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Author Topic: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM  (Read 91886 times)
KB8VUL
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #150 on: May 03, 2013, 05:17:03 PM »

Gil, I couldn't agree more.  And part of what you are getting at is, at least around here, is the pushing of ham radio on CERT and other similar groups.  These groups could just as easily be operating on federally allocated channels that would be assigned to them in a disaster plan from the local EMA.  They are public safety channels, they should be in all EMA radios to begin with, and this would provide direct communications to the served agencies without the ham go between. 

Yes, the other things like weather spotting in ham radio are useful.  Mostly they are entertaining, but occasionally, they do give actual significant weather information.  Hams serve the Red Cross well and I support those efforts.  The wacker mentality where some of these fools talk about their homes being backup EOC's and how they are going to get to ride around in the police cars and fire trucks to provide communications is where I raise an eyebrow.  Not that it will ever happen for a number of reasons, but the idea of a groups of hams rolling into a fire house or police station and basically getting in the way of public safety people bothers me.  Knowing ahead of time that they will get laughed at and told to go home isn't the issue.  Just showing up means that they have to be dealt with. 

I suppose they can believe that crap if they want to and live in their fantasy world where they are all going to be hero's and save the day with their trusty HT at their side.  But the fact that we seem to encourage this line of thinking, and BTW, if you are not telling people the truth and to not get their hopes up about being on a box of Wheaties, then you are just as guilty. 

Ham radio is a hobby.  No matter how much you mimic the way the police dispatcher talks on your scanner, you still aren't a dispatcher.  Some folks fail to understand this and believe that they are way more important than they are.
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KO3D
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #151 on: May 05, 2013, 06:18:56 PM »

The longer this thread goes on, the more I become convinced of one thing: Most of the pro- EMCOMM arguments are an answer looking for a problem. Unfortunately, the problem is small to non-existent compared to the amount of time and resources being devoted to it.

No one would seriously consider allowing gun club members to show up at a crime scene to help the police in case their guns stopped working. We don't see EMT hobbyists or men with fire hoses stopping by accident scenes in case "all else fails." Car enthusiasts don't unilaterally offer the use of spare cruisers and ambulances that they have in their garages, etc.

There are simply too many alternative forms of communication today for amateur radio to become relevant in a local emergency situation (HF may be another story). The EMCOMM push is a marketing scheme to increase ARRL membership rolls. The credibility of serious operators has been destroyed by the "wackers". What public safety official would seek help from a man arriving in a dented '86 Crown Vic with magnetic signs on the door and a Big Gulp on the dash? Yet that is who I usually see trying to force themselves onto public safety agencies.

The separate issue of having government agencies, NGOs, and businesses using the ham bands as a back-up for their employees is more troubling. While ham license numbers are at an all time high, repeaters in my area sit silent for most of the day. I surmise that most of these new "hams" are people who were signed up by their employers. Some operators have stated on the air that the repeaters should be kept clear in case an emergency breaks out. Where is the hobby aspect in all of this?
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W7ASA
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Posts: 254




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« Reply #152 on: May 05, 2013, 07:18:06 PM »

KO3D says: " The EMCOMM push is a marketing scheme to increase ARRL membership rolls."

Naturally - there could be no other conclusion.

 " ...repeaters in my area sit silent for most of the day. I surmise that most of these new "hams" are people who were signed up by their employers. "

Naturally - there could be no other conclusion. Your evidence for this statement is that you do not hear them on your area repeaters, therefore they must be hams on the pay-roll of some company.  Hmmmm , there must be a lot of these new/company paid hams in my area too, because I don't hear them either, or perhaps they're penguins or lions, because I have not heard any of those either.
 I did hear a kookaburra once on the radio, but that was in California - and you know Californians.    Wink


It's a shame for you that there is no Olympic gold medal for 'jumping to conclusions'.  This is gold medal material   Shocked Shocked   



>de Ray


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GILGSN
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #153 on: May 05, 2013, 08:10:18 PM »

Quote
repeaters in my area sit silent for most of the day. I surmise that most of these new "hams" are people who were signed up by their employers.

I'm a new Ham. You never hear me on a repeater.. I don't know what kind of employer does pay for Ham licenses.. Never heard of that. I think the reason is simpler. Conversations on repeaters are often downright boring. Most people probably get their Technician license just in case.. Maybe they listen a bit, then decide they have better things to do for entertainment. I certainly do. Those who get a General or Extra license get on HF, so why would they hang out on VHF? I operate CW only and like building kits. Using a 2m HT to sign-in a net is not interesting or useful to me. Learning to pass messages in Morse code while camping has more real life applications for me..

Quote
And part of what you are getting at is, at least around here, is the pushing of ham radio on CERT and other similar groups.
Quote
No one would seriously consider allowing gun club members to show up at a crime scene to help the police in case their guns stopped working. We don't see EMT hobbyists or men with fire hoses stopping by accident scenes in case "all else fails."

Right. What I am getting at is that emergency communications useful to the community and Ham operators themselves (and their families and friends) are more likely to be outside of official channels. This simply because "officials" are already equipped and prepared. Therefore training should emphasize traffic forwarding and information exchange between Hams to benefit their families, friends and neighborhoods.

In a dire emergency, who is going to leave their family to be "deployed" by an EMCOMM group while their wife and kids stay at home to fend off the looters and battle whatever conditions created the emergency? Not to mention being paid nothing. Right... No patched white shirt and orange vest is worth that loss.

Establish a communications strategy to help yourself and your loved ones first. The rest of the world can afford losing your meager contribution.

Gil.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6042




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« Reply #154 on: May 06, 2013, 04:13:15 AM »

The longer this thread goes on, the more I become convinced of one thing: Most of the pro- EMCOMM arguments are an answer looking for a problem...

Wow.  Someone who sees the light!

Quote
There are simply too many alternative forms of communication today for amateur radio to become relevant in a local emergency situation (HF may be another story)...

98% of the time, that is the plain simple truth, but there is always that other 2%--like what happened in NYC on 9-11.  Short range VHF/UHF ham help was needed and WELCOMED there since the local official communication infrastructure was first damaged, then destroyed when the towers came down.

Quote
The separate issue of having government agencies, NGOs, and businesses using the ham bands as a back-up for their employees is more troubling. While ham license numbers are at an all time high, repeaters in my area sit silent for most of the day. I surmise that most of these new "hams" are people who were signed up by their employers. Some operators have stated on the air that the repeaters should be kept clear in case an emergency breaks out. Where is the hobby aspect in all of this?

Exactly.  However, it also must be pointed out that since the elimination of element 1 for higher grade licenses, a lot of the newer operators upgrade and go to the HF bandspaces.  They don't want to be bothered with short range--they're looking for long distance operating.  Also, use of the local repeaters which used to be used for local, incidental communications has dropped off because of the availability of cell phones.  Most of the time, for less than $30, you can walk into a store and walk out with a cell phone able to be used almost right away.  No licenses, no worries, no limited range, and so on.  

AAMOF, it could be well said that all repeaters are used for now is the informal social meeting net or some sort of unofficial communications.  There is nothing else that they're needed for--or, sadly, wanted for outside of Skywarn and other volunteer activities not connected with agencies that already have their own communications in place.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 04:15:27 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KO3D
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #155 on: May 09, 2013, 03:15:09 PM »


It's a shame for you that there is no Olympic gold medal for 'jumping to conclusions'.  This is gold medal material   Shocked Shocked   

>de Ray


I wish I could say your level of sarcasm is Olympic team trial material, but unfortunately it is more like Pop Warner. I'm sure in the sophisticated realm of California things are different, but here in Pennsylvania the situation is as I described.
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KO3D
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« Reply #156 on: May 09, 2013, 03:26:04 PM »

There has been many communications infrastructure improvements in the last 12 years. I do not mean to say there is never a need for amateur assistance for short range communications. But devoting so many man hours to V/UHF HT contingency planning by amateur radio groups is a waste of time. Obviously, there are hams who are highly skilled in EMCOMM. But they are a very small percentage of the hams who have their "go bags" and orange vests packed for Armageddon. A lot of the new amateurs have no interest in any aspect of the hobby besides short-range EMCOMM. The ARRL promoting that is harmful to the entire hobby. When the emergency never comes, the HTs go in the closet and another license isn't renewed. Around 2022 you are going to see a massive drop off in licenses.

quote author=K1CJS link=topic=83029.msg672242#msg672242 date=1367838795]

98% of the time, that is the plain simple truth, but there is always that other 2%--like what happened in NYC on 9-11.  Short range VHF/UHF ham help was needed and WELCOMED there since the local official communication infrastructure was first damaged, then destroyed when the towers came down.
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KO3D
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #157 on: May 09, 2013, 03:32:16 PM »

Gil this is right on target. There is a strong place for emergency communications in the individual ham's survival plan. If I'm trapped in my basement, I'm going on 2M to ask for help. If a small town is cut off by a hurricane, someone should go on HF and ask someone to contact their relatives. I dare say 75% of the organized EMCOMMers aren't going to show up in a Katrina level scenario, nor should they. They should be home with their families.



In a dire emergency, who is going to leave their family to be "deployed" by an EMCOMM group while their wife and kids stay at home to fend off the looters and battle whatever conditions created the emergency? Not to mention being paid nothing. Right... No patched white shirt and orange vest is worth that loss.

Establish a communications strategy to help yourself and your loved ones first. The rest of the world can afford losing your meager contribution.

Gil.
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W9FIB
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #158 on: May 09, 2013, 09:25:40 PM »

Well I am an ARES member in our rural county. Except for the sheriffs department, much of the emergency response for our county is volunteer. I was also on our local fire department for 25 years until my health slowed me down. Now the question is, why did I do it? It is simple, I ENJOY giving of my time to be a volunteer. With all the talk about vests, badges, lights, etc., could you imagine the people who hate them so much, seeing me in my full fire turnout gear, driving a big red truck with lights and siren, and have my HT in 1 of the pouches? OMG, what they would say? Probably nothing good.

But the point is, I really enjoy using my time for the good of my neighbors. I really don't give a hoot if some don't like me for that. I do what I enjoy. Just as I am sure those that would hate me have things they enjoy other then helping their neighbor. So be it. Until Obama makes it illegal or taxes it out of existence, I will continue to do what I enjoy.

Arguing the need of ARES is missing the point of why I am a ham. I became a ham because I enjoy DX on 17 meters. I have an HT because it gives me easy access to the local repeater. Many of the people on the repeater are friends of mine, and I enjoy spending some time chatting with them. ARES is just another thing I enjoy. I may never be needed, but spending the time preparing for something that may never happen with a group of people who also enjoy ARES among other things is just another way to be part of the community. And for me it is fun. If my form of enjoyment of ham radio makes you think I am a fool, that's fine too.

Some people talk about the 2% of the time that hams would be really needed. Well when that 2% falls on your community, it is always good to know that there are a few good people who trained and know what they are doing to help out. Just like a volunteer fire fighter. I am ready, are you?

What is the point of EME, slow scan tv, digital modes, rtty, cw, ssb, am, and the countless other modes in ham radio? For the people that use them...it is fun. If the point of ham radio is NOT to have fun, it would have died a long time ago.

If you like it, DO IT! If you don't like it, DONT DO IT! Why do some people need to pee on someone's parade when it is not illegal, immoral, or even any of their business? Or is it the case that some people argue as their part of their "hobby enjoyment"?

Let the flames begin!
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K1CJS
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« Reply #159 on: May 10, 2013, 04:53:14 AM »

Let's just put it this way.  In heavily populated areas such as the Maine to Washington 'corridor', there is little need for emcomm--but the hams who push emcomm still want to insist they're needed.  Every ten or twenty years such an occasion may come along--maybe.  The reality is that they very seldom are, since there are multiple ways for messaging already in existence resulting from the lessons learned after the New York attacks.    

Out in the midwest, however, where population is sparse and public service agencies are more spread out, there is greater need for such activities, and the officials are more likely apt to welcome emcomm volunteers with open arms.

The only exceptions to that are the volunteer weather spotters.  They are needed for severe weather reporting no matter where they are simply because those volunteers are the only ones who normally do such activities.  You seldom see police or fire departments reporting to the National Weather Service unless the NWS can aid them in some way.

There ought to be some way to force the ARRL and the emcomm pushers to realize these facts, but there isn't--they're all too focused on their fantasies that they're indispensable.  73!

Added--The really laughable part of this emcomm fantacy is this--ARRL headquarters is located smack dab in the center of that Maine to Washington corridor.  They ought to know better--simply from that! 
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 04:56:50 AM by K1CJS » Logged
W9FIB
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #160 on: May 10, 2013, 05:09:44 AM »

Saying the same thing many times does not make it any more true or false.

If you don't like it, don't do it.

The same tired remarks go back to my last question in my last post.

Lets see some new material instead of the same thing constantly repeated! Apparently the "same old thing" is not changing anything.

Let the flames begin!
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K1CJS
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« Reply #161 on: May 10, 2013, 05:16:31 AM »

You ought to listen to your own advice.
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W9FIB
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« Reply #162 on: May 10, 2013, 05:19:40 AM »

So then should you!
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KD8GTP
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #163 on: May 10, 2013, 05:49:07 AM »

Gotta luv you wackers going at each other Smiley

Hey, I got an idea.  How about you wackers post some pics of your emergency response vehicles.  Tell us a litle about your lightbars, flashers, sirens, etc. Post a few pics of you wearing your orange emergency communications vests. For any of you undercover wackers lets how you outfitted your emergency response vehicles with hidden strobes, hidden cameras, stuff like that. Come out of the closet ye wackers and be shown to all Smiley
God I luv this site Grin

GOD Bless
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W9FIB
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« Reply #164 on: May 10, 2013, 01:06:35 PM »

Now that's a great idea! I would love to see them too. I can enjoy a good laugh like anyone else.
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