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Author Topic: CW in EMCOMM?  (Read 66804 times)
N0IU
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« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2013, 03:36:15 AM »

As far as the military abandoning Morse code, I guess I should have made it more clear that this was not my opinion. At the time, it was given as one of the most frequently used reasons that the no-coders wanted it dropped as a testing requirement.
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K8QV
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2013, 04:06:32 PM »

<<<However, it seems to me amateur radio's greatest advantage over other communication avenues rests in its simplicity and independence from infra-structure.>>>

That would be ham radio's ONLY advantage. However, the idea of a simple little rig, a wire, and a battery that will last two weeks is no longer feasible. EMCOMM types aren't interested in the simplest, most efficient, independent and foolproof mode because it requires the use of Morse code. CW is pretty much on its deathbed outside of the DX community. "Go Boxes," HTs with batteries that need chargers or they die, repeaters that need power and elevated viable antennas, and of course the Internet are the order of the day for EMCOMM. That means that amateur radio, supposedly the last best hope for the disaster torn world, is redundant to the systems and the backups already in place for the first responder professionals. When ALL the power really goes out, the guy with the little CW station will be getting messages in and out. It will never happen in the EMCOMM community at large.

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W5GNB
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2013, 07:26:18 AM »

If you have PROFICIENT operators on CW at all stations, it would certainly be much Faster and way more efficient than Packet or Phone.  Proficiency is the key to useful CW operation.....
Unfortunately, good CW operators are dying off by the dozens and few are coming up in the newer ranks of Ham Radio....
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N3ZJ
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2013, 04:21:56 PM »


Regarding the last two posts: Right on! Yes, this was the comport of my original question. Simple and efficient stations that require operator proficiency instead of eternal batteries...So a follow-on question would be: why is CW training and proficiency subordinate to "EMCOMM" training? That is, I see a lot of focus on procedural training but not on one of our legacy values, i.e., simple and reliable stations.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2013, 06:15:04 PM »

On the other hand, states of emergency requiring the exclusive use of 'small and simple' rigs are usually bad enough that most people would be hard pressed to play radio, they would be more interested in just staying alive, and hopefully that kind of emergency won't come along any time soon.
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N0IU
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« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2013, 05:17:58 AM »

So a follow-on question would be: why is CW training and proficiency subordinate to "EMCOMM" training? That is, I see a lot of focus on procedural training but not on one of our legacy values, i.e., simple and reliable stations.

Using amateur radio in emergency situations is not a theoretical exercise. Every time it is deployed, whether it is in Washington, Illinois or the remote areas of the Phillipines, we (hopefully) get smarter after each experience. We figure out what works and more importantly, what doesn't work. While the use of CW may seem like a great idea on the surface, I almost never see it mentioned in any of the articles and reports that come out in the aftermath.

A lot of people are drawn into amateur radio solely for the purpose of getting involved in emergency or public service communications and this is a double-edged sword. There are those who think that throwing an HT in a bag with a spare set of batteries along with a small Mag light and a handful of granola bars will prepare them for TEOTWAWKI, but there are those who take it very seriously and use their technical skills and knowledge of modern technology to develop communications platforms that are simple and reliable... and that don't take years or even months to master.

This weekend is the CW portion of the CQ Worldwide DX contest and one can easily see that CW is still an extremely popular mode all over the world. I have also never failed to get on the radio and stir up a casual CW QSO pretty much any time I wanted. But while CW may be one of the "legacy values" of amateur radio, that does not mean it is the right solution for every situation. I appreciate the fact that there are those who want to preserve the "legacy values" of amateur radio, but this "new breed" of operators who may be narrowly focused on using amateur radio for a specific purpose really don't care about preserving our legacy and finding a way to make it fit into their communications paradigm.

The bottom line is that it is not the purpose of emergency communications to preserve our legacy.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2013, 06:43:45 AM »

...The bottom line is that it is not the purpose of emergency communications to preserve our legacy.


I agree with you on just about everything you said, but try telling that (what I quoted) to the ARRL!  Their idea of 'preserving the bands' tie directly to their insistence on promoting emergency communications.  That idea doesn't include CW in the slightest, either.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 06:48:49 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KF7VXA
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« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2013, 01:12:15 PM »

I see a great deal of people putting down operators who get into the EMCOMM part of Ham radio only.
One major reason I' got my ticket and upgraded was for EMCOMM, but I have also bought just about every book out there for study, read forums and try to increase my knowledge in any way possible. I like much more about Amateur radio than EMCOMM and don't have an Elmer anywhere near me now, so I have to self study.
CW does have it's place in EMCOMM, but is used little. When it comes right down to it, NBEMS, a new digital operating system made for EMCOMM use primarily will get a written message through when CW will not, so CW is not the last and best way to get a transmission out in very bad conditions. NBEMS does require a computer and radio, nothing else. Not too many take a computer camping, so it's not the perfect solution either.

I guess I'd like to see Amateurs work with EMCOMM people to try and help them increase their knowledge and show them the many ways that an Amateur can communicate. When they are shunned, they have no will to learn and you make it an us and them thing. I very much understand your dislike of wannabe's.
We need EMCOMM people who are also well rounded operators if Ham radio is to keep growing. Working with EMCOMM operators to teach them more would go a long way towards lighting the spark in them that there is far more to radio than emergency work.

There are more than a few Hams who just work EMCOMM and it is a problem.
It will never get better unless others take the time to show and do some training of those people. It's not easy. I sure don't know it all, but try and upgrade the knowledge of people strictly doing EMCOMM.
It's not that I want to save the world. I do want to see knowledge increase, and grow radio, but I also want to be able to work with people who know more than how to turn on their radio and talk. It's to everyone's advantage.
It's not always easy or fun, but it's better than doing nothing except complain on forums.
We are lucky because there are some very good operators who always come through in times of emergency. It sure would be great if we all could bring the ones who don't know much up to speed.
There will always be those who care nothing more than to be able to talk providing their rig is working and just want to be able to have a badge and vest, not much can be done about those people, but there are others who can be worked with. I know this because I've been able to do so with some in a semi EMCOMM group who use GMRS (It's a local LDS church thing). None will get their ham ticket, see below what I have to work with. To the churches credit, they are working to get people get their tickets and work with them, it just has not taken in my area. I'm not LDS, but will work with anyone who really wants to learn.
If just 40% can be shown the advantage to really learning about radio, that alone will make a difference. EMCOMM groups need to make meetings not an option and teach more than just emergency operating. That is one way to increase knowledge and maybe get those people interested in the many other things Amateur radio has to offer. Once really interested, many will want to learn more. Some just need a swift kick in the pants. The one's who refuse to try and learn more should be invited to leave or be used to give verbal directions to the restrooms.
I wish I had the problem that many of you do have. There are exactly three people active in EMCOMM in my local area including me. They all do far more than just EMCOMM.
I doubt CW will ever play much of a roll in EMCOMM, but we do hear about the camper with a CW rig, lost or hurt who gets help using CW, so there may still be a very,very small place for CW, but it is fading as more of the old timers go silent and fewer learn it.

73's John KF7VXA
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 01:30:54 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
N1ZZZ
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« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2013, 03:29:15 PM »

 I would ask how many CW operators who are working at the 30 wpm+ level are used to doing armchair copy verses hard copy?  Are you able to write down 100% copy at 30 wpm or are you used to just hearing it like a voice conversation?

This is a serious question because that is what served agencies require.

73
Jeremy N1ZZZ
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2013, 09:21:11 PM »

One of the other things not being considered here is the situation.  EMCOMM for some reason in the ham circles seems to always be a solution looking for a specific problem.  By that I mean if the situation arises that the standard paths of communication are severed we can step in and assist.  Now, the problem with that is everyone seems to say we can do X why Y happens.  What if X is not X?  Say the situation is a need for sandbags to be filled.  First thought is that we are radio guys, not shovel operators.  Truth is that we are volunteers, plain and simple.  So the ones that have the ability to shovel, are expected to shovel.  In the same amount of time that it's going to take the average ham to deploy, get to where he's gong and begin relaying situational information back to an EOC the local TV news chopper is flying overhead and sending real time video about the situation.  We have seen this time after time. Katrina was the big eye opener for me.  There were so many people that didn't have the good sense to leave and they died.  The bodies were literally floating in the streets, and the  hams were reporting this on HF as the Fox News choppers were showing it on TV. 

Here's the point.  Situations that are going to strand an entire city with no available means of communications are going to be impossible.  Unless the situation is so grave that there is simply no one to talk to.  ARES is going to be passing traffic in natural disaster situations where simplex VHF /UHF comms are going to more than fill the need.  The idea of some fool setup with a CW key and HF radio are quite frankly silly.  It's EMCOMM for GOds sake, we aren't preppers.  Those that are thinking that some situation is going to arise that requires long distance communications for state to state via CW or any other mode is ludicrous.  If that sort of situation comes into play, chances are that your rig will be either fried from the EMP of the nuke that went off or swamped from the tidal wave of water that drown your silly ass.
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W9FIB
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« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2013, 04:18:17 AM »

If hams are never going to pass traffic long distance, what is the purpose of MARS stations training for just such an event?

Also, why did hams in the Philippines use HF to connect the devastated islands with the government and relief agencies?

And also why would you say hams in Katrina were using HF if it was so useless? Were the TV choppers talking to the boots on the ground? And why is the hurricane net on HF?

Each event has its own unique set of problems and needs. To condemn any mode or band is short sighted and holds little credibility. The United States is spoiled by the large amount of technology available to it. Other places do not have that luxury. Or should we say to the rest of the world...that's your problem?
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K1CJS
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« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2013, 12:49:07 PM »

One of the other things not being considered here is the situation.  EMCOMM for some reason in the ham circles seems to always be a solution looking for a specific problem.  By that I mean if the situation arises that the standard paths of communication are severed we can step in and assist.  Now, the problem with that is everyone seems to say we can do X why Y happens.  What if X is not X?  Say the situation is a need for sandbags to be filled.  First thought is that we are radio guys, not shovel operators.  Truth is that we are volunteers, plain and simple.  So the ones that have the ability to shovel, are expected to shovel....


I think that 'VUL has a good point.  Volunteers are volunteers.  In most cases, if a volunteer says he/she is a radio volunteer only, he/she is going to be told to take a hike.  At least that's the way it was when and where I was participating.

Another thing.  CW is fine--IF--there are operators who can pass the messages in code quickly and efficiently.  Seeing that not too many operators who are interested in EmCom volunteering are proficient in the mode, messages are more quickly passed in voice or through one of the digital modes--especially if the messages are mostly lists.

The time was that EmCom meant health and welfare messages only, not 'semi-official' communications such as the ARRL and others are insisting belong in the ham radio purview. 

Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, maybe we should get back to the basics of the ham EmCom communications--the health and welfare side of messaging.
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2013, 07:06:28 PM »

My point exactly.  And as far as the comments about the Philippines hurricane, as I look out my window I see the USA.  Not some distant 3rd world country that still dump poop in the streets.  More over, it seems that the number of people on here that are from another nation are rather small compared to the ones from the US, AND the ones from 3rd world nations that I spoke of earlier are fewer in number. 

So I guess the question would be this.  IF (big IF) IF you were running an HF net for a disaster in a 3rd world nation on the receiving end of communications from that nation about the situation there, just who do you think your going to call and report it to?  The local police?  Your states National Guard?  I bet you're gonna just flat call the White House, and the great half white hope himself is going to get on the phone with you to get updates on the situation. 

Like I said before, ARES and ham level EMCOMM is a solution looking for a specific problem that never really seems to manifest its self in the manner needed for ARES to become the solution.  Hence the reason for the league to push ARES to push that it's good for more than bike races and health and welfare traffic. 

No ham radio operator that isn't a public safety dispatcher is ever going to be qualified as such.  I don't care how many nets you have run, I don't care how much training you have gotten from the league that the local ham club guru that once passed some info about a storm that actually resulted in a warning being issued 20 years ago. 

Professional radio dispatchers are trained and certified to do what they do.  Sit and listen to how police and fire dispatchers handle radio traffic during a large situation then listen to an ARES net and see if you can see the obvious difference. 

My final parting shot is this.  Remember where your repeaters and gear come from before you start pontificating about how ham is so superior to commercial public safety communications.  What you are going to find is that favorite repeater you use all the time is some cast off from some police or fire department that was removed from service so they could upgrade to a better more robust system.

Yes, I get up every morning and get into a radio service truck and go to work in 911 centers, police stations and fire houses installing and repairing commercial radios.  So when someone sits here and try's to tell me that their $65 Funky Bowel (Baofung) radio is superior to a $4000 Motorola APX radio because it has a VFO is a joke.  I truly find that level of stupidity offensive.  A VFO is useless in a EMCOMM situation.  Are you expecting for people to be scanning around to find you off on some frequency that you picked because you need to pass them some traffic?  If you are involved in an ARES group, you have a list of frequencies that are already established for specific uses and tune to them.  So how in the world do you think that communications directors and people like me are not smart enough to program the commercial radios with simplex channels in case a radio system goes down?  Really.  Do you actually think that your superior intellect provides you with more intelligence that anyone else to put talk around in your radios and professional radio people are too damn dumb to figure this out so it's ARES little secret?  Get real. 
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W9FIB
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« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2013, 05:41:46 AM »

As usual, you ignored the questions and went on a rant that has nothing to do with what I asked about. And as for the Philippines, your non answer by making the excuse that it doesn't effect you hardly addresses the point I was making. But that is to be expected because my facts don't fit your argument.
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N0IU
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« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2013, 07:15:20 AM »

Or should we say to the rest of the world...that's your problem?

Maybe its time we should! We are more than $17 TRILLION in debt. There are homeless, sick and starving people IN THIS COUNTRY, but yet we still come up with the money to send to other countries to help their sick and poor and fight their battles for them!

After Katrina and 9/11, how many countries sent aid to the United States???

ZERO!!!
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