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Author Topic: Once again whackers wanna screw up the hobby... Encryption  (Read 129030 times)
W1MSG
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« Reply #210 on: October 10, 2013, 06:50:31 AM »

That is why it has been said time and again that ham radio can be an important part of emergency communications situations--in certain areas.  Colorado was and is indeed such an area--but the eastern seaboard certainly is NOT.  Yet the rabid emergency communications enthusiasts would have you believe that wherever you go, ham radio is an indispensable part of any and all emergency situations.  That simply is not true.

In Colorado during the recent flooding, ham radio did indeed play an important role--but there is no doubt that it isn't the role that the nuts with their re-purposed police cruisers, orange vests, and their habit of showing up whether they're needed or not would have had it be.

DITTO
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GREGWTH7MMMAG
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« Reply #211 on: October 10, 2013, 05:42:48 PM »

Can someone get some pictures of these repurposed police cars?  I've yet to see hams around here with them.  Usually the thugs with 22" wheels sport the police cars.  Other than a few odd vehicles, I would say most around here have pickups or suv's. 
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KD0PWN
W6EM
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« Reply #212 on: October 10, 2013, 06:03:14 PM »

Can someone get some pictures of these repurposed police cars?  I've yet to see hams around here with them.  Usually the thugs with 22" wheels sport the police cars.  Other than a few odd vehicles, I would say most around here have pickups or suv's. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQeDp0yQZT4

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W7ASA
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« Reply #213 on: October 10, 2013, 09:30:05 PM »

W1MSG: "The Emergency Services Communications system did not Fail, they just didn't have people in those remote areas. "

We see this event differently.  That being the case, for the sake of discussion, let's just say that there is an emergency where the civil communications infrastructure remains (miraculously) intact. Civil government systems are -by nature- built on the low bid, to minimum specifications and then once installed, usually manned with barely enough paid people to do the job - on an normal day.  //and usually for a princely cost to we the people... //   There is very little surge capacity designed into these systems because nobody is willing to sign the check for 'all that unnecessary capacity'.  I've seen it a dozen times.  So, when an EMERGENCY occurs, these 'just enough' systems are often simply overwhelmed, even IF they are are not physically taken off-line. Usually though, it is a combination of both physical damage/impairment of equipment and a severe shortage of 'surge' capability in equipment & personnel which fails during a huge increase of suddenly needed communication carrying capability for which the system(s) were never designed.  

The 'solution' for many departments is dependence upon cell phones for 'surge'.  Cell phones are amazing. They do however have their own wide web of dependencies. Of those towers still intact in Colorado (many were literally destroyed) , many had no power. Emergency power generators are ground mounted: you see the problem of generators on the ground in a flood. Like many floods, hurricanes and large wildfires ... this and many other emergencies could not be handled by the routine communications infrastructure. Enter ham radio volunteers.

>>> This would be a good discussion, but in another thread.  Regional differences are a significant factor, both in terrain and in "culture" of taxation -v- self-reliance as a solution for problems like these.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Ps. I know of a 3 county EOC built on 'nice' flat land which was chosen due to the low cost.  It was built on an old river bed. One flood, and three counties will go blind.  Politicians!  geeeeesh!    Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 09:34:01 PM by W7ASA » Logged
W6EM
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« Reply #214 on: October 11, 2013, 12:23:03 PM »

.....Civil government systems are -by nature- built on the low bid, to minimum specifications and then once installed, usually manned with barely enough paid people to do the job - on an normal day.  //and usually for a princely cost to we the people... //   There is very little surge capacity designed into these systems because nobody is willing to sign the check for 'all that unnecessary capacity'.  I've seen it a dozen times.  So, when an EMERGENCY occurs, these 'just enough' systems are often simply overwhelmed, even IF they are are not physically taken off-line.

Ray:

Not to ‘short circuit’ Craig’s opportunity, but apparently you haven’t heard about the ‘700MHz Rollout,’ that has been ballyhooed by the Commission and the big vendors, to urge public safety agencies to migrate to 700MHz where trunked systems, broadband and the Internet will be in EVERY PS vehicle.  Money?  Not a problem.  Gazillions in Federal DHS grants to buy all the millions of dollars worth of Batwing /\/\other /\/\ gear.  Let me say that again.  Gazillions of dollars of grant money.  Cheap, low bid?  Where have you been?   Simply ‘plug-in’ the /\/\ spec and presto, nobody else can meet the need.

As for failure of trunked radio, there are too many numerous examples to begin.  Common characteristic:  take out the trunking controller, no more system.  Happened following Katrina in New Orleans and probably the most notorious, even though Motorola managed to get a seat on the “Lessons-learned” FCC panel and helped with program damage control…….No, it wasn’t their gear, it was M/A Comm.  But, the 700MHz “program” had to be defended, so the specific details were not widely discussed in the proceedings.

Public safety systems are only as good as the design and that includes the basic concept.  Probably the funniest example involves the Dallas TX PD.  They put in a new trunked system.  Kept it for a few months.  Long enough to find out it didn’t work as well as their former UHF voter system.  So, back they went and gave the trunked gear to the Dallas Dog Catcher.

Boatloads of money to buy systems, so that’s not an excuse.  But, if public safety comms do fail, they do need help.  No argument there.  So, whether a trunked system, or a conventional repeater or just remote base simplex that conks out, our REACT-special VHF/UHF HTs and mobiles will be there.
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W7ASA
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« Reply #215 on: October 11, 2013, 01:52:30 PM »

Em -

Sounds like you're in the business.  I loved your " /\/\BATWING/\/\" thing!  ha ha

Where have I been?  Small town America lately - which I prefer.  Here, the question is usually 'can we afford to put in a stop light'?  Gazzilions of  tax payers dollars (our tax dollars, returned to use as stray pennies after they fall out of the pockets of politicians ) don't seem to be coming our way - at least not after the post 9/11 flurry of interest in survivable systems a over a decade ago. 

You are alluding to the key point; 'yet another silver bullet' from a huge name in the industry. I am certain that you remember when the older trunked systems were supposed to have solved it all too and the system before that ad nausium.  I am certain that you remember the claims of 'robust interoperability and self-healing' systems ...   YMMV because mileage varied on that.  In some places and with some systems it was good. Many horror stories from other implementations, which evidently you know about.

I'm getting old, so I try to stay out of it, but here locally we're just recently into P25 compliance and people here learned that P25 is good when you have enough signal strength, but that the fringe area reception - where many of our first responders live in the mostly volunteer fire/rescue community - the satisfaction with even simple P25 is low compared to basic narrow FM VHF which was replaced per federal edict. Much of the local system relies on wire guyed, microwave towers for interconnection of repeaters for their county and State interoperability.  We are in a hurricane prone area.  'Nuf said about what full hurricane force winds do to such installations.

Will the new 700 MHz systems you mention, which we are told will someday be bought using 'free' money from The Fed, actually perform exceedingly better than the previous UHF trunked systems?  Who knows?  For many of these systems, the ultimate quality Assurance loop begins when the customer's system seriously degrades after the check clears for the expensive 'upgrade'.   ouch!

In short - systems designed for a specific set of users, doing 'normal' tasking are rarely capable of handling the surge required during wide scale emergencies. It's usually too big of a jump to go from retrieving data on license plates during a traffic stop, of dispatching fire/rescue to running wide scale multiple search & rescue, shelter operations and etc. This 'back channel traffic' often falls to volunteers, both for boots on the ground work (under supervision), with the many retired nurses who come to the shelters and etc. and for communications - at least here it does.  For this area, which is sometimes isolated by heavy storms/hurricanes, contact with 'higher' in Richmond has sometimes required HF ham radio from our EOC to their EOC.  For our non-badged community, it's one of many ways in which we help our neighbors when needed by supporting them with extra hands as needed.

de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Ps. I am officially stealing your '/\/\ BATWING /\/\ " logo thingie.   Grin

 
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W6EM
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« Reply #216 on: October 11, 2013, 02:19:54 PM »

Ray:  Many good points you made.  No longer in "the business," as was there as a tech too many years ago to mention, and later as a major user of a remote base VHF system with microwave and fiber links as a utility manager.

However, as a "/\/\" observer over the years, and a used-to-be batlabs.com lurker, I try to stay aways away, yet informed to a degree.  Last /\/\ radios personally were/are analog Spectras and low band Maxtracs on 10 and 6.  There "was" a P200 hand held I had on 10 as well, but, got hurt in my last move.  :-(

I can appreciate channel loading as an issue.  The fair weather performance of a given system is what is marketed, of course.  The sad truth of it is, those in government at a very high level (FCC PSHSB or DHS) should have long ago acted in the best interests of small local governments and objectively put the concept systems through a series of adverse consequence evaluations and produce a report telling it as it is.  Including the Achilles' Heels, where they are.  With respect to P25 and digital systems generally, what you describe is pretty well known.  Again, had someone discussed weak signal performance, bet that those spec'ing would have stayed with NB analog on the move to new reduced channel bandwidth.  Of course, "defacto" encryption of P25 to cripple the average scanner is attractive.

Am constantly reminded these days that we have the best federal government that money can buy...... 

73.

Lee
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #217 on: October 11, 2013, 08:33:31 PM »

As much as I would like to stay on the encryption topic, there are some points being made here that need recognized.  First is the definition of a Wacker and the whole EMCOMM mantra that is being pushed by the league.  Yes, I have an axe to grind,  but it's only with certain operators.  These are not the guys that have set aside a spare radio and antenna "just in case" they would need to assist with communications.  These are the guys that use ham radio as it was meant to be, as a hobby and for the enjoyment and possibly the furthering of radio communications technology. The ones  that get me are the ones that you either never hear, because they only operate and in fact only got licensed because they are Supermen that are going to save the world with ham radio.  Of course the other type is the guy that either operates like they are some LEO dispatcher or continually are pushing or discussing the effectiveness and absolute need for EMCOMM.  They treat ham radio as if it was public safety communications and think they need sirens, lightbars and such for their ham radio endeavors. 

Now I say that with a bar on my truck and a siren connected into the radio. 
Siren does PA, radio repeat and air horn functionality.  Siren stuff has no buttons to turn it on.  In other words it don't go woo woo.
Horn is Handy for scaring deer out of the road.
PA is Handier for calling in the members of the Scout troop when they are off in the woods and it's dinner time or to warn the camp of the occasional storm coming in.  (Got a real tornado siren now so will just be calling in the Scouts for dinner now.)
Real handy for creating laughter when the local school football team is running wind sprints as I roll by.   Hollaring RUN FOREST!!!! RUNN!!!!  is always good for a laugh.

The bar is simple.  I was heating my house with corn.  Toted 110 bushels home at a time in a gravity wagon.  Got to be below 20 MPH and part of the trip is on a state route.  Getting people to realize to pay attention when the combined vehicle weight is 16000 is rather important.  Keeps me from slamming on brakes and crap so yeah, I use it for that.  Not much else. 
I got all sorts of comms gear in the truck, but I am a ham and am fairly active.  Would I help in a situation if needed, sure.  But I ain't about to spend time training on how to talk on the radio in any special way.  I don't see a need in using a tactical call sign and although I have a number of spare radios sitting around none are designated for the "Go Kit".  If it gets that bad that I need a Go kit, I will be breaking out a go away kit consisting of firearms and lots of ammo to make those that feel they need my stuff more than I do to GO AWAY... one way or another.
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W6EM
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« Reply #218 on: October 11, 2013, 08:53:07 PM »

Now, that's a good one.  A "go-away" kit.  An olive drab ammo can instead of an orange tool box.....
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K1CJS
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« Reply #219 on: October 14, 2013, 04:57:34 AM »

...Well I am looking forward to Friday and NEARFest is always fun people watching, CJS if you make it up for the Fest look for my Jeep, I will be parked inside. Dark Blue, Black Hardtop with Veteran Tag's cant miss it, it stands out for all the right reasons ...

Sorry Craig, I couldn't--but I did try.  Had something come up (as it usually does in my family!)  Thanks for the thought, though.  73!
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W1MSG
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« Reply #220 on: October 14, 2013, 09:26:21 PM »

...Well I am looking forward to Friday and NEARFest is always fun people watching, CJS if you make it up for the Fest look for my Jeep, I will be parked inside. Dark Blue, Black Hardtop with Veteran Tag's cant miss it, it stands out for all the right reasons ...

Sorry Craig, I couldn't--but I did try.  Had something come up (as it usually does in my family!)  Thanks for the thought, though.  73!

Well you didn't miss much, wasn't as busy as it usually is. The HRO booth had almost nothing there if that tells ya anything. The Whackers were there. I even saw a Decommissioned Black and White Crown Vic, Seems like 90% of them are From MA. My Phone camera was screwed up so no pictures, but I'll keep a look out I am sure someone got pictures..

Maybe in the Spring !

73, Craig W1MSG
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #221 on: October 31, 2013, 08:50:47 PM »

Something else I noticed as I was going back through this. 
Ray, your comments on public safety being built by low bid is comical.
You try to defend ham radio and it's communications infrastructure, which is built with the discarded remnants of public safety radio in most cases to defend ham radio infrastructure. 
You imply that the overloading of a trunked radio system would never happen on ham radio with single freq conventional repeaters.
Please tell me your not trying to be serious.

trunked radio systems by design and implementation are far more resilient than a conventional repeater.
Heck, a trunked system even has the ability in certain failure modes to mimic conventional repeaters, and more over, with the programming being done right, non-essential  personnel's radios simply will not talk when a system has reached fail soft because the talk groups they use are not programmed with failsoft frequencies.
Getting to the level of being in fail soft is no simple failure either. 
There are the obviously the master system level controllers in a trunked system that allow traffic to pass from site to site.
Then each site has a controller so that the individual sites can stand alone as a trunking system with the local controller.
Both have to fail before you get to the point of being in fail soft.  And once you get to that point the public safety folks can still communicate.
How is what we have better than that?
Hell we can't even keep the squirrels off the weather net when a storm is coming through. 
You are going to sit there straight faced and try to tell me that everyone will behave properly during a situation requiring the activation of EMCOMM operators.
You can't really expect anyone to believe that.  RIGHT??
You need to check the news.  Recently in New Jersey there was a story of how kids with the cheap import radios are getting on the police frequencies and chatting it up causing officer issues.  You expect them to stay off the ham bands why?
Got news, there are A-HOLE ham operators too.  There are those guys that get their jollys keying up during any sort of communication and farting, playing music or just making an ass of themselves. Although some of them are operating on low power HT's and the like others will drive a signal down the throat of the repeater that no one can talk through, and get much enjoyment doing it.  They are also the ones that use the term wacker in any sentence about ham radio and make it a point to give them the most grief. 
Sorry man, but you logic is flawed.  If I had communications that I needed to get through, I will take the batwing trunk system every day over some conventional hammie repeater and twice as often on Sunday.  Those systems, while fallible, have internal abilities to deal with that sort of interference.  They simply put the channel being interferred with out of service and direct the subscriber to another channel.  More over, there is a log of who (radio ID) did what.  If someone is screwing around, everyone knows who is doing it.  If someone has cloned an ID, then the ID can be restricted from the system.
 How are we doing that with ham radio.  We ain't.  Which is too bad, as it would come in very handy at times.

 
 
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W7ASA
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« Reply #222 on: November 01, 2013, 10:04:12 AM »

K8VUL

I am glad that the systems in your area were all bought on the highest bid, have MORE than sufficient throughput and extra personnel to handle all contingencies, no matter how rare or minor including: shelter comms , Red Cross liaison, status reporting to next of kin, lost and found pets on top of the primary design for public safety.  Unfortunately, I am not rich enough to handle the tax burden to live alongside you in The Emerald City, where everything works all the time. It must be marvelous (and expensive).



... but I do know from experience how it works in the places I have lived, which represent a more median way of life. I have not seen a city/county communication system yet which had enough surge capacity of throughput and the otherwise excess personnel on stand-by, just waiting for the relatively rare "extreme" situations, like the Colorado flooding, our hurricanes & etc.  That would be rightly seen as excess spending (re: Washington DC) .  I have seen many local LEOs running chronic overtime to handle even the normal shifts, the healthcare and their staff seriously under staffed and underfunded and etc. So our volunteers: nurses, retired doctors, cooks , churches and a few hams are greatly appreciated in this area  - on the rare occasion - when a bit of extra help is needed: neighbors helping neighbors. Around here, this is considered normal and just 'good manners'.

I can only speak from experience. Naturally, you are in a city far away, so your mileage may vary.


de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Ps. Jammers?  BT&DT - the sheriffs office in Laramer county Colorado had a problem as you describe.  It was a long time ago - Y2K.  It was solved in a few hours by a single ham who was pat of the huge call-out to back-up the tri-country area for Y2K transition. He located the transmitter in about one hour with his VHF doppler DF set in his truck.  The van full of deputies handled it as soon as the house was located. Three morons, one of whom was ACTIVE DUTY AIR FORCE began blithering about trying to start a shooting war with the Feds - lunatics.  That made the jump from it only being 'three drunks with a ham radio' to domestic terrorism - even before 9/11. Again - the sheriff's office had suffered this for months; an hour or two hour of a radio techie with a home made DF set on his pick-up truck solved it (Good job Bart!).  Small wonder they like hams in that area.  This is the same area hit by the horrible flooding just a few months ago where hams again received great praise for their excellent community support.

What is the longest single thread on record on E-Ham?  Are we going to set the record for this thread?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 10:30:44 AM by W7ASA » Logged
W1JKA
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« Reply #223 on: November 01, 2013, 03:55:18 PM »

I'll keep it rolling: Picture this, if every gun owner in the U.S. also owned a small UHF/VHF HT with a small solar charger we would have COMPLETE country wide EMCOMM coverage just by line of sight alone. I admit command and control would be a little sketchy at first but as with everything else it would eventually sort itself out and communications would be passed.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #224 on: November 02, 2013, 06:25:20 AM »

K8VUL

I am glad that the systems in your area were all bought on the highest bid, have MORE than sufficient throughput and extra personnel to handle all contingencies, no matter how rare or minor including: shelter comms , Red Cross liaison, status reporting to next of kin, lost and found pets on top of the primary design for public safety.  Unfortunately, I am not rich enough to handle the tax burden to live alongside you in The Emerald City, where everything works all the time. It must be marvelous (and expensive).....

And here it goes--from one extreme to another.  Lunacy in its finest form.

Nobody said that the most expensive, highest bid systems were always used, but on the other hand, the lowest bid weren't always used either.  Saying that that IS the case isn't doing justice to anyone.  The public service comms systems bids aren't designed to handle every single contingency no matter how far fetched it could be either.  They ARE designed, however, to be flexible enough to be able to be useful during emergency situations, seeing that those situations are less than 1 percent of the total time the system is in use.

I said it before, I'll say it again--this thread has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
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