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Author Topic: CW in EMCOMM?  (Read 73606 times)
KB8VUL
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Posts: 136




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« Reply #45 on: December 26, 2013, 08:24:24 PM »

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?

Yeah, your right I didn't answer your specific questions.   So here I go.

MARS... Health and welfare not much more.  And anything the military has to communicate on HF they do themselves.

Katrina, again, who were they communicating too?  FEMA, the White House?  local EOC to EOC?  That gets a lot done, "we got dead bodies here"  static  "yep, we  got some here too"  "didn't these people know to leave?"  "The Superdome is full of people with no food, water or toilet paper, getting bad here." 
Outside situational awareness, which the News channels had covered in spades, there was some health and welfare stuff, but what was coming out of there that would not have been communicated any other way.  Bigger question being, was HF the only band available or just what they choose to use because it's what they trained with and it was designated?  I just recently put a NVIS HF antenna on top an EMA building that is 15 miles from the state EOC so they could communicate with the State EOC.  A VHF beam on each end and 30 watts would have more than covered the distance.  If nothing else, back to back UHF repeaters at each county EOC with offset PL's would enable every county to communicate with each other and the state as well. 

As far as the Philippines, I covered that.  They DON'T have technology to do these things.  For them HF and CW are a better bet.  But there are some distinct differences between the USA or a State or local government and the Phillipines, first is that they are more or less on and island.  Second is there are states in the US bigger than that island.  Amish areas not included, there are few if any places in the US that are as backward as they are with basic infrastructure.  Few people in the US live in grass huts. 

Lastly, as far as the rest of the world, and saying "sorry about your luck".  Yes, we need to start doing more of that.  Russia finally started doing some heavy lifting with the last disaster, it was about time.  China and the other established nations should step up and quit just expecting us to do it all.  So yea, we need to let others get involved.  And we REALLY need to quit assisting people that don't like us anyway.
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KD7YVV
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2013, 01:38:50 PM »


Is there any activity - or is there any place - for CW in EMCOMM? It strikes me that the simplicity and independence of a CW station might have great merit, but I never see this addressed. Am I way off base here?
Thanks.

There are those who first get involved with CERT because they want to help in their neighborhood in a disaster/emergency.
Now, most neighborhoods are quite densely packed to the point where you don't even have to go 500 feet to see someone.
That being said, not many houses have the required real estate for a full wave 160-10 meter hf antenna setup.
Now, those people who get involved with CERT may be introduced to ham radio for the first time in their lives.
To them, ham radio is some person in a basement with all sorts of weird sparking things and doodads wearing bakelite headphones.
In an emergency, you make do with what you have. If all you have is a qrp cw rig, there are still plenty of operators out there that can
decode SOS. If that's all you know as far as CW, keep sending it until someone zeroes in on where you are.
Hams have many skills, and finding transmitters is one of them. Granted, HT's are pretty cheap nowadays, and usually most of the general populace
is in range of at least one repeater. However, it all comes back to what you have on hand at the time of the emergency.
Flashlight? I seem to remember a story about two people camping or something that were messing with flashlights sending each other SOS.
Well the light was seen by someone and emergency services were called. (If I'm recalling the story correctly....old brain.)
I also remember an episode of Gilligan's Island where the Skipper was blamed for the shipwreck so the castaways "recreated" the storm.
Ginger was making lightning with a motor or something, and the first thought in my head was, spark gap transmitter.
When amateur radio was mostly CW, that was the mode used in an emergency. There were plenty of good ops who could pass traffic.
Then as AM/SSB became more the norm, those modes were used, and traffic nets handled plenty of voice traffic.
After all, in the 1950's and 60's, long distance was expensive and you needed multiple telephone operators to complete a cross country call.
Case in point, does anyone still use a rotary dial telephone anymore? (I still do!) Technology marches on.
Nowadays, I can call anywhere in the world on a device no larger than a pack of cards. However, there is a huge network support infrastructure
involved. Take away the cell towers and that little doodad is as useless as wings on a pig.
As the digital modes continue to evolve (DStar, Winlink, Echolink, PSK31 etc.) these modes will be used as well.
Who knows what modes hams will be using 100 years from now? Will CW still be a part of communications then? Who knows?
I know watching the old Star Trek, (Space Seed) CW was used in the series, even on Star Trek Voyager (The 37's) CW was used.
There are those in CERT and ARES who never venture beyond getting their technician license, and the radio they buy ends up in a drawer
someplace, never to see the light of day, and most people who are in CERT may never see a huge natural disaster like an earthquake.
Besides, if something were to happen, their first concern would be themselves, their immediate family, the dog......
Their first thought is not going to be, I have to find my HT and get on the air.....I might be needed to communicate.
CW has its place, and although it can be used in an emergency, there are many other modes and choices nowadays that require far less
skill and are much faster. Is CW obsolete? I don't believe so, but as I said, technology marches on.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4844




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« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2013, 02:51:26 PM »

Surely, it depends on the situation. Continental US - most of the time (except perhaps  the lost hiker etc) not necessary.  Hurricane hitting Tristan da Cunha as it did some years back, a different situation. A yacht in trouble at sea - again, maybe a different case. All of these unlikely to need a lot of traffic passing. Hurricane in the Caribbean - another possible case (as has happened), depending on HF conditions, urgency and traffic. I think that generally, in such cases, the amount of traffic is initially low, and that leads to other systems being brought on line, but as a 'first response' in places without major infrastructure, it has the possibility to be useful.

My preferred mode of operation is CW......
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2014, 05:19:30 PM »

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

ZERO!!!
Wrong. After Katrina, Canada and Mexico even sent their military to help the US, and materials, many foreigners donated money directly to US NGOs like the American Red Cross, while foreign governments pledged upwards of 800 million USD in aid to the US government. As is typical of all international disasters, even the most recent one in the Phillipines, most of those government pledges either go unclaimed or were reneged on, so only about 40 million of the government aid was actually claimed by the US and used for the victims.

As for 9/11 I seem to remember that international urban search and rescue teams responded, people donated money to US NGOs, NATO countries sent their joint AWACS planes to control US air space, helped depose the Taliban in Afghanistan and are still there today as ISAF. My country of Norway might even remain there with forces after the last US forces have left.

Your ignorance is sad, but it's not typically American. We have some guys in Norway too who thinks we've never been helped by foreigners before.
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W9FIB
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Posts: 899




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« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2014, 02:49:03 AM »


Your ignorance is sad, but it's not typically American. We have some guys in Norway too who thinks we've never been helped by foreigners before.

I tend to agree.

Why do we have to think EMCOMM is for the continental USA only? Are we all that self centered that unless it is our disaster locally that we simply say "I don't care"?

Why is health and welfare traffic looked down on? Isn't that an important part of any disaster? Do we really want to put that burden on the local governments as well?

Is there really no place in EMCOMM to pass non vital traffic on the NTS?

Is EMCOMM really about hams working directly with some government official only? Or are we all so stupid to think unless it is related to some government function it is not EMCOMM?

Did you ever stop to think that answering an SOS from a stranded maritime mobile is really EMCOMM?

Are we all really that stupid to think EMCOMM lives or dies on VHF only? Should all EOCs that have HF dismantle them? Should we have a new rule that says only voice or data can be used in an emergency? And be VHF only?

The problem is simple. A few have given the many a bad rap as far as EMCOMM in general. But in reality the same could be done to any mode of operation in the ham bands. Just as there are many good OP on any band or mode, there are also bad. But its the people who don't know, don't want to be useful and help out, or just don't give a damn about EMCOMM or the people it helps that are EMCOMM's biggest critics.

So if EMCOMM uses any and all means possible to do what is needed and asked of them, be it by government or non government entities, is it somehow wrong? Would you really let someone die if you could get a message out by CW and get help, and not do it?

I am sure some "Mr. Know It All" will rip this post to shreds. For those that do, have your fun. In the end you will in some form prove my point here.
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KB1QBZ
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2014, 02:47:50 AM »

CW may be of use in EMCOMM for a distant station off in some remote place 1000s of miles from nowhere, but it's not generally needed for most emergencies (even in third world countries) because you're communicating distances of a couple of hundred miles max. 

CW is slow, highly error prone, and requires specially trained operators.  There is this erroneous belief that lots and lots of CW operators rag chew at 25-35 wpm, but that's not true.  They QSO at 25-35 wpm in a very structured communication: call sign, signal report, state/country, and (maybe) name.  Even with that limited communications you hear a lot of dit dit dit dit dit dit (which means "I just made an error and am re-transmitting).  And yes, I know that during WWII there was a lot of communications at 25-35wpm, but that was 70 years ago with people who spent 6 months training 10-12 hrs/day seven days per week and then operated 12-16 hours/day seven days per week for years.

And if you're doing CW, the end result is going to be the receive operator's chicken scratches as he/she desperately tries to copy unfamiliar strings of text.  That means adding a lot of extra time to the process of communicating the message to its intended recipient. 

CW sent by/received by computer is more reliable, but digital modes use the same computers, same operators, send at comparable speeds (or higher), and provide error detection, error correction, and ARQ.

*****

The reason why there was so much HF use in the aftermath of Katrina is that all of the VHF/UHF antennas were down - especially the repeaters.  In the first week or two after the storm - before the emergency communications infrastructure was in place - they had to communicate 50-80 miles to those outside the disaster area, and HF was the only option.

*****

In the U.S., health and welfare (H&W) messaging is looked down upon for a couple of reasons:

1.  Red Cross and other NGOs discourage sending of H&W messages via ham radio because it's unencrypted, which means that messages originating from a shelter are announcing to the world that your home is empty and unguarded, plus you're giving other info that can be used for activities like identity theft.

2.  The U.S. National Traffic System (NTS) is an antique designed around low volume communications from small towns with maybe 300-500 people impacted by the emergency.  It's based that way because in the 1950s, when it was created, a majority of Americans lived in small towns.  That's not true anymore - a majority of the population lives in large density areas (cities or very dense counties like the Boston-New York-Washington metroplex).

a.  By its very nature of laboriously passing messages from one net to another to another to another, it cannot handle large volumes.

b.  It is still conceived of as hams carrying the message the entire distance from the originator to within a few miles of the addressee - even though close to half of the U.S. population has free long-distance, which means that all you need to do is get the message a few miles from the disaster area to where phone service still exists. 

c.  It is not integrated with the internet - again they are laboriously passing each message from net to net to net to ... all the way to within a few miles of the addressee.  Internet integration would mean getting the message to the nearest point of working internet and then letting the internet carry it from there.

d.  For the most part, NTS operators have not adopted digital communications.  They send via slow and error prone CW or even slower and more error prone voice even though there are digital modes that are faster, have error detection and correction, and ARQ.

e.  In most disasters, cell phone service has been restored in a few days - at least for the vast majority of people impacted.  In a disaster impacting large populations, it would take longer to get the messages passed via NTS than it does to wait for cell phone service to be restored.

Again, I'm talking about the U.S.  I can't speak for the rest of the world.

Some of you may remember how hams were deployed to provide H&W traffic to various locations in NY State and Vermont after Tropical Storm Lee left many small communities cut off for days (ARRL made a big deal about it).  However, the after-action reports of those hams are pretty consistent: "we got there, the EOC and NGO people said 'thanks for coming but nobody asked for you and we don't need you', and the hams were sent home" (somehow, ARRL forgot to mention those after-action reports).  The H&W traffic was handled through a variety of methods that mainly involved getting the originator names and addressee contact info into a computer file, getting that file onto a helicopter (or other supply vehicle), and then having someone back at base originate hundreds of standard email messages in a matter of minutes.  Average elapsed time from origination to receipt by the addressee was about 8 hours - which is 16-48 hours less time than sending the message via NTS. 

Caveats:

1.  Yes, we may have a disaster in which the entire phone system and the entire internet are knocked out across the entire country.  As it currently exists, NTS would collapse under the weight of that kind of traffic load.  Meanwhile, in every major U.S. disaster to-date, there was working phone and internet within 80 miles of any point within the disaster area (and that includes Katrina).

2.  There is some talk of ARRL coming up with a new architecture for NTS that would greatly expand the use of digital, the use of internet, and the use of long-distance telephone.  If ARRL does it, it's the right direction.  However, I can't wait to see the typical voice or CW NTS op being told that they need to start using digital modes and internet.

Jon, WB2RYV (formerly KB1QBZ)
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W1JKA
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« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2014, 03:52:32 AM »

The answer to the OP's question has been answered  several times over, yes there is a place for CW in EMCOMM for SPECIFIC situations and reasons. So why the continual repetitive rehashing of the pro/cons of other means of EMCOMM available for other situations that we are all well aware of?
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W9FIB
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Posts: 899




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« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2014, 03:57:10 AM »

Wow. Being that CW was dropped from testing only a few years ago, I didn't realize that everyone who knew it and used it had passed on already. Makes me wonder who is sending and receiving all the CW on the ham bands.

I agree. If you wander into a disaster area and were not asked, then you should be sent home. Deployment is by request, not by our own whim.

The NTS handles properly formatted messages all the time with a very low error rate. It is not for time sensitive information, but rather as I said, to maybe send a personal message out of the area. Something no NGO or Government agency will do.

CW received as chicken scratchings? I bet there are many CW OPs that would disagree with that.

Yea sure. In a major disaster there are lots of helicopters sitting there waiting to carry pieces of paper around.

Half the country with free long distance...What about the other half? Do we just ignore them?

So passing traffic on an established net is too laborious? Should we just never set up nets anymore? Is it too much of a bother to actually communicate anymore unless it is texted or sent on the internet? What about the people who don't have a smart phone or a computer? Just ignore them too?

I agree, the NTS is not set up to handle time sensitive and large volumes of information. Isn't that why specific traffic nets are set up? And usually these nets have OPs that have working internet to get the information through. We just ignore them too?

Every emergency has its own set of problems. Isn't nice to know that there is a group of people with equipment that is flexible enough to adapt to the conditions and do what is needed?
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KB1QBZ
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« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2014, 07:15:46 AM »

Wow. Being that CW was dropped from testing only a few years ago, I didn't realize that everyone who knew it and used it had passed on already. Makes me wonder who is sending and receiving all the CW on the ham bands.

And how many of those CW QSOs you're hearing at 20 wpm are rag chews with long strings of words and numbers? As opposed to rather formalized

DE W9FIB 599 599 WI WI STAN STAN 73 DE W9FIB

The NTS handles properly formatted messages all the time with a very low error rate. It is not for time sensitive information, but rather as I said, to maybe send a personal message out of the area. Something no NGO or Government agency will do.
But in recent disasters govt did get involved in H&W and it is rather standard for the NGOs to get involved (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.).  But less and less of it is sent via ham radio because it is slow and not secure.

CW received as chicken scratchings? I bet there are many CW OPs that would disagree with that.
Really, you going to claim that these people are typing everything? 

I agree. If you wander into a disaster area and were not asked, then you should be sent home. Deployment is by request, not by our own whim.
But they were activated by ARRL.  They didn't just wander in there - they were called by ARES and asked to come.  The point is that by the time they got there, there wasn't any H&W traffic for them to send - it had all been handled by computer and/or re-established cell phone towers.

Yea sure. In a major disaster there are lots of helicopters sitting there waiting to carry pieces of paper around.
See, this is the problem with NTS thinking.  NOBODY was carrying paper.  They were carrying a thumb drive.  A thumb drive that fits in the pilot's watch fob pocket.  A thumb drive that held hundreds of messages.  And yes, by the time hams would be arriving to do H&W traffic, there are lots of helicopters and lots of 2-1/2 ton National Guard trucks and lots of HUMVEEs, DUKs, etc.  A thumb drive doesn't take up much room in the pilot/driver's pocket.  And when plugged into a computer back at base, takes maybe 10 minutes to send a couple of hundred messages.

Half the country with free long distance...What about the other half? Do we just ignore them?
Again, NTS thinking.  If I have people with free long distance, they can phone messages to the other half of the population.  More specifically, they can phone the message to the addressee from locations just outside the disaster area.  The messages don't have to be relayed all the way across the country from one net to another to another to another.  Probably need about 100 people making calls - out of a population of 100,000,000 who have free long-distance.

So passing traffic on an established net is too laborious? Should we just never set up nets anymore? Is it too much of a bother to actually communicate anymore unless it is texted or sent on the internet? What about the people who don't have a smart phone or a computer? Just ignore them too?
...
And usually these nets have OPs that have working internet to get the information through.
Yes.  Passing hundreds of messages individually from net to net to net in voice or CW is too laborious and too error prone.  And again you're showing NTS thinking (must send via one mode only - ham radio).  It's a multi-modal world out there - we should be sending messages by the fastest and most reliable mode possible, and not limiting messages to ham radio.  If the victim sends a message to an email address - then get the message out of the disaster area by radio and into the internet for transport and delivery (we know the addressee has email because the victim gave us an email address).  If a victim sends a message to a phone number - then get the message to the nearest working phone that can call the addressee.  Either way it's a lot faster than NTS, a lot less manpower needed, and more accurate because there's less hand-off.

After Hurricane Irene, we saw a bunch of H&W messages bouncing around because they couldn't be delivered (addressee's phone wasn't working) - but it turns out that many of those addressees did have working text messaging and/or could get to a place where they could send and receive email (set up by local govt or an NGO or even a local company).  Ham radio didn't even think to try those modes of transmission.  And I've never seen an NTS op take a message going via ham radio and put it into the internet.

73s
Jon, WB2RYV (ex KB1QBZ)
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K1CJS
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« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2014, 07:34:37 AM »

The answer to the OP's question has been answered  several times over, yes there is a place for CW in EMCOMM for SPECIFIC situations and reasons. So why the continual repetitive rehashing of the pro/cons of other means of EMCOMM available for other situations that we are all well aware of?

Agreed!

BTW, 'QBZ,  Health and Welfare messaging isn't "looked down upon,"  your reasoning is a crock.  Most H&W messages don't contain location information, they contain a simple message that the sender is OK.  Homes being empty and unguarded?  If so, there are many--not just the one.  Identity theft?  Come off it.  You're 'way too paranoid.
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W9FIB
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« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2014, 10:00:49 AM »

Wow. Being that CW was dropped from testing only a few years ago, I didn't realize that everyone who knew it and used it had passed on already. Makes me wonder who is sending and receiving all the CW on the ham bands.

And how many of those CW QSOs you're hearing at 20 wpm are rag chews with long strings of words and numbers? As opposed to rather formalized

DE W9FIB 599 599 WI WI STAN STAN 73 DE W9FIB

Message format is formalized, and besides either you know CW or you don't.

CW received as chicken scratchings? I bet there are many CW OPs that would disagree with that.
Really, you going to claim that these people are typing everything? 

I claimed nothing. But still think many CW OPs would disagree with you.

I agree. If you wander into a disaster area and were not asked, then you should be sent home. Deployment is by request, not by our own whim.
But they were activated by ARRL.  They didn't just wander in there - they were called by ARES and asked to come.  The point is that by the time they got there, there wasn't any H&W traffic for them to send - it had all been handled by computer and/or re-established cell phone towers.

Then the ARRL and/or ARES screwed up deploying them where they were not needed.

Yea sure. In a major disaster there are lots of helicopters sitting there waiting to carry pieces of paper around.
See, this is the problem with NTS thinking.  NOBODY was carrying paper.  They were carrying a thumb drive.  A thumb drive that fits in the pilot's watch fob pocket.  A thumb drive that held hundreds of messages.  And yes, by the time hams would be arriving to do H&W traffic, there are lots of helicopters and lots of 2-1/2 ton National Guard trucks and lots of HUMVEEs, DUKs, etc.  A thumb drive doesn't take up much room in the pilot/driver's pocket.  And when plugged into a computer back at base, takes maybe 10 minutes to send a couple of hundred messages.

Again you assume there are assets just sitting around to move the data in what ever form to where it is destined for. Notice the word assume. As to NTS thinking...go back to my original post and notice NTS came up only once in a very limited form. It is you assuming that all thinking is around the NTS when in reality, I have never actually used it, would not know how to put a message into the system, and received only 1 message from the system in my life.

And again you assume that I am somehow opposed to other forms of data movement. I am not. Why not read the original question of the thread. Then my examples are not rooted in NTS only, but rather in general thinking and possibilities where CW may...notice that word "may" be useful.

Your fixation on NTS is simply yours, not mine.

And by your thinking, if traffic nets for any emergency are so useless, error prone, and laborious, why do they still exist? In my thinking there must be some value or they would have been abandoned. If hams did not dump operations that are useless, we would still have people using spark gap transmitters for everyday use.

First you say a few with working phones could send through the traffic, then you quote where messages didn't get though because of non working phones. So if you are 1 of those phone OPs and you hit a non working phone, then what? Pack up and go home? Ignore that message? To be honest I don't have the answer to that either. But I do know that if the message is put into what ever message handling system that is established for the particular emergency there will at least be some effort to get it delivered.

Basically it boils down to this. If you need to move some information, would you not find a way to move it? Isn't that why hams can be useful because of our ability to improvise many ways to move that information? In my opinion, the answer to both is yes. So is CW useful in EMCOMM? It is available to use, and maybe at some point someone may be limited to just that to get through. To me that is the real answer to the question.
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HURRICAINE
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« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2014, 04:18:48 PM »

Geesh Folks, can't we all just get along.

From what I can remember - 911 and Katrina there was no CW going on because that day and age has passed.

It takes a skilled operator to send and receive CW, where as anyone with a computer with a sound card can send and receive any digital mode once they have been trained.

The difference is that a General Class License is not required to send most CW, but is a requirement of digital - since digital is out of the CW band.

I would imagine there is many ( OLD ) hams on this forum that are reluctant to change with the times and are afraid of computers and digital modes - hence they are guarding their territory like a Pit-bull.

The fact of the matter is once NBMS becomes standard in this country you are going to see vast changes both in the equipment used and the modes.
Most everything will be done with either Olivia or MFSK and either you get with the program or leave.

There will always be a need for the two way handheld radio crowd - boots on the ground, but the essential operators are going to be operating digital only.

The old myth that CW will get through where all others cannot is bunk.   Olivia will operate below the noise floor, once the noise floor has been reached with CW - it is all over... That is why they call it the noise floor. it is as low as you can go!
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HURRICAINE
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« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2014, 04:34:54 PM »

Wow. Being that CW was dropped from testing only a few years ago, I didn't realize that everyone who knew it and used it had passed on already. Makes me wonder who is sending and receiving all the CW on the ham bands.

And how many of those CW QSOs you're hearing at 20 wpm are rag chews with long strings of words and numbers? As opposed to rather formalized

DE W9FIB 599 599 WI WI STAN STAN 73 DE W9FIB

But I do know that if the message is put into what ever message handling system that is established for the particular emergency there will at least be some effort to get it delivered.

Basically it boils down to this. If you need to move some information, would you not find a way to move it? Isn't that why hams can be useful because of our ability to improvise many ways to move that information?

The National Traffic System was developed at a time when Technology did not surpass the available means to send messages.
The acronym ARRL stands for American Radio Relay League for a reason, because the early equipment couldn't talk more then 20 miles and if you wanted to send messages long distances you had to send them via multiple operators.

Is the NTS a viable option today, NO!
Why?  because in most areas, the NTS has been taken over by a bunch of CB radio lids that uses it as a means to reserve a frequency for themselves and their Good Buddies, so they can have a reserved place to talk everyday and a reserved frequency so they know where to meet.   The couple of pieces of BS traffic that I handled was enough to turn my stomach.  And, unless you are a part of their generation and buddy club, they will just put you at the bottom of the list and everybody else will check in, say their seventy three's and leave and the last person will basically talk to themselves.  The net control hurrying them along because they want to go eat supper or something.

When these old people dies off, the NTS will be disbanded in my opinion, because telephones, cell phones, the internet and other means of communicating has already displaced the NTS to the point that no one uses it anymore.

In an emergency, the government has their own mobile cell towers, their own mobile radio repeaters, their own paid staff, their own salaried employee's that oversee's the day to day operations and has Satellites in the sky that can handle most traffic day or night.

It would take a true disaster of biblical proportions where everything was wiped from the face of the earth for a ham to be a necessary part of a emergency today.

During the bombings in Boston, the hams were ordered to leave their posts and get out of the way of the public officials - because they had no security clearances and could not be trusted.

The ARRL glosses over this when they put things in their magazine publications because the rule of thumb is - only put things in the magazine that shows amateur radio in a positive light.

The truth of the story is never told in QST because the dark side of amateur radio is much worse then what they portray.
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W9FIB
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Posts: 899




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« Reply #58 on: January 17, 2014, 07:22:19 PM »

It is amazing how worked up people get over the slightest hint of using CW. It is also amazing how many words it takes to say NTS is outdated.

But here is the thing. If you have a radio you can send Code. Even a hand held FM radio can send code. The trick is having the know how to do it. And you don't need a processor anywhere to accomplish it. A radio and some wire to key it. That's all. Of course there are all those that say just use the mic. Well what if your hurt and cant talk, don't have a digital device to type on? Then what?

Is it the most or even somewhat practical mode? Absolutely not. Is it usable? Absolutely.

To say code is of no possible use is like saying I am stuck in the middle of no where and I have a truck that can only drive across a creek. But the truck is so old that I won't use it. And it can only cross a creek so I can't really get anywhere with it. So I will leave the truck sit. But that's not my style. I would find a way to make that truck take me as far as it can. It may be slow, bumpy, and hard to do; but it does get me closer to where I want to be.

It is those who can make do with what is available to them that are farther ahead then those who depend solely on technology.

Anyone who would say you can't get a message out using code either hates code to start with, or has decided they will not use it for whatever reason. Anyone who can and does use code knows its capabilities. Even in an emergency situation.

And all this from a person who rarely uses code! But then I guess I had good Elmers who taught me to always keep my options open. And to say code is dead and useless is to deny a possible option. And like that old truck, it is simply not in my blood to close off any option that with some effort I can make work.

And that the sad part to think some hams have become such slaves to technology that they can't see other simpler options. Who knows...maybe some day simple improvised dipoles will be a thing of the past as well. Sounds stupid, right? But to me, that is along the same line of thinking.

Rant on how dumb I am, how old fashioned I am, etc. At least I can dream up ways to get a message through. And for me that is all, when stuck in the middle of some emergency, that counts!
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N0IU
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« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2014, 08:04:36 AM »

It takes a skilled operator to send and receive CW, where as anyone with a computer with a sound card can send and receive any digital mode once they have been trained.

The difference is that a General Class License is not required to send most CW, but is a requirement of digital - since digital is out of the CW band.

First of all, I agree with the general premise of your post, but...

I know you think I am just being "combative", but this is factually incorrect. CW can be operated anywhere from the lower band edge to the upper band edge on ANY frequency although most CW activity does not go into the phone portion of the bands. Except for SSTV, digital communications takes place below the bottom edge of the phone portion of all bands which is in the generally accepted CW portion of the bands.
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