressure measurements to National Hurricane Center, and SATERN was QRV on 14.265 handling health and welfare traffic. After the storm SATERN handled lots of property damage inquiries from "snowbirds" who were (fortunately) north for the summer.

I believe the bulk of the emergency traffic was on VHF. Several ham clubs in and near the Tampa/St. Pete area were handling traffic on repeaters just outside the severely affected area. In fact, I saw a story on NBC nightly news last night about local hams still handling traffic in and out of the affected areas. Loss of telephone service was severe in this storm; Sprint lost a major switching center that made things much more complicated than the usual problem of downed lines, and a relative in the Sarasota area who drove down to Punta Gorda the day after the storm told me that although the cellphone towers were all still standing, most of the antennas were blown off.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KT3K on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Our SEC here in Kentucky took the initiative to get the answers to the needs in Florida for Hurricane Charley due to a request for assistance posted on ARRL's web site. Here is an excerpt from the response:
----------------------------------------------
Folks,

Our SM, Susan Swiderski, AF4FO has been keeping contact with Sherri Brower, W4STB, Section Manager of SFL and I have been in contact with AE4MR. We
have ARES MAT teams in Georgia who could deploy if needed, but so far, have been advised that we are not needed.

From Susan today:

"I finally got what seems to be a definitive picture of the situation in FL. They ARE still recruiting help, but only from in-state, simply because of the uncertainty of how much longer they will be in operations. Dave, the WFL SM, has been working from the staging area, mostly without telephone or email capabilities. But Sherri finally managed to get thru to him and he verified that more SFL hams were wanted, but not out-of-staters."

FWIW, Susan will be having dinner with Frank Butler, W4RH, SE Division Director and a couple of his other SM's at the Huntsville, AL hamfest this weekend and hopes to get some preliminary agreements in place should assistance be needed in the future.

One other aside. The American Red Cross staged their forward deploy team prior to hurricane landfall in Orlando from the Hurricane Watch Team in Atlanta (bad move in retrospect, but they weathered the storm OK). If any of you have seen the new ARC Emergency Communications Response Vehicles (funded from Homeland Security grants, I believe), you will be interested
to know that the Atlanta ECRV was deployed to Orlando, then when the Houston Vehicle arrived, further forward deployed to Port Charlotte. Both vehicles and their amateur radio operator teams performed remarkably well,
and I believe were a critical first response link in the affected area (e.g. beyond their primary mission of consequence management and mass care). I will be interested to see their after action report. The only
complaint I've heard so far was that the satellite DSL didn't hold up during 105MPH winds and the overcast of the peak of the storm, but did recover once it blew over...


fyi
73 John
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K2GW on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>I don’t think that it’s a case of the ARS no longer being needed: I think that it’s a case of the “Needs” having changed.

Exactly! And ham radio's emergency mission to provide communications "when normal means are disrupted or overloaded" hasn't changed. It's just that we're also working to get the "normal means" restored more quickly!

Hams are in the forefront of the Red Cross teams that use the Red Cross comunnications vans to establish satellite links for data and internet phone capabilities at a Red Cross national disaster headquarters. Are they using a lot of ham radio? No, although the vans have that capability. Are they using a lot of the communciations skills they learned in Amateur Radio. Most certainly!!

In the days following 9/11, Microsoft and Compaq teamed up to develop a database capability with in one day for the Red Cross to track victims and survivors. Since it was hosted at Compaq in Houston, the DWI's for that disaster went there, not to NYC.

Up here, after local phone service was restored, the ham communicators assisted in planning the installation of computer kiosks in commuter rail stations so survivors could register themselves. Was it pure ham radio? No. Was it using disaster communications skills? Most certainly.

One result of that is that we discovered that DWI's into a disater area (something that's never been encouraged) actually worked better if they went to an area (Houston) outside of the disaster area. Since normal communications after 9/11 in Houston were unaffected, most of these went from local Red Cross chapters to Houston via normal telephone circuits. This allowed the hams in NYC to concentrate on tactical trafic supporting recovery.

So now the protocol is for all DWI's for any major disaster in the US is to go to a central Red Cross information center in Washington DC, where all data or survivors and victims is gathered from the on-scene disaster headquarters. Most of these inquiries can ocur on regular phone and data lines. As a result, the need for long lists of ham radio DWI traffic (as recent as the 1989 earthquake on the West Coast) is no longer needed most of the time.

But is there a need for Ham Radio emergency communications? Of course, teams to be deployed to link shelters together on VHF are one obvious example. But our goal (as described in the ARRL EmComm courses) is to help get things working again on normal circuits ASAP. And that means being will to pitch in and help with whatever the communications work is needed, even if it isn't pure ham radio.

73

Gary Wilson, K2GW
SNJ SEC
ARC Disaster Comm Specialist



 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K0RGR on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, there is a Red Cross Communications Course. I took it earlier this year. The emphasis is on restoring telephone/cell phone services because in the great majority of disasters served by RC, those services are available. But Ham Radio is the service they rely on when the phones aren't available. As long as there are disasters like Charley, there will be a need.

Note that ARES is still looking for hams to help with Charley:here's the story -

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2004/08/18/1/?nc=1

I saw one story where a Florida county lost all of its trunked network because its main tower was lost. The local hams stepped in and routed the traffic for the trunked network through their ham repeater network, restoring critical communications. That sounds like a creative way to use ham radio to overcome a disaster, and also illustrates that the more sophisticated these emcomm systems get, the more easily they get taken out.

ARRL has a program underway to enhance the current ARES communications by providing ham and Internet based email capability. This will allow served agencies to use email just as they would normally in the absence of telephone or Internet service. It is hoped that this network will complement, and possibly replace NTS eventually.

Here is a link to info on that project:

http://www.arrl.org/announce/reports-2004/july/arescom.html

I and several other locals intend to start working on the VHF side of this project in our area soon.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WX4MAP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
On 8/13/04 HAMS in Montgomery, AL were manning radio stations at their local RED CROSS. As I understand, from the traffic on the local repeater there, the local RC chapter was preparing to deploy Emergency Response Vehicles to the disaster sites.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KE4SKY on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Gary summed up the situation with ARES and ARC quite well, but for wide area disasters where the recovery period is of long duration, the existing ARES planning and organizational process in some sections have numerous "holes." The biggest problem I have seen is in alerting, mobilizing and scheduling operators to provide for rotating shifts for prolonged events which run more than a 12-hour operational period.

ARESMAT and DATs should be prepared and equipped able to operate independently for 72 hours, to include travel time to the deployment site, enable operating a full 12-hour shift, rest-rehab period and return travel time, so as not to place a burden on already strained local resources. Served agencies should, and generally do provide food, water, rest and sanitation facilities to the same extent they do for paid staff.

ARES should have a working relationship in place with the local chapter, and at the District level there should be regional coordination to enable deployment of additional resources to support rotating shift coverage, etc.

In a wide area disaster an entire district may be affected, and the local amateurs are mostly unavailable because they must take care of their homes and families first. A section level plan is needed to identify which operators are available to deploy outside their home county or district, what equipment and transportation capabilities they have, where they are now, and to have a mechanism to alert, mobilize, and transport them to where they are needed.

Once there, you must have a personnel accountability system to check them in, get them briefed on the situation, their assignment, safety concerns, agency policies and procedures. You must ensure they are physically able to safely complete their assignment, have adequate clothing and safety gear if necessary, get their equipment checked, ensure they have maps, job aids, operating plans, and a supervisory structure to ensure safety of field teams, etc.

It is all well and good for ARES operators to have standing assignments with the Red Cross, and to be trained for shelter comms or similar missions. I have also seen cases when ARC grabbed up all the available amateur radio resources and had them waiting for assignment until shelters were set up, or used them to set up shelters rather than comms. This made the operators unavailable for public safety agencies to allocate in support of rapid damage assessment, ground SAR or to assist in the EOC during the response phase.

When you have multiple entities, public safety, hospitals, ARC, etc. all competing for the same limited amateur radio resources, it is necessary for the local office of Emergency Management to set the priorities. This must be the case regardless of whether you have separate ARES and RACES organizations or the ARES structure is serving the RACES function at the local level. The priority for assigning resources lies with the public safety official in charge.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N0PV on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Take a look at http://www.qcen.net for an excellent example of a group that has aligned with the ARC in their area.

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by OBSERVER11 on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
it has been my understanding that the National ARC has ZERO INTEREST in building a ham radio communications network. They utilize LOCAL ham networks, but they do not desire anything larger than local.

They do have a DWI (Disaster Welfare Inquiry) land line based network.

The ARC is more interested to get the local infrastructure back in place. The ARC builds good will by spreading money around after a disaster, so self-reliant hams are not in the mix.

I have been a ARC/DSHR volunteer for nearly 30 years and I finally woke up and joined the Salvation Army where they are tight with other peoples money.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N3ZKP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The Salvation Army in Florida is using hams on most of its disaster units (about 60 of them), as well as at fixed locations, and has installed APRS on ten of our mobile feeding units. Our use of amateur radio is a long standing arrangement, but this is, to my knowledge, our first use of APRS in an actual disaster.

If you want to take a look, go to

http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=w5mel-8

Change the suffix on W5MEL- to check individual units. Note that not all are in FLorida yet. Some are still enroute.

Major Lon Kinley, N3ZKP
Emergency Disaster Services Director
The Salvation Army
Maryland and West Virginia Division
Baltimore, Maryland


 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by W4LOU on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
From one who has been and is going back there this weekend.

It is interesting the speculation of those with calls not in the 4 call sign area.

Yes HF has not been all that used. VHF is THE vital link needed for several reasons.

One, there is virtually no cross-linking between the various agencies and relief groups, like the National Guard, sheriff and fire rescue groups from other counties, let alone the many relief groups IT IS NOT just Red Cross and Salvation Army that is operating, I had an excellent meal from a portable church kitchen meant primarily to minister to the poor, that came a 100 miles and single handedly fed about a thousand last Saturday night in Arcadia and you know THEY were welcome especially after the Salvation Army had to run back to Tampa to replenish at 4:30pm Saturday.

Yes the is some mutual aid trunking but to keep their underchanneled systems from locking up there is very restrictive linking going on there. So one group still can not fully talk or coordinate between each other. And again THEY are not going to give radios to everyone and their brother so the entire relief event can communicate. That would make Field Day look like a tea party.

Now 40 meters has been active to coordinate the different ARES/RACES South Florida sections efforts. checkout 7.242 there are nets every couple of hours or on the fly as needed.

Number 1 - Hams have created an very important backbone. Almost all of the curent active ham station sites in the affected area, are at command, staging, distribution, etc. type sites

As for cell, landlines, nextels...TOTALLY worthless. The snowbirds and relatives up north and the locals calling everyone they can, have made commercial communications very unreliable. Nextels one second direct-connect can take a LONG time to get a beep around here. Only e-mail, which is a part time packet mode verses a circuit holding like voice, is working but everyone know it is not good for logistical discussions especially when it is needed for groups like nets

So VHF (with some UHF) voice is King.

Check out this article from yesterday off the ARRL site.

http://www.remote.arrl.org/news/stories/2004/08/18/1/?nc=1

Yes, commercial technology has effected us, so our role is evolving with it.

But as companies/investers or public service sectors, continue to under provision their systems (of course they will will not be able to afford to bulid/maintain a powerfull enough cell/nextel/trunk/telephone system to totally eliminate Amateur Radio for once in a "Blue Moon" events) we WILL be needed.

Our ability to dynamically adjust the thousands of frequencies and numerous modes and ability to help in leadership roles for long hours under adverse conditions at our own cost, with little complaining or chest beating is what WILL be appreciated by the "Powers" after this event is over.


Louie Delannoy - W4LOU
Jensen Beach, FL
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N3ZKP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
While I'm at the keyboard ...

The Salvation Army has a national MOU with the ARRL. however it is the local unit's responsibility to work out actual operating arrangements with the local SEC and EC. Some areas have and some haven't.

As for SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network), this started as a an organization in metro Chicago to provide operator for our fleet of disaster response units assigned to assist the Chicago Fire Department. The model has been successfully implemented in other areas.

Another component is the HF network currently operating nationwide and in several other countries to provide health and welfare traffic handling. This network operates a 1-hour net on 14.265 on a daily basis and and on an expanded basis during an actual event. There is a nice report on the Emergency Communications forum about one ham's experience with this net.

FWIW, it was the SATERN operator in Honduras who broke the story about the severity of damage caused by Hurricane Mitch several years ago. For many days he was one of the few hams on the air from the affected area.

Lon
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KI6LO on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It will be very interesting to see the final assessment report from the various agencies as to their 'take' on how everything (and everybody) worked together (or not) to handle the storm and aftermath.

I am betting that there will be alot of different summaries as to any system interoperabilities deficiencies and who is identified as the cognizant activity to fix the shortcomings.

Very few will step up and admit that they were not prepared or that they were the weak link.

In my local community, our biggest concern is earthquakes (being located inland Southern California). The Red Cross has closed their local office and all contact is through a remote city appx 100 miles away. I was told this is due to funding which actually does make sense. Our local ARES group is trying to resurrect itself from a period of stagnation but it is a slow go. I just hope we can get everything together before the BIG ONE.

Gene KI6LO
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA1RNE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

According to this article, ARES seems to be the coordinating organization for deploying amateur services. This ARRL effort to coordinate amateur emergency activities was never embraced in Massachusetts because it was looked upon as simply another layer of coordination that isn't needed.

Why? Because for years state emergency management agencies have been charged with coordination of emergency communications, working directly with local government emergency management or Civil Defense directors, not the ARRL ARES groups - and definitely not the Red Cross.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency or MEMA provides this function and works directly with all local town and city Emergency Management (or CD) Directors. It's my understanding that most states have a similar emergency management org structure.

So it seems to me that hams are NOY offering their services to the actual coordinating agencies. I would contact your local emergency management office and start there. You can also get a good overview at the state level by visiting your state's Emergency Management web site.

As a side note, in our state, we always found the Red Cross a bit hard to deal with, as they like to run their own show without other agency involvement. I'm not saying they don't do some good work, but they are what they are.....
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K4UOT on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I cannot comment on planning between the various organizations before Charley. However, after providing VHF communications assistance in Charlotte County on 8/15 and 8/17, I can state that the amateur operators have been the primary communications resource-manning hospitals, shelters, resource distribution centers, and in the search and rescue effort. My experience was that the hams were much better organized and better equiped as a group than all the other organizations that rushed to the disaster scene. The agencies and citizens I have dealt with have been very thankful for the help of the large number of hams participating in the relief effort.

Our local 2 meter net in Sarasota has been very active in passing health and welfare traffic through the NTS, and other regional repeaters are in constant use in staging efforts.

I was one of those, prior to Charley, who believed that ham radio was passe in terms of disaster service. With no electric power, faulty land lines, cellphones, and other communications, ham radio has been an invaluable source of assistance; and I am very proud of the effort. I have already scheduled myself to provide service on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

73 - K4UOT
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA1RNE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

According to this article, ARES seems to be the coordinating organization for deploying amateur services. This ARRL effort to coordinate amateur emergency activities was never embraced in Massachusetts because it was looked upon as simply another layer of coordination that isn't needed.

Why? Because for years state emergency management agencies have been charged with coordination of emergency communications, working directly with local government emergency management or Civil Defense directors, not the ARRL ARES groups - and definitely not the Red Cross.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency or MEMA provides this function and works directly with all local town and city Emergency Management (or CD) Directors. It's my understanding that most states have a similar emergency management org structure.

So it seems to me that hams are NOY offering their services to the actual coordinating agencies. I would contact your local emergency management office and start there. You can also get a good overview at the state level by visiting your state's Emergency Management web site.

As a side note, in our state, we always found the Red Cross a bit hard to deal with, as they like to run their own show without other agency involvement. I'm not saying they don't do some good work, but they are what they are.....
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA1RNE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry for the double post.....the site seems to be getting bogged down this morning...
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let me see ...

The First Repsonders have been issued

1. cellphones
2. SAT cellphones
3. VoIP systems
4. Internet access

and

5. UHF/VHF Tactical radios

oh but wait -- you want them to find a use for HF ...

LOL

But I'm still waiting for the "I saved the world from Hurricane Charley using a 1/2 watt 2m HT radio!!!" that I know is coming any day now...
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N9NWO on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually HF is coming back in a big way for the military. The Army and Marines are purchasing Mobat MICOM 2R radios with ALE for Iraq. Also the Rockwell AN/PRC-150 is being purchased.

HF, especially with ALE, is going to be more important in Homeland Defense.

N9NWO/AAV5ZO/DA4NWO
SSG, MI, USA
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KA0SOG on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It seems to me that ham radio involvement/coordination isn't the issue it may rather be a symptom.

The capabilities of both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are indeed extremely good. Their effectivity may vary from situation or region (which is as much likely the strengths and weaknesses of those indiviuals employed and/or volunteering in that immediate area/activity). What seems to me to be lacking is the two agencies coordinating with each other. Seems to me there is a lot of the same real estate being paid for twice as parallel infrasturcture of the respective groups is duplicated. Perhaps Homeland Defense will somehow sort some of that out.

I have often felt that if ARRL or a pendant body of same was the focal point then any group needing ham radio assistance would coordinate with them. Economies of scale, one vote one voice and no radio left behind. That kind of stuff.


 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N5BEW on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Our local club tried to work with the Red Cross chapter here for a number of years. We put together a nice shack with vhf to hf capabilites but they ran hot and cold with us. We were there during the 1999 OKC tornado. However the ARC wanted the radio room for storage and they all used cell phones anyway so we said goodby. I would suggest supporting the Salvation Army in their communication efforts. Ken KC5OU
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N3ZKP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<< What seems to me to be lacking is the two agencies coordinating with each other. Seems to me there is a lot of the same real estate being paid for twice as parallel infrasturcture of the respective groups is duplicated.>>

It's not quite as simple as you seem to think it is.
If you would like to drop me an email, I'd be happy to discuss this with you, but not on a public forum.

Lon
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K4RAF on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Evolving solutions to rapid restoration of communications have leaped a giant step forward, post 9/11, leaving ham radio "grappling to find a purpose" after about 24 hours:

http://www.dailywireless.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2931

Voice NTS is no longer efficient at handling messages out of "the affected area". Not when routine messages include phone numbers & even email addresses. It is humorous to think the ARRL could just hand out NTS Phonecards & stop with the daily circa-1974 charade on HF.

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WPE9JRL on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Who cares...I don't.

Yawn.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by G3SEA on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Come ,Come WPE9JRL ! That statement is NOT in the Amateur Spirit :( I just hope you are never the victim of one of these disasters.

Those unfortunate folk in Florida need ALL the help they can get and if Hams can provide it ( any mode and any system ) then so much the better.

I monitored the ECHO/IRLP Skywarn Echolink node during Hurricane Charly and much activity was evident from hams using repeaters and links with their VHF/UHF Mobiles,HT's and Laptops.The Hams did a good job over there.

73 & Aloha :)

KH6/G3SEA
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
GHOSTRIDERHF:

I think you’re missing the point. Yes, it’s true that the Paid, Professional “First Responders” are equipped with: Cell phones , SAT cell phones, VoIP systems, and Internet access. These tools let them talk to each other, and to their support networks. (Although I have never talked to one of those guys who considered a Cell Phone to be a serious tool outside of major urban areas.)

There is one important thing that all that high tech commo gear WON’T do:…..It can’t tell them where they need to be as the event unfolds! That information still has to trickle in from the field in the old fashioned ways; and that is where the ARS is still providing very useful service.

Consider the Severe Weather Spotter Nets as an example: This is a very common function where the ARS is heavily involved. In the Springtime, in the Great Plains portion of the country, net activations in dozens of counties occur virtually every day. In the case of a major event, hundreds of counties may be on alert over a multi-state region.

When the Severe Weather occurs, these spotters are already in the field. They are frequently the ones who provide the first hard information concerning where aid is needed.

I realize that you’re anxiously looking forward to some overly dramatic post, so that you can heap on the ridicule:…………If that’s what gets you off, I guess it’s ok with me. I just think that if you haven’t figured out a way to use your skills and knowledge for the good of the community, you shouldn’t be quite so quick to criticize those that have.

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KG6VQE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Sadly, there is no effort to bring AR in the ARC. We had a local Red Cross Volunteer talk at our club, and the Local Chapter of the ARC has a radio room, but on their discrete frequencies. He said local Hams can get involved, but after they take the Volunteer Course. Mostly, it is about driving the mobile soup kitchen around. They depend of Telephone, and their own VHF links to communicate.
The best part was what I heard in Florida and Charlie. There were NO Comm facilities...So local Hams set up portable links, to communicate. Phone lines, and Cell sites (dependant on power and Microwave links) were down. Amateur Radio provided direct relief.
Maybe the ARC will see the value of AR yet (maybe not)
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KG6VQE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Won't they be affected by BPL? What will they do, order BPL off the frequencies, when noise conflicts occur? I said in a previous post, no one cares about HF anymore, it is for VHF and above Freq's, and the FCC charging Millions for small slices of channels. The Below 30 Mhz, crowd has been ignored, so the vultures moved right in, and made BPL viable, so the Energy companies can get their feet wet with the unlimmited potential of the Internet.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The question isn't 'are hams helpful', because sometimes they are. The question is 'why do hams continue to think that obsolete activites help'?

Take Charley, for example:

Ham perspective: HWN was very helpful
NOAA perspective: What HWN?

Ham perspective: Cell service unreliable
Industry perspective: Cell service nearly doubled normal traffic in affected areas

Ham perspective: Internet unreliable
Government perspective: Internet up and in use when FL hams couldn't get out, causing HWN to shut down for lack of traffic

It's kinda like the guys who know a little bit about how weather spotters operate in one area and generalize to "the government relies on hams to coordinate weather spotting."

Ham perspective: NWS couldn't do weather spotting without the ARS
NWS perspective: A couple of districts use hams a lot, a couple of others use them somewhat, most districts don't bother.

This self-delusion is fascinating to watch, in a train-wreck sort of way. For instance, ARES guys the country over will tell you that hams will be there when the pros fail. Reality: Most parts of the country have dying or dead ARES groups, and in many parts of the country (including mine) the ARES group can't manage to get all their repeaters linked up 1 week in 3 for the checkin nets.

Why is the ARC not interested in "professional communicators"? Because it wants its volunteer disaster service workers to have more skills that just communication. Let's face it folks, being able to run an HT just ain't that valuable anymore.

People in Florida, right now, don't care if some random ham can spell their name right on an NTS form. They care about cooling, clean water, sanitation, electricity, shelter, and so forth. And, sadly, many of them have no one outside the area who needs to know if they're safe.

If you think it's not just a hobby, at least try to understand it in the context of the 21st century. it hasn't been 1950 for 50 years, folks.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K2GW on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>Sadly, there is no effort to bring AR in the ARC.

Actually, that may be true at your location, but you can't make a sweeping generalization from it. And have your local Red Cross folks also check out the ARC Disaster Communications Manual if they don't think they need Amateur Radio as a back-up.

To prove it, just go to www.qrz.com and look up N2ARC. All that Amateur Radio Equipment in the picture was bought by the Red Cross and is manned by the operators from Mercer County ARES. Just about all of the the other Red Cross chapters in NJ also have purchased and installed 2 meter equipment.

Just this past Saturday, the Red Cross asked us to do a check to make sure that the 2 meter network was functional when they activated their Hurricane Watch staff. Up here they know the value of Amateur Radio as back-up to phones which we lost on Spetember 11, 2001 and in last years blackout.

73

Gary Wilson, K2GW
SNJ SEC
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N9NWO on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We are not technically speaking of planning for a disaster but disaster relief. Once we go into disaster relief, groups like the Red Cross and Salivation Army take the lead over the local Emergency Management agency.

ARES is better for disaster relief while MARS is better working with law enforcement and emergency management during the crisis.

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K6BBC on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
An organized amateur radio corps for emergencies is no longer needed. Amateurs should always be prepared for ad hock service. Organized groups of HALL MONITORS only serve to cause confusion.

K6BBC
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by W4SPA on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As hurricane Charley approached the West coast of Florida, suddenly strengthened, and then made landfall South of Tampa FL, the Montgomery Amateur Radio Club, Montgomery, Alabama was contacted by the Red Cross to assist in manning the their radios. The ARC Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) were being staged here in Montgomery to be dispatched into the affected areas of Florida. We were first notified at about 10:00AM on Friday morning, 8/13/2004 and by 2:00PM we had enough volunteer radio amateurs contacted and scheduled to cover the entire weekend. Our primary task was to talk the EVR's into the local area and direct them to the local ARC chapter building. We also assisted the EVR crews by making local hotel arrangements and giving them talk out support to refueling points and onto Tallassee, FL. Since the ERVs were arriving at all hours and were coming from all over the Eastern US, we continuously manned the Red Cross radios and monitored the Hurricane Net on 20 meters throughout the entire weekend. We kept local ARC personnel informed of real time storm position and damage reports. We stood down our operation at 9:00AM on Sunday, 8/15/2004. So please don't think that amateur radio club's can't help out when needed. The local chapter of the ARC was very grateful for our support.

Scott Poole, W4SPA
Vice President, Montgomery Amateur Radio Club
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> we continuously manned the Red Cross radios and
> monitored the Hurricane Net on 20 meters throughout
> the entire weekend.

Was it boring, monitoring the HWN, during the long parts of the weekend that the net was off the air?

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> We are not technically speaking of planning for a
> disaster but disaster relief. Once we go into
> disaster relief, groups like the Red Cross and
> Salivation Army take the lead over the local
> Emergency Management agency.

Not really, no. The ARC and the SA take the lead in *providing* certain kinds of relief, but coordination and management remain in the hands of the "local Emergency Management agency."

> ARES is better for disaster relief while MARS is
> better working with law enforcement and emergency
> management during the crisis.

You forgot RACES and REACT.

and the fact that MARS rarely works with law enforcement before, after, or during disasters.

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by W4CNG on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As was stated way up in this thread, ARES-MAT was not requested from Georgia. Everything is being handled locally in Florida by a well organized group of well trained Hams. It is very obvious to all of us listening on HF that 90% of the communications is being handled on VHF/UHF frequencies locally. Every state should have an ARES-MAT available to deploy. These are the folks that step up to the highest spot on the ladder to serve. During a recent "Deployment Test" in Georgia for served agencies, first responders and served agencies responders (Red Cross, ARES-MAT) rolled into a large parking lot in Atlanta Ga. The drill was on. Who can communicate?? BTW, your cell phones, 800-900 Trunked systems are down, any land based phone systems are down (you cannot use the pay phone on the street corner). How do you communicate?? The Red Cross and the ARES-MAT teams had the only communications off of the site. The Red Cross had their Satellite Van there and the ARES-MAT team had the Cherokee County ARES Trailer there. The Red Cross Sat Van had 12 individual wireless phones tied to the Sat-Van that could call anywhere. The ARES-MAT Trailer had 2 VHF plus 2 UHF communications links plus Direct-TV Video on site. Nuff said. This is not for everyone, but down South, we are PREPARED.
Steve W4CNG
ARES DEC Metro-Atlanta ARES-MAT
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA4MJF on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, MARS can't work with law
enforcement. Posse Comitatius.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KA3RFE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
A number of years ago, the local ARES group tried to initiate involvement with the local Red Cross Chapter. They seemed enthusastic and said they'd use ARES if the people would take disaster action training.

That quickly fell through when it became clear that the Red Cross only wanted ARES members to be volunteers in shelters primarily as DAT workers, not as radio operators.

A few years later, a minor hurricane blew through and guess what? The television stations were pleading for amateurs with 2 meter equipment to go to shelters to provide comms for the Red Cross...

I wasn't active in amateur radio at that time and I do not know what came of it, but the TV stations were repeating the plea for amateurs for hours.

73, Pete KA3RFE
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KA4KOE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When and where was this at? I'd love to do a google search for an article to read.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA1RNE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
N9NWO

The Red Cross is far from being the coordinating agency both during a crisis and for Disaster Relief.
They are however a valuable supporting agency.

Here is an exerpt from the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan for the State of Indiana which I believe you reside.

Notice who the primary coordinating agency is.

Also not that ARES is no where to be found in this plan. That's because amateurs are required to participate in in the local RACES organization, not ARES.

ARES is an ARRL term that does not appear in ANY town or states emergency management plan. It is an effort by the ARRL to insert themselves in emergency communication planning. Nobody up the chain in local and state government has a clue what ARES is and never will.

Here's the link to the Emergency Management Agency for the State of Indiana;

http://www.state.in.us/sema/emerg_mgt/cemp.html#INTRODUCTION

Human Support Section

The Human Support Section consists of the Emergency Support Functions: Shelter and Mass Care, Food and Water, Animal Health, and Donations and Volunteer Management. These Emergency Support Functions directly support those agencies giving aid to victims of disasters and emergencies.


Shelter and Mass Care
Emergency Support Function

Primary Coordinating Agency: State Emergency Management Agency

Support Agencies:

American Red Cross
Salvation Army
Indiana Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters
Indiana State Department of Health
State Board of Animal Health
Military Department of Indiana
Family and Social Services Agency
Department of Education
Indiana State Police
Department of Natural Resources
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AI4DG on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'm speaking as a former volunteer with the American Red Cross, a former Assistant EC for ARES/RACES, and as someone who has operated in the Hurricane Charley disaster area (supporting Salvation Army).

Hams are absolutely needed today. Hams have performed some critical functions post-Charley. The state of Florida built several (5?) mutual aid communication trailers (MAC units) that include a large tower and a large cache of public safety radios. When it came time to deploy these post-Charley, hams where there, towing the units, assembling radios, and operating equipment.
Hams have established one or more HF stations for FEMA from the affected area. Hams are "embedded" with search and rescue teams working the sites. Hams are coordinating mass care efforts for both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Hams are at EOCs, staging areas, shelters, disaster headquarters, and riding with public safety vehicles. I've seen an estimate that we (ARES) have 40 hams deployed a day. Based on what I've seen, I'd double that to 80 hams deployed that are on the air in some way. Then I'd say that there are 200-300 hams a day working on the disaster, but many of them are not on the air, but are in other roles.

Now, granted, there could be much better pre-disaster planning for ham communications, but there isn't. I heard a good quote at the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference a few years ago: "Hams are great at two things: when everything else goes away, and when there is no existing communication infrastructure."

Post-Charley there was a whole heap of stuff that went away. Fire stations were destroyed. Hospitals were damaged. Charlotte County EOC was damaged and "inoperable". Very few cell sites are operational. Quite a few are on the air, but disconnected or overwhelmed. People usually have full signal but can not call out. Power is decimated. Some areas are reportedly going to be without power for a month.

Post-Charley, organizations like Red Cross and Salvation Army always seem to rediscover that they need hams. Red Cross is a bit better off because they have made a real effort with their own VHF-Lo radio system, which should be installed in every vehicle.

Salvation Army has Nextels. On this operation, they essentially tested ham radio on the recommendation of their own SATERN people. I heard that the people in operations just lit up when they realized that they could find out where their canteens were, or talk to personnel almost 100 miles away while cell phones were decimated. I personally set up third-party traffic between a Captain at "ground zero" and the operation director in Tampa. I heard that he was blown away by being back in contact with someone he couldn't reach for hours. Today they are being amazed by the potential of APRS tracking (though we're having some digi issues). I guarantee you that ham radio is part of their disaster plan going forward.

I personally think that organizations don't take hams seriously primarily because they don't take volunteers seriously. It isn't a ham issue, it's a volunteer issue. They refuse to rely on a volunteer, but when a good one shows up, they'll use them to death. So our job is to flood them with good volunteers. Trained and equipped.

I have a short web page about some of the ham-related operations in the Hurricane Charley aftermath. I'll keep adding to it as I find more.

http://www2.jonadair.com/charley

- Jon, AI4DG
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KA3RFE on August 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KOE:

This was in Maryland. There were no articles written anywhere that I am aware of. I took the training and dropped out. Then went inactive. I saw the TV people myself.

73, Pete KA3RFE
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Who can communicate?? BTW, your cell phones, 800-900
> Trunked systems are down, any land based phone
> systems are down (you cannot use the pay phone on
> the street corner). How do you communicate??

are my ghz systems down? How about my sat phones? how long will it be before the COLT is up and running?

I always love scenarios like the above. Basically, they say "in the extremely unlikely event that every other comm system is down, how do you communicate?"

Me, I'd use the local GMRS repeater until the state's ECC van showed up.

Let me put this another way: When was the last time in your area that all these other comm systems were down?
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is interesting that hams are making sweeping claims about the importance of ham radio in Charley disaster relief.

Especially when I google for Charley news stories and find stories like:

"But on Thursday, Mr. Tychi finally got word from his aunt when Red Cross workers pulled into her driveway, handed her a cellphone and dialed his number."

We are told that 40 hams are "critical" to Charley disaster recovery. One wonders if anyone receiving any of the 135,000 meals a day the ARC serves would even notice if there were no hams in Florida.

One is told about an ARES group that failed to work out an arrangement with the ARC because the hams refused to take ARC disaster services training. One wonders how much more "critical" those hams would have been if they'd been around to help pass out ice and water to people, rather than smugly blaming the ARC for their unwillingness to meet the served agencies needs.

Come on, people, get a sense of perspective. 40 hams, or 200 hams, doing random comms to each other are probably providing some small useful service. But don't overestimate it as "critical" to people who are wiithout shelter, food, sanitation, or water, when the ARC and other agencies aren't keeping up with the *real* needs of the victims.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N0FP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It seems that everybody's perspective on EMCOMM relates to the most recent memory. Charley was NOT unique in that it presented a completely different set of problems with communicating--every activation is unique. It's not always straight forward folks. And guess what? Hurricanes happen all the time and local EM uses the scenerio to plan ad nauseum and build appropriate infrastructure to accomodate.

Several have posted notes about hams being 'worthless' in the grand scheme of things and that 'HF' is apparently a 1950's mode. Perhaps with respect to Charley that may be true. But the real benefit we provide as a community involves our ability to adapt to the problems faced in a disaster. We know how to run radios. And set up systems.

The medical community is planning too. What happens when 500,000 people are infected with some airborne blight brought on by just one of the tens of thousands of our country's enemies? How about 7 million people infected in a 50 mile radius? What would happen in the event of the greater Chicago area being made into a huge swimming pool by a thermo nuke? You know what? The big one may be just around the corner. And I would bet even the 500mW HTs would become handy for something...

Ford-N0FP
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K4UOT on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
AE6IP:

Easy for you Sir to sit on your duff in California, obtaining your information about the relief effort via "Google" and stating opinions that minimize the value of the hams who have provided service in Southwest Florida.

Those of us who have provided service since last Saturday, many who have taken time off from work and have labored in 90 degree heat, have a very different story to tell; and our story is based on the reality of being on scene, responding to the requests of many agencies for communications assistance, and being thanked by those who have lost so much to that disaster. I have personally seen no self-aggrandizement by hams. I have seen a lot of good folks who only want to do whatever they can to help their neighbors and give back to the hobby we love.

In the end, your opinion regarding the worth of our effort is meaningless. We know that our efforts are valuable and appreciated. I will continue to volunteer assistance as long as it is requested.

73 - K4UOT
 
AE6IP, the armchair quarterback, speaks again  
by KZ1X on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
... gee, it must really be frustrating to have to operate with a '706 and a roof vertical as one's main station. For a guy who's so smart, you'd think you'd be in a Saratoga hilltop mansion, with a complete Harris station and Big Bertha tower.

>>Let me put this another way: When was the last time
>>in your area that all these other comm systems
>>were down?

Answer:

Hurricane Fran, Sept. 6, 1996. The ONLY 2-way communications resource operating during, and immediately after the storm, were the amateur repeaters on the local TV4 tower, the two ham mobile units dispatched with 4WD ambulances, the volunteers at the four Red Cross shelters, and the 75M voice link to the State EOC.

There have been many spot outages also, before and since, where amateur radio was the only means of communications, for smaller geographies.

Not everbody lives in the bay area. Where I live, amateur radio is a critical resource, and the local 911 Center has a dedicated amateur radio operating desk, tower, radios, and antennas. The local club's repeater has a 2-tone voice paging system that can call us out at a moment's notice.

Have YOU done this for YOUR local emcomm people? You seem to have the smarts needed, but, where's the ACTION?

I did all the initial legwork to make it all happen here, and staffed emcomm positions long before you ever got your license. To make it easy for local hams to put up effective stations, I worked with the local town attorney and drafted the ordinance which permits amateur antennas and towers, unequivocally, in perpetuity, anywhere in the local planning district.

When you've done as much, for as many, for as long as others, you've then earned the right to criticize. No serious, seasoned, emcomm-active hams want to hear from a two-year wonder. We have quite enough of them, thanks.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K2GW on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>Let me put this another way: When was the last time in your area that all these other comm systems were down?

I can't say for the rest of the country, but in New Jersey, the most recent such occurences were September 11, 2001 and the blackout of August 2003. We've also had landline overload problems at least twice during blizzards in the ninties when Amteur Radio was needed.

On September 11th, we lost a major trunking node for NJSP and other NJ government systems located atop the WTC.

A more common problem is overload of the landline, local, long distance trunk and cellular telephone system. Thus even having a sat phone (which are pretty rare around here) doesn't do you any good since you still can't reach another party in the affected area. On September 11th, RACES nets on 80 and 40 meters linked the OEM's in Albany, Harrisburg and Trenton for the twelve hours that LD was overloaded.

Fortunately, Amateur Radio has been a state OEM mandated part of every counties emergency communications plan for fifty years, with the state OEM even providing ham radio equipment to the the 21 County EOC's as well as recently installing a 220 MHz repeater with statewide coverage. The NJSP OEM even sponsors a semi-annual meeting of all of the County RACES Officers and ARES EC's (in many counties they're the same person as we encourage combined ARES/RACES organizations) so we can make sure our plans are coordinated.

As mentioned before, the Red Cross also has installed Amateur Radio stations at most of the chapters in the state. And each month, the Amateur RACES and ARES station in all of the County EOC's and Red Cross chapters are tested in parallel to make sure we can man and maintain the two networks simultaneously.

So yes, it can happen and should be planned for. Is Amateur Radio the only solution? No, of course not. But it should be incorporated into comm plans, and tested regularly.

73

Gary Wilson, K2GW
SNJ SEC






 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KD4FUN on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Please Bite ME!!
You just take up spave...every post u have sent is negative......hope u choke on RF!
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KD4FUN on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Please see reply to Ghostrider!!
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA7H on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I find it ironic that I even have to say this to ham radio operators, but I’ll try to keep it short and to the point.
1. DHS/FEMA in partnership with the effected state, coordinates all response and recovery activities in a Presidential Declared Disaster. That includes ARC and Salvation Army along with a host of other volunteer agencies (VOADS) and all the other Federal agencies that may be needed including DOD. In-fact DHS/FEMA assigns the missions to all the supporting agencies.
2. DHS/FEMA recognizes the usefulness of ARES, RACES, MARS, etc during and immediately following a disaster when the normal commercial communications infrastructure may be damaged, destroyed and/or overloaded. That includes all modes and means of Amateur communications, HF, VHF, UHF, voice digital, etc. Most states and local emergency management agencies have ARES and RACES included in their communication plans as well.
3. RACES IAW FCC rules is assigned to state and local emergency management. ARES generally works with the VOADS and has agreements at the local, state and national level to support their communication needs in an emergency or disaster.
4. MARS primarily supports DOD, however they are also a large part of the DHS/FEMA National Emergency Communication Network (NECN) and DHS/NCS SHARES network, which is all on HF.
5. During local, state, regional, and/or national emergencies or disasters many organizations are counting on the help of ham radio operators and their multiple modes of communicating and the multitude of frequencies they have available to assist in alleviating suffering and saving lives.

So to those who think ham radio serves no useful purpose during emergencies or disasters, you’re simply uninformed and probably shouldn’t comment on issues you know nothing about. To those of you who are assisting in an organized and professional manner during emergencies, disasters, exercises and training…..God bless you and keep up the good work.

Steve, wa7h/afa5si
National Preparedness Division
DHS/FEMA Region 8
 
RE: AE6IP, the armchair quarterback, speaks again  
by AE6IP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> ... gee, it must really be frustrating to have to
> operate with a '706 and a roof vertical as one's
> main station.

Nope. It's actually a lot of fun. Did you like the way I've got my station all compact in the corner of a tiny bedroom?

> For a guy who's so smart, you'd think you'd be in a
> Saratoga hilltop mansion, with a complete Harris
> station and Big Bertha tower.

Saratoga doesn't allow hilltop mansions, or "Big Bertha" towers. I think you're thinking of Los Altos.

> Hurricane Fran, Sept. 6, 1996. The ONLY 2-way
> communications resource operating during, and
> immediately after the storm, were the amateur
> repeaters on the local TV4 tower, the two ham mobile
> units dispatched with 4WD ambulances, the volunteers
> at the four Red Cross shelters, and the 75M voice
> link to the State EOC.

CNN and the AP remember this differently than you do.

> Not everbody lives in the bay area. Where I live,
> amateur radio is a critical resource, and the local
> 911 Center has a dedicated amateur radio operating
> desk, tower, radios, and antennas.

Our local dispatch has one of those too. Kind of embarrassing when the hams, who have the advantage of the city's emergency power, and antennas on the communications tower, can't manage to talk between the EOC and the hospital.

> Have YOU done this for YOUR local emcomm people? You
> seem to have the smarts needed, but, where's the
> ACTION?

ARES here is a bad joke. 1 week out of three they can't manage to get all the repeaters working for the weekly checkin. OUR local emcomm people, on the other hand, are up 24x7, and have been so through severe weather, major fires, and the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Normally, I don't bring up my background, because my criticism stands, and if you can't address it without attacking my credentials, you've got problems that knowing my background won't help you with.

But since you're making such a big deal of it, I'll mention relevant parts of it.

MY action goes into being useful. I am a VE, an ARRL certified ARECC (all levels) instructor, a registered DSW, and a trained CERT volunteer. I was a volunteer firefighter when I lived where there was a VFD, and I did mountain rescue growing up in Montana. I helped start a college radio station in the 70s, and served as, among other things, its chief engineer. I've started a DX club, and am planning a 'Big Project' project to present to the local school district. I serve as NCS on several nets and am an NWS Weather Spotter. I do volunteer communications for local events. It's not much, but it's what I can do.

I've worked rescue in several major wildfires; relief for Mount Saint Helens; and recovery from Loma Prieta. I don't brag about it, because I understand that my role is a small one. For me, the satisfaction comes from doing, not bragging.

Oh, and I don't have a mansion in Saratoga because I prefer my modest home in Mountain View, which, by the way, is entirely paid for. Not being 'house poor' has allowed me to dedicate more time and money to supporting causes like Medicins sans Frontiers.

I have no patience with hams who won't take the ARC training but then blame the ARC for rejecting them; for hams who take credit for being "critical" when they're doing a useful, but small, service; and especially with hams who think only hams know anything about emergency communications.

> When you've done as much, for as many, for as long
> as others, you've then earned the right to
> criticize. No serious, seasoned, emcomm-active hams
> want to hear from a two-year wonder. We have quite
> enough of them, thanks.

Ah yes, there it is again; that ham arrogance that assumes the only people who can understand emcomm are "emcomm-active hams". Dude, I've got some bad news for you: almost anyone involved in emergency services in any way has a better grasp of emcomm than almost every ARES hotshot.

But as long as you're pissing and moaning about credentials, I'm going to mention my professional contribution to emcomm. I've been involved, in passing, in the design of survivable wide area communications systems for twenty years. I've contributed a tiny amount in that area. Of course, a tiny amount in that area amounts to a larger impact on how people communicate in emergencies than every ARES organization in the country has contributed in the same time frame; but hey, don't consider my opinion on coms. After all, I'm just a "two-year" wonder, whose 25 years of volunteer services hasn't earned him the right to criticize.


 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> So to those who think ham radio serves no useful
> purpose during emergencies or disasters, you’re
> simply uninformed and probably shouldn’t comment on
> issues you know nothing about.

As are the people at the other extreme who claim that ham radio is 'critical' to emergency communications.

The truth lies in the middle. Amateur radio provides a small but useful service.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>> Let me put this another way: When was the last time
>> in your area that all these other comm systems were
>> down?

> I can't say for the rest of the country, but in New
> Jersey, the most recent such occurences were
> September 11, 2001 and the blackout of August 2003.

In neither case were all other comm systems down.

In both cases amateur radio operators provided a small but useful service.

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by HAMDUDE on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
After seeing how the Red Cross literally tried to make a profit off of the 9-11 disaster, (by trying to put surplus donated funds into its own general fund...aka pocket) I wouldnt be surprised to learn of them charging people for sending health and welfare radio traffic. They have been known to charge people for their services in the past during hard times. Ask any surviving WW2 veterans who were charged for coffee and donuts by them upon returning to the rear for R&R after being in combat for weeks at a time. I have no use for an organization who profits off others misery in times of disaster or crisis.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N2IZD on August 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We need Ham Radio Operators! I have been down and spent the better part of last week at Staging in Pt. Charlotte and Net control Operator at EOC Charlotte Co. and the fact is that we still need licenced operators. I am the VP of the Tamiami Amateur Radio Club in Venice, FL just north, and we still need many licenced radio operators for HELP! There is still time to contribute your talent,skills and time! Please report to Staging off of Exit 170 then West to the Winn Dixie Lot about 1-2 miles on left to the trailer on the left side of the complex.WE NEED YOUR SKILLS!!!Please Assist if able! URGENT!

N2IZD PETE KNORR
VENICE, FL
peterknorr@michaelsaunders.com
Friday 8/20/04 7:25 PM EST
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Wouldn't it be great if we could finally all decide that Amateur radio is a fun hobby and agree that although it was ONCE a service of some sort that it is no longer a vital service to the vast complex comms infrastructure that is alive within the us...

Why is it every single week we have to have someone try to convince us that this not a hobby but a vital service to the world...

Look around - no one in the world would miss any of us at all if suddenly all or equipment disappeared... in fact --- allot of citizens would probably throw a big party.




 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KI4GBR on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
OK this is right up my alley so let me weigh in my thoughts on the subject. I am a 911 supervisor as well as a ham operator. I can not tell you how happy I would be if we (911) knew that there were folks in the field working some of the communications to help take the strain of off us. We has a microburst the came through the county a few months ago and took over 700 911 phone calls, dispatched over 250 fire, ems, and law enforcement calls as well as answering 3 business phones, 2 alarm company dedicated phone lines, and 2 dedicated transfer lines in a 2 hour time frame with four dispatchers! Imagine if we could have had help from the local amateur community. Hams need to be involved in every facet of emergency operations. I have recently gained approval to put up an amateur station in our 911 center and staff it with members of the local club in case of emergencies or we just get too busy to handle it all. As far as Hurricane Charley goes, we tried for days to get in touch with Florida to confirm a stolen gun used in a homocide but was not able too because they were too busy working the radios! Where were the hams? Oh well, thats just my opinion, I could be wrong! Take care and 73,

Chris
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Chris...

I am just curious on how you envision hams helping with 911 calls? I would assume as a 911 dispatcher that you need more people working the system at YOUR location then someone calling 911 and getting a ham radio operator that is going to send traffic to another ham who is going to then contact the needed service .. when in fact 911 can do it ALL from one console with a push of a button ...

Just seems to me that more people helping you at your location is what you needed ... not more hams on radios,,,
 
RE: 911 systems  
by WA4MJF on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
One thing that a lotta of the big city
folks on here don't seem to realize is
that not every rural county and town,
probably most, has E911.
They have basic 911. All that
means is that when the caller wants the
police, instead of calling a 7 digit
number they call 9 1 1. The rest is
still the same, the phones rings and
the dispatcher answers, takes notes
on a piece of paper and pick up the
mic for the radio and tells the
deputy/officer where to go.

What people see on TV and most often
think of, is the E911, where there are
banks of computers, remote controls
for many radio channels, books to
look up maladies to advise callers,
caller ID, etc, etc. These are probably
the smallest number but get the most
"air time".

Many 911 dispatch points here in NC have
a ham radio position. It is used during
hurricanes, floods, ice storms etc. That
way if info is needed from/sent to places where
hams are stationed such as hospitals,
shelters, etc, they can be quickly called.

Even in Raleigh, which had E911, the PD
mobile command post has a ham position.

Sometimes, with all the construction going
on here abouts, telephone cables are cut
(big ones) and hams are sent to various
places, so that if someone has an emergency
the citizen can go there and the report
get relayed in by ham radio. These locations
are broadcast on commercial radio and TV stations.
Usually, the phone company can have the line
spliced in short order, but when it is a fiber
cable it takes them longer.

73 de Ronnie

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
GHOSTRIDERHF;

I don’t think that Chris was clearly understood,………..so if all will indulge me, I’d like to make additional comment:

Here in the Midwest, there have been some serious 911 issues during Severe Weather Events, and they are all due to the local 911 centers being overloaded.

The Public is told in all public service announcements, weather bulletins, and TV screen “crawls” that they should report any observed Severe Weather to “Local Law Enforcement”…………with the implication that L.L.E. will then forward the information to the National Weather Service for assessment.

What actually happens is this: Every time one of the Public sees ANYTHING that looks vaguely like a funnel cloud, 911 gets a panicked phone call. The 911 operator then has to listen to a typically non-technical person give a lengthy “Plain English” description of what they think they saw. Once that call has concluded, the operator is then supposed to assess its’ significant points and forward that information to the NWS. (Note that all of this tends to be in lengthy “Plain English” rather than the “Address/coordinates” type of data they would prefer to be handling.) I have seen documented cases of 911 operators hanging up on people trying to report Severe Weather……..not because they are shirking their duties, but because they are “buried alive”, and have to perform their own version of triage!

OK, ….so right now some of you are asking; “What’s all this got to do with Ham Radio?”……………..A fair question; but one requiring a detailed answer.

Virtually all National Weather Service offices have phone desks to receive incoming reports, and radio equipment set up to monitor a collection of established Ham frequencies. In most NWS offices this equipment sits un-manned, because right now, government funding is at an all-time low. The people to man that equipment do not exist.

Most of these offices would be delighted to have competent, weather knowledgeable volunteers to cover this shortfall. Unfortunately, this can’t happen overnight, or in a casual “case by case” fashion. There are both organizational and security guidelines that must be observed, but they are not insurmountable. This is a classic example of where an organized, volunteer Ham effort would be a valuable public service.

If qualified volunteers were available to serve in this capacity, the media could back off on it’s public instructions to “Call Local Law Enforcement”, and start directing those calls where they really belong. This would take a HUGE burden off of the 911 centers, and allow them to get on with more critical functions.

The ARS can still serve the community: It’s just that the needs and circumstances have changed, and the ARS cannot expect yesterday’s solutions to remain valid forever. We have to grow and evolve just like anything else.

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA4JM on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
WIRELESS SAID:
Maybe its time for hams to admit they are not needed. This isn't 1925. Hams for the most part have been totally passed by with professional and permanent other resources.

Ahhh. not true. Hams converted 450MHZ repeaters to replace non-functioning government communications equipment so that Fire and Law Enforcement could get back on the air. And you're right it isn't 1925, and that's why it's encombent for hams not be appliance operators and become technicians. Electronics technicians pulled the bacon out of the fire and save Collier County's rear. Now go back to Channel 19.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K2GW on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>After seeing how the Red Cross literally tried to make a profit off of the 9-11 disaster, (by trying to put surplus donated funds into its own general fund...aka pocket).

Not true. The Red Cross responds to thousands of big and small disasters each year, a few of which generate lots of donations from the public and most of which (house and apartment fires) do not. Thus the Red Cross wanted to put the bulk of the funds into the general disaster fund for the other ones, as it always does. Also, did someone who lost everything in 9/11 deserve more than someone who loses everything in a hurricane? The impact to the victim is the same, and thus the Red Cross has a schedule of benefits to ensure fairness. It was just following normal good accounting practice looking at the long term need of all disaster victims. But it changed to meet the uniformed public clamor and the result were families of 9/11 victims suing each other over who got more!

>>Ask any surviving WW2 veterans who were charged for coffee and donuts by them upon returning to the rear for R&R after being in combat for weeks at a time.

The charge for donuts was not the Red Cross's idea. In WWI they gave the stuff away until the US Army, in the form of General JJ Pershing, insisted that soldiers could not accept charity and thus insisted that the Red Cross collect a nominal charge. Thus the policy imposed on the Red Cross by the Army.

So investigate before you make statements. At the very least, give money to the victims through the Salvation Army instead. You have made a contribution to some volunteer agency, right?

73

Gary, K2GW
 
Eham is finally on the upswing!!  
by KA4KOE on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, its starting to seem like old times again! Our usual trolls are back in the swing of it, rousing the rabble; but just where are our 2 lander trolls?

Ahhhh, and I was getting worried about this site. Time for a lil celebration.....

Cool 807 anyone?

P
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by NN7B on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As I have read through the posts on this subject, I find there are many references of experience from the past. I also know that every disaster is different and there is no 'rubber stamp' for handling things. Yes, the management structure is always the same but, disaster relief and recovery efforts are subject to their location and the needs of the public at a particular time.

I have little regard for those who post attacks of other individuals. Some people like to 'think' they know what is (or was) going on somewhere but, most likely, the information they have is not from first-hand experience.

The old stupid twisted story about the Red Cross selling coffee and donuts is so old it's more of a joke than anything else. For someone to hold a grudge against ARC for a half-baked rumor from 90 years ago it weak at best and are in dire need of a reality check. Perhaps if you were to get involved with them you would see that over 90 years time, a lot has changed.

Lastly, I think the original thought was about how hams were being included in plans to 'help'. After one or two posts, most everything else was out of control. Personal attacks and irresponsible comments. If you havn't anything positive to contribute, then it would be far more productive to just say nothing. But, have it YOUR way. We're self-destructing from within. Most of this thread is evidence of why things aren't better for hams to help. Been there, done most all of it. Loved every minute of it. Few thanks, many long nights, plenty of out-of-pocket expenses never recovered, but, worth all of it. We aren't ever going to be the saviors of the world when the phone won't work. As long as we have self-appointed emergency communications experts who aren't part of the organizations doing the work and training, our ARES efforts will continue to be erroded away by an acid called 'bad attitude'. Either we fix that or we're all out of a reason to play radio.

73, Paul Cavnar - NN7B
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KA4KOE on August 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree. Thats when I suggest everyone who acts like he/her has a 2 by 4 wedged slideways in their posterior to take a reality check and have a beer.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KI4GBR on August 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Kent and Ronnie, Thanks for helping me out. I was seemingly misunderstood. I'm not saying to take a Ham off the street, throw them in a 911 center and turn them loose answering phones and making formal dispatches to public safety entities. First, any Ham that wants to work with us in the 911 center during time of large emergencies will first be trained by us on how we operate, what is expected of them, and some very basics of the whole E911 process. Then take the severe weather scenario...If a caller is caling in to report severe weather, why not let the Ham take the weather related information, compile the data recieved, make sure that it meets the reporting criteria, and then relay same to the NWS via Ham radio. In this case, the one Ham operator will free up the E911 telecommunicator to handle the next emergency call rather than working with the weather reporting caller. In our case, If a central station for the phone company (we have 4 different CLECs that provide service for our county) goes off-line due to a line cut or power failure, then we dont get 911 calls from the are that is serviced by the station. Instead, the calls are routed to the closest fire station in that district. The answering fire station them has to call us on the main fire dispatch frequency to report the call. Why not put a Ham operator in that particular fire station and have the Ham relay the information via amateur band and free up the main fire dispatch frequency for emergency calls? Thats all I was trying to say.

73
Chris - KI4GBR
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA1RNE on August 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

I figured the beer thing would be worn out by now.

What else you got??? David Letterman is on CBS, maybe he could help you out with the beer jokes??
 
Beer  
by KA4KOE on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Not a chance. Milk it for all its worth.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Virtually all National Weather Service offices have
> phone desks to receive incoming reports, and radio
> equipment set up to monitor a collection of
> established Ham frequencies. In most NWS offices
> this equipment sits un-manned, because right now,
> government funding is at an all-time low. The people
> to man that equipment do not exist.

Damn, Kent, which is it? A couple of days ago, hams were all important to the NWS, and now most NWS offices don't even fund their hams...

> Most of these offices would be delighted to have
> competent, weather knowledgeable volunteers to cover
> this shortfall. Unfortunately, this can’t happen
> overnight, or in a casual “case by case” fashion.

Note that Kent said "weather knowledgeable", not "ham". Also note that the NWS does, in fact, take spotters in a casual case by case fashion. Taking the spotting class is desirable, but not required for becoming a spotter.

> There are both organizational and security
> guidelines that must be observed, but they are not
> insurmountable. This is a classic example of where
> an organized, volunteer Ham effort would be a
> valuable public service.

As opposed to all that valuable public service hams are already providing the NWS?

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Chris - KI4GBR

You don't need hams for that, you need weather spotters. Differet training altogether.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KD4E on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can only speak for my experience. I took my family to a shelter in Pasco County where Charley would have arrived as an even more deadly CAT V storm.

As requested by ARES/RACES in support of the Red Cross I set up a 2M station with redundant rigs, antenna hardware, and batteries (even though they have multiple generators).

Had Charley hit the Red Cross Special Needs & General Shelter facility would have lost the generators, cellphones, and landlines, and probably the antenna on the roof -- and lightning might even have damaged the rig. Remember, redundancy is critical!

500+ citizens and the Red Cross & School Dept. staff would have been cut off from the outside world. The more southern counties took the hit instead of us.

The very next day a call went out for the first communications team to head to the more southern affected area and another call went out for a second team the next day. I could not go due to work demands
but many did and were kept busy until the less reliable cellphones and landlines were slowly restored.

Anyone who thinks that Ham Radio wasn't valuable during or after Hurricane Charley simply wasn't there!

73, doc kd4e (Former WCF SEC, Current ARES/RACES/Skywarn Volunteer Communicator)
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KC4NUS on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Throughout the posts of this thread, I have seen a few different items to address.

1) When it comes to the American Red Cross, as far as I have seen, each chapter is run individually. If the Red Cross chapter in New York or the national umbrella organization did something you did not like in the days after 9/11/01, do not hold it against all chapters. It was a decision of that chapter and/or national. The involvement by other chapters was in sending additional and relief Red Cross members to the scene.

2) I can only speak to what I have seen while involved with Orange County Florida ARES/RACES and the Central Florida Red Cross, but what I have seen is very different than what a few of the previous posts describe for their areas.

a) All members of OCARES are members of the Central Florida chapter of the Red Cross as Disaster Services Volunteers. I believe this is true also for the Seminole County ARES group as well as the Osceola ARES group. The three counties of central Florida covered by the Central Florida Red Cross chapter.

b) The CFARC communications chairman and the Disaster Services chairman are both hams and involved with OCARES. While I do not recall their positions within the CFARC, there is another handful of ARC staff who are also hams.

c) 0800 EST 8/13, the Orange County EOC went fully active, OCARES started a hurricane net with the Net Control Operators in the county EOC, and hams were stationed in the ARC Disaster Operations Center under call N4ARC. By 1000EST, there were hams stationed in the majority of the Orange County shelters.

d) The ARC personnel in the DOC and in the shelters had Nextel cellular phones. As the eye of Charley approached central Florida, those phones stopped being able to communicate. After that point, the amateur radio operators became the primary source of information flow between the shelters and the Red Cross for Orange and Seminole county until Monday or Tuesday. Osceola county shelters were still using them as a primary source until Wednesday or Thursday.

e) Maybe band conditions were poor, but I had my HF rig setup in the shelter I was manning along with the 2m/70cm rig. Once I found a spot my hamstick dipole could receive signals, I heard traffic on the HWN 14.325MHz until the school lost power around 2230. I only attached a gell cell to the 2m/70cm rig since I had no plans to transmit on HF.

f) The N4ARC station was manned 24/7 from 0800 EST 8/13 until around 0000 EST 8/19. At that point cellular phone service had become reliable enough N4ARC was only active during the day while the Red Cross kitchens and food/water/ice distribution centers were active. As of 8/21, normal communications had become reliable enough that Osceola ARES was the primary group still active, but they were serving as a secondary and backup communications for the kitchens and distribution centers specifically in Osceola county.

g) This is a very brief accounting of three counties in central Florida. When Charley hit Osceola, it was a Cat 3. When it hit Orange and Seminole counties it was a Cat 2. Jump teams from around at least the state of Florida are being summoned and going to the counties that took the Cat 4 damage of Charley. I would be there also, but work commitments do not allow for it.

3) The main thing I found lacking in the days after Charley’s landfall was HF nets for moving information in and out of SW Florida. During one of my shifts as N4ARC, I received a message via the American Red Cross national crew who were setup near Orlando International Airport. They were trying to pass a message for the Southern Baptist Convention to a pastor in Punta Gorda to determine if his church was in any condition to be used as a field kitchen.

As I understand how things are suppose to work, at the time the Florida Governor signed the order putting Florida in a state of emergency, the ARES/RACES management in Tallahassee should have secured at least a frequency on 80 meters for passing traffic state wide. At the time I received the SBC message Sunday 8/14 around 1630EST, no such net was in place. The only way we were able to find to pass the message to Punta Gorda was via the Maritime Mobile Service Net. It was passed after I went home, but if I heard correctly, the message ended up being passed to a ham in the Gulf who then docked in Punta Gorda or near by and delivered the message. I did not hear if he went to the church or was able to pass it via VHF/UHF to the hams on the ground.

4) From what I have seen of the leadership of Orange County Florida ARES/RACES, they will and have pass along high praises of all the OCARES membership that was able to participate in the disaster operations. I would like to take this bandwidth to post here high praises for the OCARES leadership.

They were in the trenches and on the air many hours starting from 0800 EST 8/13/04. I know most of them were on the air at least 48 hour consecutively with no more than occasional catnaps, food as they could find it, and as much caffeine as they could find. If it were not for the OCARES leadership and the close relationship they maintain with the CFARC and the county OEM, the hurricane Charley tour ‘04 of central Florida would have gone much differently for the populous in its path.

While I expect the majority of the mass media will miss the contribution amateur radio operators have and continue to make in the hurricane Charley aftermath, I hope those in the state and regional ARES leadership realize the leadership at the county level deserve their praises and support in any way they can give it.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Marty;

You asked; “Damn, Kent, which is it? A couple of days ago, hams were all important to the NWS, and now most NWS offices don't even fund their hams...”

Earlier in this very thread, you listed, amongst your astonishing list of other qualifications, that you were a NWS Weather Spotter. If this is true, why do you act as though you don’t know what I’m talking about? As a spotter, you are surely aware of the contributions made by you and your fellow volunteers. You must also be aware that this volunteer effort is necessary BECAUSE there is very limited funding for paid people to do this job!

Or is it that you are simply trying to perpetuate a pointless debate?

BTW;….. Just what sort of Severe Weather do you spot in the Bay Area? Last time I looked, California Tornados made National News simply because they are so incredibly rare! Try spending some time in the Mid-West, if you want a better perspective on the whole issue.

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> You asked; “Damn, Kent, which is it? A couple of
> days ago, hams were all important to the NWS, and
> now most NWS offices don't even fund their hams...”

> Earlier in this very thread, you listed, amongst
> your astonishing list of other qualifications, that
> you were a NWS Weather Spotter.

There's nothing particularly "astonishing" about my qualifications. They're pretty common qualifications where I grew up, and a lot of people I know have much better ones.

> If this is true, why do you act as though you don’t
> know what I’m talking about?

It's true, Kent; and I do know what you're talking about. Perhaps you could benefit from a slightly closer reading of my responses.

> As a spotter, you are surely aware of the
> contributions made by you and your fellow
> volunteers.

Yes, Kent, I am. (You may recall an earlier post in whch I mentioned I had a "passing familiarity" with the program.) I am also very aware that these volunteers are, for the most part, not hams.

This seems to be the part of my response to you that you're not taking into account. Earlier, especially in another thread, you were making claims that the NWS heavily depends on *HAMS*. I pointed out that for the most part this wasn't true, and that only a few NWS stations used *HAMS* in the way you were describing. You disagreed. Now, in the post I was replying to, you admit that the NWS has very stations that utilize hams. I merely pointed out the inconsistency in your arguments.

> You must also be aware that this volunteer effort is
> necessary BECAUSE there is very limited funding for
> paid people to do this job!

That's right. And, I'm also aware that the overwhelming majority of the volunteers aren't hams.

> Or is it that you are simply trying to perpetuate a
> pointless debate?

No. I'm just trying to help you see that the NWS in *most* of the country isn't operating in the way that it is in your area.

> BTW;….. Just what sort of Severe Weather do you spot
> in the Bay Area?

Jeez. I'd of thought someone who was doing a degree in meterology would know that. Guess you haven't gotten to "weather outside the tornado belt" yet?

> Last time I looked, California Tornados made
> National News simply because they are so
> incredibly rare!

So what, Tornados are the only form of severe weather you're aware of? You tell me, what severe weather do we get on the west coast? (hint, it's wet, it involves high winds, and it happens here in the winter, rather than August, as it does in the Atlantic)

> Try spending some time in the Mid-West, if you want
> a better perspective on the whole issue.

I've got a better idea, Kent. Since I've spent plenty of time in the midwest, including tornado season in Saint Paul, winter storm season in Eau Claire and detouring 500 miles around a thunderstorm in a Cessna in Wyoming, let me suggest you come on out here for winter weather, or visit my home state of Montana for a whiteout.

The only kind of US weather that I don't have direct experience with is Atlantic hurricanes. Note I didn't say "hurricanes", I said *Atlantic* hurricanes. I've experienced Pacific storms, but I don't think it's the same thing.

I understand that there are a few NWS bureaus in the midwest that use hams to coordinate storm spotters. And I applaud those hams that do help. But I also understand that the vast majority of NWS bureaus don't use hams, and that the rest of the country has very different weather. (Not, I expect, that most people realize that we get hurricanes out here, since the coastal range tends to minimize their impact on populated areas...)
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Marty:

Ok………….I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that I must have expressed myself badly.

To all the others who seem to have understood my point…. ….Sorry for the repetition; I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

Anyway……….Marty; you maintain that the ARS plays an inconsequential role in NWS Severe Weather operations: My personal experience leaves me with a somewhat different opinion.

In all my posts on the issue, I have pretty much focused on two points: The first is that the ARS Bands provide the solid, reliable, vehicle-to-vehicle communications that are CRITICAL to operations in the field. Without this asset, it would be virtually impossible for the people working an event to coordinate their efforts. Without coordination, many field operations, including Spotter Nets, would be unacceptably dangerous or pointless (or both).

There is, of course, nothing magical about the ARS frequencies: They have simply become the default standard due to many years of volunteer participation by ARS licensees. (Hmmm……how could that happen if the ARS doesn’t play a significant role?)

It’s true that other frequencies are in use, particularly in some of the high end research projects. Heck…….if you’re one of the people manning a DOW, you’ve got everything from Satellite Uplinks to Smoke Signals available…………But if that DOW crew wants visual reports from the local Spotter Net, they will be talking on an ARS frequency.

The second point I have discussed is the fact that virtually all of the NWS offices around the country have published ARS frequencies that they monitor (or try to monitor) during Severe Weather events. Lack of funding for paid staff, and a lack of qualified (meteorologically speaking) volunteers keep this asset from being as valuable as it could be.

Now,……..concerning your suggestion that I travel more: …..I’ll try to work it in. Currently, I drive something in excess of 20,000 miles every spring, in the performance of my duties with the college. I’ve been to your Montana many times, along with Wyoming and Colorado for upslope events. During operations, our group has been as far north and west as Edmonton, and as far southwest as Arizona. We do get around a little bit.

BTW: I still think that the Bay Area would bore me to tears!

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”


 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Kent,

I understood your claim, the first time you made it in some other thread. It wasn't true then, and repetition doesn't make it true now.

Here's the reality: In a few NWS service areas, hams play an active role in storm spotting. You seem to live in one of those. You've extrapolated that, incorrectly, into an assertion that hams play a large role in weather spotting. Your "personal experience" is kinda like a vice cop suggesting from personal experience that most crimes are committed by prostitutes.

It's like your assumption that there's little severe weather in the bay area, because you're aware that there aren't many tornados here.

Spotter nets are *not* unacceptably dangerous or pointless without hams. On the other hand, some kinds of storm chasing can be made less dangerous by coordinated communication. But even there you miss the point that such communication doesn't have to, and often doesn't, come from the ARS. (The best estimate that I've seen suggests that more than 3/4 of weather spotting related radio traffic comes on the public service bands, by the way. Another large fraction of storm chasing traffic is military in nature. This omits radar returns, automatic reporting stations, and cell phone calls.)

There's a different interpretation to your correct observation that the NWS doesn't fund manpower to monitor the ARS frequency stations, and it runs completely contrary to your assumption that the ARS is CRITICAL (emphasis yours) to the NWS.

As far as your "getting around", I'll merely observe that even in the extended coverage area you're now describing, you've basically limited yourself to Great Plains and Front Range weather. The rest of the country's weather isn't like that, and the response to severe weather isn't done the same way.

As far as to whether or not the bay area would bore you, I guess that's where you and I differ. Rather than extrapolating from limited experience, I like to go find out.

I'm also rather surprised that you drive 20,000 miles each spring in performance of your duties. Is it really that hard to find spare electronics parts in Chicago? (It's a joke, people, see Kent's eHam profile.)

By the way, I noticed you didn't answer my question. Do you know what kinds of severe weather we get out here?

Marty
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by PJ on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well... I sat back on this topic, and here are my thoughts. I just don't even know where to start.

What I have read here is exactly why, in many towns/cities do not want to use ham operators. The people who volunteer to help end up being know-it-all's that INTERFERE with emergency operations.

Then you get the one's who want the starring role, but does not want anything to do with the "messy" parts of any operation. They will show up and operate after everything is setup, and be the first to leave before pickup. Above was the example..."We want to help you Red Cross/Salvation Army....but just to use radio's." Nevermind that there is more to emergency's than communications. There is the human factor as well.

I love it when I see ham's state that anytime there is a storm/hurricane/snow/car crash and the invasion of body snatchers that all public safety comms will fail, and the ICOM repeater zip tied to the side of a house will be the only thing operating. Contrary to what some think, public safety can operate simplex if everything dies.

These are the same people who walk around Dayton with a police style badge clipped to their belt who think they are hot ----. If they put all that eneregy and passion INTO actual emergecy service, that would help promote and put amatuer service into a better spotlight.

I do understand that some area's of the country haven't learned from past experiences (southeast) on how to contruct survivable towers. Its getting better, but not perfect.

I am kind of shocked that the 911 supervisor would want untrained hams (or anyone else) sitting at the 911 center taking calls. That is a HUGE liability and an officer/fire/EMS safety hazard. Many hams that I have met do not have the in-person social/business skills that are required to operate in a public safety enviroment. They can talk up a storm on the repeaters, but public safety is a whole different animal.

I do understand that hams (if you have the right ones) can be valuable in some capacity in emergency operations. As far as some local and state agencies are concered, they will have their own people from the ranks covering the local/statewide channels than to bring an outsider in. In my state, we have so many different ways of getting from one side of the state to another, its mind boggling.

Some areas benefit from hams, other's don't and that's what I am seeing on this thread. Us vs them. There are so many comments that are out of wack, its commically sad.

I dunno. The pro-emergency ham's here are trying to push so hard, its hurting your case. A couple of people are asking legit questions and they aren't nessesarly being answered. Some are.

Locally, we have some ham's on a list somewhere in some folder for emergency prepardness, but no one is ever called...never a need in the worse of disasters we have had. No need. But we do have a ham radio in the EMA office.

I'll have more on this later since I have been up since 1700, and its now 0530.

Before someone doesn't think I know what I am talking about:

I have been an amatueur radio operator since 1996. I am a part time paid and volunteer firefighter. I am also an EMT. I am the #2 man the a police department communications center. I am also an auxiallary police officer and the towns emergency prepardness communications director.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KB9YZL on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Marty:

Once again, we have been treated to an example of “Classic AE6IP”! If you can’t find a “Nit to Pick”, you willfully misconstrue someone else’s position:…….If you can’t do that, you just dogmatically restate you opinion (at length) in the hopes that repetition will make it so!

My point was simply that the ARS Bands provide very valuable vehicle-to-vehicle communications to people engaged in Field Meteorology, all over this country, and into Canada. This is an advantage unique to the ARS frequencies, as business bands tend to be assigned to specific areas.

For some reason, you feel that you need to argue against this statement.

Well,… Marty, I’m done!……. I will not respond to you further, either on this thread or any other. You’ll have to find some other Sap to help you feed your obvious love affair with the appearance of your own written words.

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AE6IP on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Recently

> My point was simply that the ARS Bands provide very
> valuable vehicle-to-vehicle communications to people
> engaged in Field Meteorology, all over this country,
> and into Canada. This is an advantage unique to the
> ARS frequencies"

Earlier

> In all my posts on the issue, I have pretty much
> focused on two points: The first is that the ARS
> Bands provide the solid, reliable, vehicle-to-
> vehicle communications that are CRITICAL to
> operations in the field.

We are arguing over the difference between "CRITICAL" (emphasis yours) and "small but useful", (lack of emphasis mine.)

The reality is that sometimes hams help coordinate stormchasing. That's "small but useful". If they weren't there, the storms would still get chased, and there'd only by a small drop in the information available to forecasters.

If you take something "CRITICAL" away from some process, the process fails to work. If you take something "smallbut useful" away from a process, the process works, but with a small degradation.

You may consider the distinction "nit picking". I consider it critical.

It's all about having a sense of perspective, Kent. Hams aren't "critical" to the NWS. When you get right down to it, they're not even critical to storm chasing in tornado alley. Most storm chasing gets done without them, altogether. And these days, most non-chasing severe weather reporting is done by phone. Even in tornado alley.

 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KE4ZHN on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Any improvement in disaster relief communications certainly cant hurt. Having lived through Charley, Im glad that not only hams pitched in, but neighbors joined together and helped each other out. More amateur involvement in the Red Cross and Salvation Army can only help to improve the effectivness of those organizations. That is providing the volunteers are properly trained in this area.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by K3DWW on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Our county has a local ARES affiliated RACES Team. We provide a UHF repeater and a packet station colocated on a secure county tower. The county provides 3 complete VHF/UHF/packet stations and members have at least that many more, in addition to our mobile HF & VHF/UHF mobiles and handis plus 2 motor homes and a commercial panel truck with motor generators. We participate in most local and state emergency nets to maintain kills.

Charlie didn't effect us but we were called upon to provide both tactical and health & welfare backup comms during Isabel.

We will be happy to support Red Cross if asked but we have plenty to do and few have time/incentive to attend their classes in addition to ARES/RACES training.
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by KI4GBR on August 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You know, after reading some of these post I don't know if there are plans for hams to help or not. I believe its getting right down to the root of the biggest problem...are hams WILLING to help? Some are and some are not. If its your cup of tea to do emergency comms then you are ready and willing to go and get the job done. If you just get enjoyment out of sitting in your shack and pounding out CW or working DX, or any of those other great thing then that is what you are ready and willing to do. No fault, or shame in either one...after all this is just a hobby. No hams are bound by law or contract to help anyone, but in my opinion it comes down to humanitarianism. There is a valid place for hams in emergencies and we all have our own idiology of what and where that place is I guess. But if I'm not working when the big one hits...this ham will be in the 911 center manning the amateur rig and doing what I can. Take care and 73

Chris - KI4GBR
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by HF2PWA on August 31, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, it is just a hobby people that turn msny off.
You got your...If I am not going to do anything until I get full HF voice prives.

Finger pointing is the hob-goblin of despare.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N9NWO on September 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Posse Comitatius Act (PCA) only deals with active Army and Air Force (Marines and Navy are not covered by the act).

MARS is set up on a state by state organization much like the National Guard or the state militia. We use Guard Intelligence personnel to help the police with drug enforcement and with anti terror (Homeland Defense) issues. Thus the PCA is not this big "wall". It is only a law that can be modified by congress at will.

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N9NWO on September 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You know, much of the bad attitude we see in Amateur Radio is just a reflection of what we see in society in general. Might it be that we are just a bunch of aging Baby Boomers who are acting like a bunch of over the hill old farts?

Most people tend to get a bit grouchy as they age.
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by N9NWO on September 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Is There Planning for Hams to Help? Reply
by KE4ZHN on August 25, 2004
Any improvement in disaster relief communications certainly cant hurt. Having lived through Charley, Im glad that not only hams pitched in, but neighbors joined together and helped each other out. More amateur involvement in the Red Cross and Salvation Army can only help to improve the effectivness of those organizations. That is providing the volunteers are properly trained in this area
--------------------

With Francis heading towards the East coast of Florida, it might do that we Hams keep an eye out. I had not thought of monitoring via EchoLink. That is a good idea. And I will check out the ARRL web site for requests for help.

 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by WA4MJF on September 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
N9NWO,

Army MARS is NOT operated by states
(although the ArNG has some MARS stations
which are equiped by the USP&FO of their state).
It is assigned to Headquaters, Army Network
Enterprise Technology Command / 9th Army
Signal Command. It is comprised of both
Army and DAC personnel. The bulk are
volunteer affiliates. Our commander is
MG James G. Hylton. Our Chief is a DAC.

I don't know where you get your info about
it being a state organization. It is a part of the
US Army and as you pointed out is under PC.

73 de Ronnie
 
Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by W6WC on March 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hi,
I am with Navy-Marine Corp MARS and a COMS-ARC card carrying ARC member... We have a MOU (Memo of Understanding) and we are working and training together. If ARC needs HF voice and digital COMS - they can call us. We (ARC) have set up an MARS SAT station at Chapter HQ (Orange County CA) and I (MARS) are starting to train ARC lisc'd Hams to work the
SAT station (simular to a HAM CLUB station).

If you are interested in talking - please let me know.
73,
Tom - W6WC/NNN0BUT
W6WC@aol.com
 
RE: Is There Planning for Hams to Help?  
by AI4KK on November 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>Chris...
>
>I am just curious on how you envision hams helping
>with 911 calls? I would assume as a 911 dispatcher
>that you need more people working the system at YOUR
>location then someone calling 911 and getting a ham
>radio operator that is going to send traffic to
>another ham who is going to then contact the needed
>service .. when in fact 911 can do it ALL from one
>console with a push of a button ...

Actually, we WERE operating the 911 dispatch center in Hancock Co Mississippi after Katrina destroyed all land-based comm systems and the local 911 operators were in survival mode. Even the vaunted satellite phones were overloaded and useless. When I was on my hospital garage in New Orleans, nobody could get a signal yet we were still talking.
 
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