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eHam Forums => Emergency Communications => Topic started by: KB8VUL on May 15, 2012, 07:15:42 PM



Title: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 15, 2012, 07:15:42 PM
I have said a million times that this hobby has something for everyone, and it does. 
But I fail to see what the unwavering push is for being EMCOMM.  There isn't a single ham I know that if asked wouldn't get on the air to assist as needed in the event of a disaster.  It's a part of why amateur radio exists, but it's only a part.  The league seems to push hard to make it a big part, I assume to legitimize the existence of ham radio at all.  I see this as foolish.  Where I am from, we are lucky that we don't have the full on squirrels on the local repeaters that are jamming, cussing and generally making fools of themselves.  But these problems do exist.  It's like they have taken a page from CB radio and put it on the local 2 meter repeaters.  And THIS more than any level of perceived EMCOMM readiness is what saves the bands from the auctioneers gavel at the FCC.  It's as unusable a piece of spectrum as the CB radio channels are and in reality it's less usable. 

Keeping this in mind, why the drive for the whole thing.  And more to the point, and this will get some serious push back, why do we continue to not only allow but encourage the "WACKER" mentality?  It's one thing to have a radio and a couple batteries in a case so if you would need to bug out and go assist WHEN CALLED ON (this is key here folks).  But decking out your ride with lights to the point that your wife is going to divorce you is another thing. 

And the "When All Else Fails"???? What is that exactly?  What is everything else?  Lets see, I live in a county that has a repeater at most every fire station.  Every fire station is backed up with a generator.  The 911 center has a primary and secondary generator.  The PSAP has a generator.  There is a county wide microwave linked simulcast 5 site system that is two VHF channels and every radio in the county for public service has both of those channels in it as well as every other repeater in the county.  There are county road repeaters and township garage repeaters that all are on generator and are also in the radios.  So we have repeaters, at different sites, that are generator backed up, with a primary and secondary 911 dispatch center.  Then there are actually 2 911 centers.  One for the fire and one for the police, and they both have secondaries.  So what is all else.  20 odd repeaters, spread out across the county, different towers, different power companies and all with generators, and some with more than fail over generator.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is all federally required.  So it's like this most places.  It might not be all VHF, it might be 800.  Speaking of which, we also have the Ohio MARCS system that covers the county.  Good coverage from the two of the surrounding counties 80 systems that are in other radios in the county.  Forgot about that.  So back to when all else fails.  What would it take for it to all fail and the hams to save the day.  It's simple really, it would take all the public safety types to pack it in and go home because it's truly dooms day and we are all (at least in this area) pretty much screwed.  It will take an event that will not require a go kit but rather' to coil my phrase, a "go AWAY" kit.  that being a couple long range rifles and several thousand rounds of ammo.  And it will be he how has the biggest gun or the quicker shot that will be talking on the radio.  Ham radio as we know it will not exist.  It will be who ever has the equipment to talk will get to talk. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KCJ9091 on May 16, 2012, 06:12:35 AM
Sounds like you would be happier if you found a different hobby.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 16, 2012, 06:26:38 AM
Kind of a rambling comment. Could you break your point down to a single sentence or two so we could figure out what you are talking about?  ::)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5WCF on May 16, 2012, 07:29:12 AM
Really, these are the only replies someone could come up with, what about the word discussion here is lost. This is one persons opinion and no reason to basically tell him to just go away. Personally I see where he is coming from, there does seem to be an increased focus on emcomm as of late, and as much as the ham community works to improve our emcomm capabilities, so does the rest of the local municipalities, and they have much deeper pockets, and greater resources to work with. So it would beg the question how much of a true necessity is a ham and his go kit in the bigger picture of emcomm, excluding the whole EOTWAWKI scenario(end of the world as we know it) for those not familiar. Maybe we should focus more on trying to keep the frequencies we have simply by communicating more and less about trying to justify keeping them by having an occasional emcomm net or on air drill not to say we shouldn't but we shouldn't have to jump through hoops with various Govt. agencies to justify our hobby and our allocated frequencies.

Again just my opinion feel free to post yours as well,

William K5WCF


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N5MIS on May 16, 2012, 07:43:37 AM
well it is nice that your county has all the stuff they need to conduct everything and take care of everything twice over but some of us who live in different parts of the country are counties  aren't as well off as yours is so yes  they do ask us  to assist them when necessary. About a year ago a tornado went though this area and the local EOC was more then happy  to have us  assist them because all there other personnel where at the  sconce trying to help the local people there.   


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5UNX on May 16, 2012, 08:37:18 AM
Being new again . . .  I decided to get back into the Ham hobby after the Joplin Tornado. Ham operators provided much needed communications, because the local municipal equipment was down, destroyed or other wise used to what capacity was left. Cell and land line services were crippled. Follow that up with Tornadoes in Arkansas which Hams also helped out. So I live on the edge of Tornado alley and will likely see this type of damage again unfortunately.

This is in addition to the local communication services we provide to bike races, marathons, etc.

I think Ham radio is probably changing but it as not become UN-needed.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: NA4IT on May 16, 2012, 09:58:07 AM
This argument keeps being an ongoing problem in amateur radio.

First the FCC describes the Amateur Radio Service thusly...
"97.1 Basis and purpose.-
The rules and regulations in this Part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:
(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communications and technical phases of the art.
(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill."

Now that the definition is out of the way, lets think about some things...

1) There are many different facets of amateur radio. Contests, EMCOMM, digital, voice, CW, you name it, it's in there.
2) What are the benefits of amateur radio? It can be a hobby, a teaching tool, a back up communications service, and it can be used to develop new ways to communicate. The benefits are all these.
3) Why should amateur radio operators be involved in the many ways we are? Self-enjoyment, pride, sense of accomplishment, and proving to the public and the powers that be that amateur radio is a valid resource in all the ways (and more) mentioned in 2) above.
4) Why should amateur radio operators be "visible" to the public? To advance amateur radio as a whole, and encourage others to become amateur radio operators.

With all the above said, why can't hams try this? If you care nothing about advancing amateur radio, then operate as you like, and stay satisfied in what you do. But, if you want to make sure that the amateur radio service continues to exist, without worries of band encroachment, then by all means, show what you do. If you contest, then make it "visible". If you work EMCOMM, do it visibly, and do it right. If you have a gift of teaching others, then do it visibly.

Amateur radio can and will exist as long as we show others 1) we are viable, 2) we are useful, and 3) we can get along with each other.

That's my take. Not promoting any one function of amateur radio, and not downing any one function, but showing what amateur radio can and has been. Take another look at FCC 97.1 (e) "Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill."

Arguing among ourselves is NOT doing 97.1(e). In fact, it does the opposite.

I will make one comment about EMCOMM.... if you are doing it for a government agency, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you are going to do it, do it for those around you.

de NA4IT


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K8AC on May 16, 2012, 09:59:57 AM
To KB8VUL:  I had no problem understanding your point, and happen to agree with you.  There are many facets to this hobby, and I'm most interested in the technical end of things, DXing on HF,  with some minor contesting thrown in.  I briefly tried some 2M work back in the late 1970s, and found it to be, in general, a brain-dead activity.  It seems that I have zero in common with the guys who groove on the latest "walkie-talkie".  But, I don't mind sharing the hobby with people who enjoy that aspect.  The ARRL always has a theme to unite its members and stress the value of amateur radio to the public.  Today, it's EMCOMM, a while back it was satellite communications, a couple of decades ago it was Packet Radio. 

Contrary to the general opinion, what separates us from the general public has always been our technical abilities relating to radio and electronics.  As we drift away from that, we lose our unique value.  I submit that anyone with an adequate budget can replace our "EMCOMM" value quite easily - and they will.  Amateur radio has never been "needed" as some suggest, other than as a pool of talented and experienced operators (with technical knowledge).  There's little need, in the grand scheme of things, for someone whose only talent is knowing how to access his local repeater.

Unfortunately, the other great failing of folks in our hobby today is lack of tolerance and respect for other people's opinions and ideas.  Anyone raising a point that goes against the grain, as you have, is either called a "whiner" or someone suggests that maybe you need a new hobby. 

73, Floyd - K8AC


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5WCF on May 16, 2012, 10:54:48 AM
NA4IT, you have put things into perspective very well with your post, thank you, we need to remember all of the directives of amateur radio and no matter what your area of the hobby is, it is most important to be active in what you do. K8AC I could not have said it better myself, very well put. I agree that in today's world it is very easy to lose sight of the technical aspect of our hobby, more so than any other aspect, in my mind. So many just run out and buy an off the shelf rig, and even worse a store bought antenna (gasp!!). It reminds me of a quote from an article. "Once we were makers. Now most of us are users." 

Great discussion,

William K5WCF


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA1MDA on May 16, 2012, 11:54:16 AM
Judging by many of the posts here and on other forums, part 97.1(d) should really thin out the herd...


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AA4PB on May 16, 2012, 12:38:03 PM
"There isn't a single ham I know that if asked wouldn't get on the air to assist as needed in the event of a disaster."

If you don't do some training and get on the air and practice how will you know what to do, where to go, or whom to contact. Try attempting to get into your EOC to set up a station while they are in a middle of an ongoing disaster situation and have no idea who you are or what your qualifications are. The goal of emcomm, in addition to providing you with some training, is to make sure the proper authorities know who you are, what your capabilities are, and how to contact you to request assistance. People who just "show up" quite often do more harm than good.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KCJ9091 on May 16, 2012, 01:13:18 PM
"I see this as foolish.  "

You see the biggest lobbying organization trying to save the spectrum assigned to the service as foolish.

"Where I am from, we are lucky that we don't have the full on squirrels on the local repeaters that are jamming, cussing and generally making fools of themselves.  But these problems do exist.  It's like they have taken a page from CB radio and put it on the local 2 meter repeaters.  And THIS more than any level of perceived EMCOMM readiness is what saves the bands from the auctioneers gavel at the FCC."

HOW?

"It's as unusable a piece of spectrum as the CB radio channels are and in reality it's less usable."

Now that right there is foolish.

"And more to the point, and this will get some serious push back, why do we continue to not only allow but encourage the "WACKER" mentality? "

How is suggesting operators learn how to properly and effectively use their equipment, how to format and transmit a formal message, and how to provide a service to the community without being a hindrance encouraging WACKER mentality?  Do some people go overboard? Yes they do.  does that mean everybody who participates in emergency preparedness does? NO.  For you to imply all emcomm operators are whackers is beyond low.

As for that last pile of dung you shoveled out,  it is all well and good until everything goes south.  Right now out county Emergency Management is building and installing at several different locations Amateur Radio repeaters. Why would the do that? I wonder if it had anything to do with the three day loss of the counties trunked radio system during the height of the 34,000 acre wild fire last year.   So much for back up generators and reserve battery power.  When the fuel tanks for the generators run dry and the batteries go dead the system goes down.  "They" were unable to find a driver to take a taker full of highly volatile fuels through a very hot forest fire to resupply the site.  Every licensed conventional radio channel in the county was in use before the system went down.   The loss of the system complicated the situation to the extreme.

There are no paid FDs in the county.  Many of the volunteer firemen were hams. (now many more of them are) They were able to use their amateur radios to talk to the EOC when their fancy county issued radios were nice paper weights.  Thank God all those whackers were out there or we may have lost some of our bravest out on the front lines when the wind changed.  

Had you made your argument using less inflammatory rhetoric, threats of being shot, and name calling you may have garnered more respect.  As is you are lower than those you denigrate.

There William is that better?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 16, 2012, 05:26:46 PM
OK, I knew this might start a firestorm, but I only saw one person really fall off the edge of logic and sanity.
So I will reply to his points first and try to explain what I meant.

First is the WACKER mentality.  This applies first and for most to the ones that are in EMCOMM for the reasons of any sort of self praise, or trying to receive recognition for their actions.  That is the number one hang I have.  This ain't suppose to be about you, and the minute you make it about you, blazing orange vest or not, and you are doing something outside the lines as far as I am concerned.  Second is if you have the MARS/CAP mod done on your radio so you can talk to the police "just in case"  you also are firmly standing in the circle of WACKERDOM.  Buy a cell phone.  Even a cell phone with no service contract that is not in service will allow you to call 911.  Keying up on the local police repeater is never needed.  And I can say with 100% absolute certainty, mostly because I have had the conversation with a number of police dispatchers, fire dispatchers and fire chiefs (BTW I work on radios professionally and deal with these folks daily) they all said the same thing.  CALL 911.  And that was referencing a commercial radio tech calling in an incident, let alone a ham operator popping in on the public safety repeater.

Second, regarding the spectrum.  Here is the reason I made the comment I did, and I stand by it.
2 Meters is a good band, don't get me wrong, but if it was pulled for commercial use, it would be WORTHLESS for analog voice communications.  We have a large number of LID's that get on the ham bands and cuss, fart, swear and generally make an ass of themselves.  Do you really believe that they would stay off the bands if they weren't allowed to be there. 
Yes in time, the FCC would bust them and they would be locked up.  But imagine if all the 2 meter ham radios were dumped into garage sales, and bought by CBers.  Consider that for a moment.  Do you really believe that they wouldn't get on them and blab constantly?  Are you that obtuse?
No one would want that piece of spectrum for voice communications.  And the 4 Mhz that's there isn't enough for much else.
Broadband channels are 10 to 20 Mhz wide.  So at best you could get a couple slow speed data paths out of it.  So why bother? SO that is HOW sir.

Now, as far as the comments concerning the failure of public services and the spiral into anarchy.  Again, obtuse is a good word.  Hams continue to tout how important they were during Katrina.  I actually had a chance to meet with a ham from down there that had deemed his house the secondary EOC for his county.  Yes you read that right.  He sat loud mouthed and literally pounding on the table as he complained that FEMA would not listen to the hams and what they had to say.  I sat here in Ohio listening to the HF traffic, how bad it was. Bodies floating in the street, the whole thing, which was a blow by blow of the same thing I was watching on CNN and Fox News.  So to my point. 

Katrina hit, and then was gone, and civility went into the crapper and anarchy reigned supreme.  If you weren't armed you got robbed.  If a guy with a gun had no food, he took food from those that weren't armed.  We saw the same thing in the LA riots.  The have not's overpowered the have's and took by force from them.  Do you somehow believe that your orange vest and local EMA ID will be enough to ward off the angry and hungry hoards?  And you tell me I am not being realistic... REALLY?!?!?

As far as the forest fire.  Gee, don't park repeaters in areas that you can't get to if you have the chance of forest fires.
If you have to do so, cut fire lanes in wide enough to deal with fueling the generators.  And remember that hammy repeaters are subject to the same failures.  If the ham repeaters are working and the public safety repeaters are not, especially if the hammy repeaters are purchased by the EOC and public money.  It would be in their best interest to simply take over the repeater, reprogram and retune it to the public safety band radios and go forward with public safety communications.  Short sightedness of the EOC EMA director and public officials are not an excuse for ham radio to exist.  That IS what you are saying without saying it.

Now I can't speak for every ham in the area.  As far as training, I have none specifically for ARES stuff.  I do hold several ICS certtifications, I am CERT trained, and happen to work in the public safety communications field.  The folks that need to know who I am and what I bring to the table already do.  If a situation arose that a person with my skill set was needed,  make no mistake, I will have police cars and fire trucks in the driveway willing to drive me to where I need to get to to fix things.  I have been called at 3 AM due to a system failure so I understand the need for reliable communications. 

Let me say a couple other things here so everyone has a better idea of where I am coming from.  We have a local ARES group complete with the every other week net where they use 'tactical call signs" which consist of the suffix of their call.  Then are required to give there call in ITU phonetics ONLY.  Of course, neither of which, according to the general council for the FCC is actually properly IDing.  They parade around, have self deployed a number of times in the past.  And continue to bring up the only time they ever "saved the day" in 1980 when a tornado blew down a repeater tower at a fire house and they counldn't communicate with the dispatch center because all the phones were out in about 4 square miles.  A fireman ask if they would call dispatch for them and let them know what happened.  This of course was before cell phones, multisite simulcast systems or even truly reliable consistent phone service.  It's the only thing they have to talk about.  And yet the are going to save the day.  I guess this is personal perception, but just what do they bring to the table?  A repeater that is housed in the same building, on the same tower as a number of the public safety repeaters?  Same points of failure.  Frequency changing ability?  All the local PD and fire radios have more repeater pairs in them than there are ham repeaters in this and the surrounding counties?  This is my personal perception, so someone please tell me what I am missing.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 16, 2012, 05:35:43 PM
Another point here on the 'Importance" of ham radio and how we can't let the FCC sell off the frequencies.

Just read a posted petition on the FCC site about them considering legislation to overturn CC&R and HOA agreements
for ham radio operators so they can put up antenna's.  Yeah, I would REALLY be concerned with the FCC rolling in and dismantling ham radio while they are willing to consider a petition to get someone out of a binding legal contract stating no antenna's on their homes.  I am sure that the FCC is really a concern here.  And that they are chompin at the bit to do away with ham radio all together so they can get a few bucks for the 2 meter band. 

Keep drinking that league Kool Aid. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KE4YOG on May 16, 2012, 05:54:44 PM
First of Katrina was a systemic failure of all forms of humanity. The only person that could have help that debacle. That would be God. New Orleans was a disaster in waiting. I have used my radio to talk to police on the repeater. All I had to do was to give my number 621. That is the unit number assigned to me as a probation officer. During some winter storms and flooding I did what I could. I was QRT from Ham radio at the time but I had a dual band FT-51 that had been opened.

In North Carolina I have heard many hams working hurricane shelters. During Hurrican Floyd hams contributed a good bit but there was a big difference between here and New Orleans. North Carolina actually has a plan that normally makes sense. I can gurantee you that if we saw Katrina headed this way several things that did not happen in NOLA would happen here. First of all most people would heed the warning to leave. New Orleans did not have any plan that was workable in place but I digress.

The number on thing that Ham radio has over other forms of communication is the the users are also the tech that put the system together. Ham radio is also de-centralized so that it is next to impossible to cut off all communication. We have a wide spectrum that we can use to communicate. No I am not involved in EMCOMM on the local level except as pertaining to my job. I can see that it could be an issue if I was due to pay.

I am mainly involved in HF DXing. I am on 2 meter or 440 for about an hour or 2 each week but if needed I can do what I need to. Ham radio is a hobby with hobbies in it. It is also has a potential use in emergency if and when needed.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 16, 2012, 07:53:43 PM
NA4IT and KE4YOG have made logical and coherent statements based on FCC regulations and professional experience. I do agree hams who are mentally and physically unprepared should not attempt to participate in organized emergency efforts. Usually, these folks are easy to spot and often weed themselves out. Some display a negative attitude by bad mouthing the efforts of others when their abilities are questioned. Others are electronically educated but socially challenged. ;)

However, there is a place for everyone in an emergency. Those who are not capable of participating in an organized effort can certainly serve themselves and their neighbors by communicating the status and needs of their area to the local emergency services. I see nothing wrong and everything good about equipping public safety services with the radio equipment necessary for that function in a disaster. We have done it here and I sleep much better knowing the lady ham in the family can make contact no matter what the situation or what communications services may no longer exist. In Florida, hurricanes and the resulting multiple tornadoes are an annual threat. :o
 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 17, 2012, 03:47:47 AM
I don't know that I would call my situation socially challenged.  It's just that I have little empathy and even less patience for out and out utter stupidity.  And here again, I am referring to the people that take it a bit to far, then keep going.  I am referring to the fools that self deploy.  Showing up in their bright vests, claiming self importance and demanding attention.

And I am seeing that there is a time and place for ARES...  outside dooms day.

As I said in the first post.  Personal experience is what I have seen locally.  One time, one call in 1980 something, and they cling to it.  There is a bigger picture, that I never saw. 



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 17, 2012, 05:31:56 AM
Utilitarianphobia: The fear of becoming useful, to the extent that one would have to get off his rear to actually accomplish something or help another. KI4SDY, 2012  ;)

Utilitarianenvy: Jealousy of the usefulness of others, who have gotten off their rears to actually accomplish something or help another. KI4SDY, 2012  ;) 

Bigpictureblinded: The state of being oblivious to everything, except what is immediately experienced. KI4SDY, 2012.  ;)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 17, 2012, 07:47:25 AM
I'm in agreement with the thread originator.  The unwavering push toward emcomm by the ARRL does the entire hobby a disservice--especially to ARRL itself, who has said many times in the past that ham radio has something in it for everyone.

My thought is that they (the ARRL) should make up its collective mind and NOT push emcomm as the do all and be all of ham radio.  One of the major parts, yes, but not the only reason that the government through the FCC should be made to think that ham radio exists for--as they seem to too many of us do now.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 17, 2012, 08:32:24 AM
Granteditus: Taking for granted issues that only exist in ones mind and not in reality. KI4SDY, 2012  ;)

You need to read NA4IT's post again, that includes the FCC's official description of ham radio. Maybe both of you are in the wrong hobby.  ;D


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 17, 2012, 06:11:50 PM
Utilitarianphobia: The fear of becoming useful, to the extent that one would have to get off his rear to actually accomplish something or help another. KI4SDY, 2012  ;)

Utilitarianenvy: Jealousy of the usefulness of others, who have gotten off their rears to actually accomplish something or help another. KI4SDY, 2012  ;) 

Bigpictureblinded: The state of being oblivious to everything, except what is immediately experienced. KI4SDY, 2012.  ;)

Gee, the first one fits... I wouldn't know what to do if I had to install and repair commercial radio systems for police and fire departments.  And to work on 911 center and radio dispatch equipment.  I don't know if I could handle the stress.
Oh, wait, that's what I do for a living.... so I get paid to be useful. 

And jealousy of ARES... sure.. that fits...

And being oblivious, too some clown in a station wagon with two rusted out rotating lights duck taped to his roof.  A blazing orange vest on, carrying a police badge with his ham call engraved into it.  Who the hell you think I am, Stevie Wonder?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 17, 2012, 06:23:09 PM
You know it's strange that I ask an honest question and folks get all defensive about it. 
I ask a question, commented on personal experience and perception, and folks get all go all nuts.

No one said ok, I see what you mean, and you point is valid in your experience.... But here is what we see, and what we have done.  Here is how we honestly assisted in time of need.  This was the situation, here was the need that was created and here's how we as ham operators fulfilled the need for assistance. 

I go to work every day and work on radio systems.  I show up, there is a need, it's broken or it's noisy or whatever the issue is.  I investigate the problem and provide a solution to that problem.  The problems differ, as do the solutions. 

Some of it's mundane.  External interference, bad microphone on a car radio,  simple stuff.
Some of it is serious, like our 911 phone system is failed, we can't get calls and for some reason it didn't shift over to the backup dispatch center.  Lives at stake type stuff.  I  can tell you about the mundane and the not so mundane...
So why is it that NO ONE seems to be able to actually communicate how they helped in time of need? 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 17, 2012, 07:43:47 PM
"You know its strange that I ask a honest question and folks get all defensive about it."
"I don't know that I would call my situation socially challenged." Yes, that is a defensive statement!

When you start asking honest and rational questions and rid yourself of the imaginary demons that seem to haunt your ham experience, let me know. I am not usually a bragger, but if you will make those efforts of self-improvement and demonstrate progress, I will make an exception and share a lifetime of service (paid and volunteer) with you. Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone's time with your grumpy foolishness and attracting other eHam.net trolls to this string. I am placing you on ignore to mark you, along with K1CJS and seeking logical conversation elsewhere.  ;)  


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: WB6BYU on May 17, 2012, 09:46:16 PM
You can't generalize all the EMCOM groups based on one county, one group, or one
individual, whether for good or for bad.  They vary widely.  Some are well trained and
responsible, others are hazards to any response.

Of course, those groups who exclude the complainers and those who aren't willing
to train and prepare for actual service get accused of being elitist.

We had a local guy who really wanted to be accepted and to help, but, well, he had
some issues.  He made a big deal that he had received a certificate thanking him for
relaying a message during an emergency half way across the country.  I patiently
explained to him that some things are like eating breakfast - you might fondly remember
a great feast you had one day, but it is the regular day-to-day diet that makes you
what you are.  Without that, a single breakfast won't last you very long.

Are hams useful?  We had massive flooding along the Oregon / Washington coast
some years back.  Several counties had NO communications in and out other than
ham radio for 3 to 10 days.  Have the county systems been updated?  Yes, of course,
but there is no guarantee that will be adequate the next time around.  One large mud
slide along a major road can take out the power, telephone, and other communication
links along with it.  Some of the fanciest trunked systems were the first to fail and the
last to get working again.

At the same time, however, Oregon has funded ham equipment in each county EOC,
contingent on having a proper volunteer organization to install, test, maintain, and exercise
the equipment to make sure it is available when needed.  (Not all counties have agreed
to this, for various reasons.)  In our county we have a complete spare set of equipment
in a trailer;  individual members have their own equipment, and we train regularly in using
various modes that we might need.  We don't know what will be required of us - whether
it will require HF, or setting up a digipeater to link an adjacent county to the State OEM,
or providing relief operators for another county whose operators are exhausted after two
weeks of work.  But we train to be ready, and part of that is increasing the skills and
knowledge of the team members across a range of ham activities.

Do we accept the services of non-members in a real emergency?  Yes, but subject to
approval, and as part of a team.  And we stress to all our members that they need to
understand skills and tasks well enough to supervise "emergent volunteers" when
needed.

Yes, we've all run into the wannabes.  Someone described them has wearing load-bearing
suspenders for all their HTs and other gear.  They are the bane of any volunteer organization:
I've seen them in ARES, Search and Rescue, and  CAP.  They say they want to help, but their
focus is on becoming a legend in their own mind rather than serving the community, and they
are the first ones sent away.  (In one case, a CAP member from an adjacent county was
offered an extended stay at our Sheriff's expense in appreciation for his "assistance" in
a search.)


So there are ham EMCOM groups around the country that are working hard at emergency
preparedness (which is different than simply saying you'll respond if there is a need.)  There
are groups of complainers and wannabes.  Rather than argue about which is a better
picture of the actual state of ham radio EMCOM, it seems much more worthwhile to focus
on what we can do to build a useful organization, and set about doing that.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AF5DN on May 18, 2012, 01:44:03 PM
Only a few weeks back here is the Dallas Fort Worth area we were hit with 4 tornados all occurring at the same time.  Is EMCOMM needed?  I can only say “SKYWARN”.  If you live in an area prone tornadoes you will find EMCOMM (or at least the SKYWARN part) life saving.

Even with live TV, Live Broadcast radio and all the RADAR in the world it was the feet on the ground (HAMs) that were informing the media and the rest of us where to duck for cover.

As far as people thinking Cell Phones are the end all be all… forget it.  For hours after the tornados the Cell service was useless.  Either from downed power lines, downed towers, or just jammed with calls way above and beyond what the system is designed for.

I would ask, if EMCOMM wasn’t needed why would towns and country bother with having a paid staff member as a liaison between Emergency Management and HAMs?  The answer is… they wouldn’t. 

I can see the point about the lights, vests, hard hats and the magnetic car door signs being a bit over the top… But if the cost doesn’t come out your pocket… who cares. 

To the remarks about When All Else Fails..  I kind of agree, if that happens I will not pickup a microphone.. it will be my AK.   I always say… 911 is for the folks that find your body.
However, that situation will not last forever and folks will need to pick up the pieces.  Society will need all the skilled technicians that can be found.  And having a pre trained communication network might come handy. Just saying.

As far as an ongoing push… Don’t be sheep.  If you’re not interested.. Don’t do it!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 18, 2012, 07:26:00 PM
Only a few weeks back here is the Dallas Fort Worth area we were hit with 4 tornados all occurring at the same time.  Is EMCOMM needed?  I can only say “SKYWARN”.  If you live in an area prone tornadoes you will find EMCOMM (or at least the SKYWARN part) life saving.

Even with live TV, Live Broadcast radio and all the RADAR in the world it was the feet on the ground (HAMs) that were informing the media and the rest of us where to duck for cover.

As far as people thinking Cell Phones are the end all be all… forget it.  For hours after the tornados the Cell service was useless.  Either from downed power lines, downed towers, or just jammed with calls way above and beyond what the system is designed for.

I would ask, if EMCOMM wasn’t needed why would towns and country bother with having a paid staff member as a liaison between Emergency Management and HAMs?  The answer is… they wouldn’t. 

I can see the point about the lights, vests, hard hats and the magnetic car door signs being a bit over the top… But if the cost doesn’t come out your pocket… who cares. 

To the remarks about When All Else Fails..  I kind of agree, if that happens I will not pickup a microphone.. it will be my AK.   I always say… 911 is for the folks that find your body.
However, that situation will not last forever and folks will need to pick up the pieces.  Society will need all the skilled technicians that can be found.  And having a pre trained communication network might come handy. Just saying.

As far as an ongoing push… Don’t be sheep.  If you’re not interested.. Don’t do it!


Well I ask for a reasonable explanation and I got one.  I agree with the SkyWarn statements.  There is no current technology that will directly detect a tornado.  They are aware of the storm types, they know to look for 'the hook' but as far as detecting a funnel on the ground, it's a visual thing.  I also agree that there will need to be people that have different skill sets needed to pick up the pieces after what ever disaster rears its head.  The more obvious are the electrical linemen and telephone guys for basic services.  But communications, is a bog  part of the effort as well.  For the feet on the ground as well as the public safety, service and businesses as things rebuild.  SO I see the need.  I guess I always did without realizing it.  So that addresses those issues.  But the last one remains, those that take things a step too far... or more. 

I guess it's really a situation of what you remember, what sticks in your mind.  The one guy in a group that stands out in the crowd... does exactly that.  He is the one that you remember.  I guess I forgot that part somewhere along the way.  But, the thing I still don't see is the ham community, or more importantly the ARES / EMCOMM community and the league coming out and saying hey, this is not the way to present yourself.  Politely let the community safety folks know that you are available if needed.  Tell them what technology you can bring to the table and services that you can reasonably provide within a provided scope and make sure that you can provide those services when they call on you. 

And then give an actual list of ways not to act and actions not acceptable for ham operators. 

I hear time and time again that we are 'self policing'.  OK, if that is the case, then we need to do just that.
If some fool wants to go ambulance chasing, and giving the hobby a black eye, then maybe the league should send them a letter stating that isn't in the interest of the hobby, and to cease and desist.  If they fail to comply, then yank their license.
That is part of self policing.
And specific ARES groups that are allowing, condoning or encouraging such behavior need to have their credentials revoked and a new EC put in place that will ensure that as amateurs we present a professional outward appearance. 

We never even bother to properly Elmer newcomers to the hobby.  The people that get on 2 meters and operate as LID's using Q codes, HI HI and other irritating things are picked up by the newcomers and no one bothers the tell them it's not really acceptable to do these things.  So you get the noob doing ALOT of it, and no one will talk to them.  This eventually drives them away from the hobby, and we loose numbers. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 19, 2012, 05:55:06 AM
Yes, it seems that some ham operators forget there is more to emcomm than just 'assisting' a local emergency group or agency.  Some tend to forget the skywarn program, the passing of health and welfare messages by operators outside an emergency zone to others, or simply reporting an accident scene to another ham so he can call the local authorities.

There again, there are some that are still arguing simply to argue, without adding anything really useful to the discussion.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 19, 2012, 08:54:13 AM
"arguing simply to argue"  ::)

That would be you and the original poster, who does not deserve the effort of a long explanation by positive attitude hams, since you already know the answers and are just looking for an argument. I gave mine in a 5 and 1/2 line paragraph and he still kept pounding and calling Ecomm volunteers names. I guess no one pays attention to you fellows on a daily basis, so this is your "amplifier" to be heard.  :-\

If you need attention, why don't you do something positive and write a nice article on Ecomm or if you are truly concerned about Ecomm activities in your area, get involved and change things?  ;)    


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N0YXB on May 19, 2012, 11:15:40 AM
"You know its strange that I ask a honest question and folks get all defensive about it."
"I don't know that I would call my situation socially challenged." Yes, that is a defensive statement!

When you start asking honest and rational questions and rid yourself of the imaginary demons that seem to haunt your ham experience, let me know. I am not usually a bragger, but if you will make those efforts of self-improvement and demonstrate progress, I will make an exception and share a lifetime of service (paid and volunteer) with you. Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone's time with your grumpy foolishness and attracting other eHam.net trolls to this string. I am placing you on ignore to mark you, along with K1CJS and seeking logical conversation elsewhere.  ;)  

So much for your post on May 17th where you put CJS on ignore.  Methinks someone is a bit fond of arguing.



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 19, 2012, 06:34:49 PM
Your on my ignore list as well for the same reasons. Notice that he and you were not part of the discussion on this string until he discovered my posts and started his usual stalking nonsense. Did he send you an e-mail encouraging you to add your negative comments for support ( he needs all the help he can get) or are you just keeping up your own stalking skills?  :-*

Where is your Ecomm comment or are you just posting to harass and start another argument? That is the topic of this string, Ecomm. Not me, your friend or you. :)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 20, 2012, 07:21:30 AM
So much for your post on May 17th where you put CJS on ignore.  Methinks someone is a bit fond of arguing.

Not to drag this out, but when I see multiple posts from 'SDY, it's all too apparent what he's doing.  Funny too how he claims he 'ignores' me, yet keeps answering my posts with his inane comments.  Oh well, it takes all kinds....


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 20, 2012, 08:30:59 AM
Again, no productive Ecomm information as per the topic of this string, just more harassing comments from the other stalker. Yes, I have all the bullies in their group marked with the Scarlet Letter of the ignore button. It does not mean I won't defend myself or call them to task for their bad behavior. It does mean that I have the negative herd branded for easy identification. The ignore button is a great device! ;D

This string was started by another bully who repeatedly calls Ecomm volunteers "whackers" and makes up imaginary insulting scenarios  He claims to be a professional electronics technician, but pretends to know nothing about modern communications systems, how they function or under what conditions they fail.He also acts like he was oblivious to the value of information from the field in a disaster. Who would hire an electronics technician that appears clueless about his supposed area of expertise? This string was created as a manipulation, not a search for information or to engage in a positive conversation on the topic. Even the title was a false premise. For these reasons, the originator has been added to the ignore herd. ;)

"Not to drag this out"
That is exactly what you are doing. Why don't you give it a rest and return to the original Ecomm topic. I can't be that important to you. :-*


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 21, 2012, 10:02:42 AM
....As far as people thinking Cell Phones are the end all be all… forget it.  For hours after the tornados the Cell service was useless.  Either from downed power lines, downed towers, or just jammed with calls way above and beyond what the system is designed for....

With the availability today of cheap 'throw-away' cell phones, and also the government giving them away along with monthly allocations of minutes to use, is it any wonder that the cell phone system is overloaded during emergencies?  Not only with the individual who just wants to let someone know they're OK, but also with the people who usually have the things 'grafted' to their ear all day everyday.

....But the last one remains, those that take things a step too far... or more....

....the thing I still don't see is the ham community, or more importantly the ARES / EMCOMM community and the league coming out and saying hey, this is not the way to present yourself....And then give an actual list of ways not to act and actions not acceptable for ham operators. 

I hear time and time again that we are 'self policing'.  OK, if that is the case, then we need to do just that.
If some fool wants to go ambulance chasing, and giving the hobby a black eye, then maybe the league should send them a letter stating that isn't in the interest of the hobby, and to cease and desist.  If they fail to comply, then yank their license.  That is part of self policing.  And specific ARES groups that are allowing, condoning or encouraging such behavior need to have their credentials revoked and a new EC put in place that will ensure that as amateurs we present a professional outward appearance.

That isn't actually a part of the work the ARRL has agreed to do--but I certainly agree that someone should.  Even back when the FCC was doing enforcement, they didn't do that.  I believe the thing to do is to have the police or the authorities take the bothersome person into custody--or outright arrest them for unruly behavior during a emergency or something.  Unfortunately, the police have too much to do that is more important then taming whackers. 

Quote
We never even bother to properly Elmer newcomers to the hobby.  The people that get on 2 meters and operate as LID's using Q codes, HI HI and other irritating things are picked up by the newcomers and no one bothers the tell them it's not really acceptable to do these things.  So you get the noob doing ALOT of it, and no one will talk to them.  This eventually drives them away from the hobby, and we loose numbers. 

Oh, they're told--most of the time, anyway.  They're told over the air by other hams--and they should listen, but they figure that ham radio is just one big street corner, and they can do as they please.  If someone won't listen to correction--or reason--pretty soon they ARE shunned and ignored.  And ham radio is better off without those troublemakers.

As to losing numbers, for every one of the uneducatable, there are two or three others who DO listen and do their best to educate themselves to the PROPER way of doing things.  We shouldn't worry about the few who leave because they refuse to conform, rather we should do everything we can to keep the ones who do try interested and in our ranks.  73!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AA4PB on May 21, 2012, 11:17:43 AM
Hams have been using Q signals and "Hi" on voice ever since I started listening back in the 1950's. Back then more used them than those that didn't. I probably came about as a carry over of working CW. I wrote a high school paper on the special language of ham radio operators. Actually, many (most) specialized groups develop their own "short cut" language - doctors, lawers, race car drivers, you name it.

It seems to me that only relatively recently have some 2M ops decided that you are a lid if you use "handle", QTH, Hi, or other short cuts".


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on May 21, 2012, 06:28:53 PM
The Q code is a historical part of ham radio that was created to provide abbreviated transmissions on CW, theoretically resulting in improved efficiency and more clear air time. It might be useful when a single emergency frequency or repeater is being overloaded by many civilian hams and public safety agencies in a disaster. Of course, everyone would have to take the time to learn it. I am embarrassed that I have not learned the Q code, but it is on my bucket list of things to do. If more hams used it, that would be an incentive for me to start. :)

As for the "HI, Hi" nonsense, it is losing favor through ham social mores and the age old cure of tribe banishment. In other words, no one will talk to you if you act like that on the air. :'(    


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on May 29, 2012, 12:03:18 PM
For voice work, especially in emergencies on VHF/UHF, I prefer plain language. Prowords and codes have their place in message handling, but an important point is that they remain part of the communications protocol that is used to pass messages - they're not something that public officials or the general public should have to deal with in an emergency.
Personally I would never get angry at people for using CB, Military or police lingo on a casual repeater conversation, though I might ask what it means.

I'd like to just briefly re-address four themes in the original post.

First about the ARRL and why they push emcomm. As mentioned by NA4IT it is one of the main reasons for amateur radio to exist; and in my view it probably remains the biggest political reason why the public at large lets us amateurs keep these frequencies as a privilege. Even so we should not forget the other reasons - technical knowledge, international goodwill, etc. to the point that those in power thinks emcomm is our *only* reason to exist.

Second about "lids" keeping frequencies occupied maybe being a reason for keeping our frequency bands. The existence of potentially interfering equipment is of course a consideration when auctioning off frequency, but since the service is licensed, every legal license holder is known to the authorities, and equipment confiscation or other enforcement would be much easier to do than against CB . And I'd think the FCC would spend more resources on keeping out intruders into a paid band, than they would spend on people trolling amateurs. Cheap Asian transmitting equipment for any frequency can be bought or modified illegally somewhere, so the potential for jammers exists on any frequency. One interesting problem of course is that amateur UHF and VHF frequencies sometimes are used for international communication, so that complicates matters for the regulator.

Third, about "whackers" and people who take things too far. Of course there are a few of those who think this is a chance to do a bit of live action role play around an emergency. But this is precisely one of the types of people who should get weeded out in training and screening. I think showing up in a load-bearing vest with a gun and magazines, and a faux police car is more indicative of whackerdom than wearing a reflective vest. I feel it's wrong to focus on the reflective vests or car magnets being a problem specifically - when walking around traffic it's a good safety precaution and it's probably a requirement that the emergency management agency sets for their volunteers. Flashing amber lamps may be appropriate in some situations, not in others. *

Finally, about "all else fails". Even if all those wonderful county repeaters go down - including the amateur repeaters - amateur radio is not at its end. If there is propagation, you can get a message around the world without any infrastructure at all. Amateur radio can find a way - even if that involves bouncing a signal off the moon. Many agencies and NGOs were greatly helped by amateur radio after Katrina, and it keeps being useful now too when all infrastructure goes down - but I don't think the ARRL meant that amateur radio was geared towards some sort of Mass Effect 3 or Fallout scenario - just when the phones and the internet etc. goes down.

( *: This hatred of reflective vests sometimes heard online reminds me of people here in Norway who insist on removing all reflexes and lights from their bikes and cycle around in black clothes in the dark. Acting like some kind of spec ops ninja in traffic sounds more wackerish to me than wearing appropriate safety gear, but I suppose they think they're "living the momement" or "being high-speed low-drag". I just know I'm afraid of running over them on my commute.)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA1MDA on May 30, 2012, 04:20:33 AM
Promoting emergency communications and rediness isn't a bad thing per se, however (IMHO), all of this EMCOM stuff is useless without technically competent people. No matter how much emcom training is involved, the current widespread practice of memorizing the question pools has filled the ranks of amateur radio with hams who are utterly clueless and technically incompetent, to put it mildly.

OK, so if an emergency strikes, and IF none of the equipment has been damaged, and IF all the equipment is available and deploys as planned, great. But what happens when a feedline gets cut? Or the antenna is damaged or unavailable? Or if some equipment is not available and something needs to be improvised? One just has to browse through the "technical" questions posed in forums here and on other web sites to see what the results would be. If someone can't troubleshoot a simple power supply problem, or figure out how to hook up an amplifier, or can't even make and tune a simple dipole, what good are they in a true emergency?

I've seen situations where local clubs plan Field Day for at least 6 months in advance, going through a mind numbing number of planning sessions, and when the big day arrives, they still can't get it straight due to some minor unforseen technical glitch. To be effective in a true disaster scenario, hams need to be technically proficient, at least to the point of being able to improvise effective communications solutions with whats on hand, even if that means stripping the zip cord from a cheap extension cord and making a dipole out of it. God help us if a simple coax jumper goes bad during an emergency and the local Radio Shack is closed!

Tom


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 30, 2012, 07:54:07 AM
Promoting emergency communications and rediness isn't a bad thing per se, however (IMHO), all of this EMCOM stuff is useless without technically competent people....

I would amend that to read "...technically competent and mature people, who don't go around thinking they're going to 'save the world'.  Food for thought, isn't it...


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on May 30, 2012, 11:36:19 AM
Promoting emergency communications and rediness isn't a bad thing per se, however (IMHO), all of this EMCOM stuff is useless without technically competent people.
This is true, and I've heard top emcomm people in the ARRL say this too - the whole point of having amateur radio operators as volunteers is that they know how to use the radio, and improvise, and know about all the different modes and ways to communicate, so if you're in emcomm don't leave the radio laying around between emergencies - get on the air and play radio a bit!
No matter how much emcom training is involved, the current widespread practice of memorizing the question pools has filled the ranks of amateur radio with hams who are utterly clueless and technically incompetent, to put it mildly.
A license is only the beginning of learning - a starting point and minimum standard; at least I think so. Some countries have a practical part of their test, and that's fine too, but I wouldn't require a degree to get on the air.
One just has to browse through the "technical" questions posed in forums here and on other web sites to see what the results would be.
Asking questions isn't a bad trait actually, and they seem to get a good answer pretty much every time. I would be more worried if nobody asked questions and thought they knew it all.
To be effective in a true disaster scenario, hams need to be technically proficient, at least to the point of being able to improvise effective communications solutions with whats on hand, even if that means stripping the zip cord from a cheap extension cord and making a dipole out of it.
Indeed, and that highlights that you need both training and practice before the emergency happens - even if that could sound "elitist" to those who just want to show up on the spot.
I would amend that to read "...technically competent and mature people, who don't go around thinking they're going to 'save the world'.  Food for thought, isn't it...
The irony is that some of those most loudly decrying emergency communications and proclaiming it useless in any and all situations seem to think the whole and only purpose of amateur radio volunteers is to shoot down alien invaders with their microwave waves. It's more likely they'll be supporting communications emergencies caused by tornadoes, wild fires, or the odd wayward backhoe incident.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5UNX on May 30, 2012, 12:43:26 PM
Promoting emergency communications and rediness isn't a bad thing per se, however (IMHO), all of this EMCOM stuff is useless without technically competent people.
This is true, and I've heard top emcomm people in the ARRL say this too - the whole point of having amateur radio operators as volunteers is that they know how to use the radio, and improvise, and know about all the different modes and ways to communicate, so if you're in emcomm don't leave the radio laying around between emergencies - get on the air and play radio a bit!
No matter how much emcom training is involved, the current widespread practice of memorizing the question pools has filled the ranks of amateur radio with hams who are utterly clueless and technically incompetent, to put it mildly.
A license is only the beginning of learning - a starting point and minimum standard; at least I think so. Some countries have a practical part of their test, and that's fine too, but I wouldn't require a degree to get on the air.

Being a newbie I have a view point on this . . . . I am in the process of memorizing the questions/answers so I can try to pass the General test June 9.  I have had a Tech license for years but never did anything, so I am restarting so to speak.

That said, I see passing the test as just the beginning. I then have buy some gear, setup a station, get on the air etc. So far I only have a dual band HT. I did volunteer last fall at a local bike race to assist with communications with the rest of our club. I learned a lot doing that. I see these events as "training" for emergency situations. I have a lot to learn and am with a club that's active and helping me.

If upgrading the license was too difficult and required too much training to make us all technically competent according to someone's yard stick, then I doubt the "hobby" would grow at all.

It's on each of us to learn and apply our learning. I intend to keep learning. My goal is to have a portable station that I could setup and volunteer things like bike races,  participate in ARRL Field Day, and other events. Things learned doing those activities will help me if a real emergency hits and I am able to help out in some capacity.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA1MDA on May 30, 2012, 02:55:46 PM
"If upgrading the license was too difficult and required too much training to make us all technically competent according to someone's yard stick, then I doubt the "hobby" would grow at all."

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5UNX on May 30, 2012, 04:23:33 PM
"If upgrading the license was too difficult and required too much training to make us all technically competent according to someone's yard stick, then I doubt the "hobby" would grow at all."

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

While I don't disagree with you, some have standards that are too high is all I was trying to say.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA1MDA on May 31, 2012, 04:20:58 AM
I'm not saying the standards need to be higher- I'm saying that hams should UNDERSTAND the concepts that are covered on the tests instead of just memorizing the question pools. Let's face it- you wouldn't go to a doctor, dentist, or lawyer who got their license by memorizing the question pools of their respective licensing exams, would you? No, because you would know they had far less knowlege than someone who actually studied and understood the material. Yet you won't apply the same logic to ham radio.

Whether you want to admit it or not, ham radio IS a technical hobby. The voltages inside some ham gear are easily lethal to someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Unfortunately, by memorizing the question pools, you may not even have enough basic knowlege to know what you are about to do is dangerous. Far worse, by memorizing the question pools, you are denying yourself the very foundation on which you will need to build on as you go forward in the hobby. Without such a foundation, many new hams feel frustrated, and many even leave the hobby due to this frustration. Without a basic understanding of the underlying concepts, it's like trying to drive a car in a foreign country where you can't read or understand the roadsigns. You may eventually get to where you want to go by sheer luck, but it's going to take a lot longer and it defiitely won't be fun.

These forums are overflowing with the painfully obvious results of memorization. Extra class hams who have to buy ready made dipoles because they can't figure out how to make one for $10 worth of wire, or who need help hooking up an LED because they don't know Ohms law. Or hams who get suckered into spending big $$$ on the latest super miracle antenna because they don't know any better, and then get frustrated because no one can hear them.

Tom


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: WB6BYU on May 31, 2012, 09:31:01 AM
I think there is a reasonable distinction to make between what is needed to pass the license
exam, and what experienced hams should know how to do.

None of us start out knowing everything about this hobby.  In fact, nobody ever gets to that
point even after 40+ years doing it.  The license introduces some basic concepts - not everyone
learns them, or gets those questions right, but at least they get exposed to them.  This is
a starting point - from there one hopes that they learn more as they go along.

Our ARES group has a lot of new hams from a license class we taught last year.  If we want
them to learn how to improvise a dipole antenna, how to hoist an antenna in a tree, what
propagation modes are useful in adverse situations, and other skills that are useful in an
emergency response, we need to teach them.  Perhaps more importantly, we need to
demonstrate why such skills are useful for the situations they might encounter, and provide
opportunities for them to solve such problems in training exercises.

With two specific exceptions, I don't remember any of the questions that were on any of
the license exams that I've taken.  Instead it is the stuff that I use regularly that I remember
best, whether it was part of an exam or not.  I believe that a good EMCOM group should be
preparing its members for those skills that may be required.  Not everyone needs to be a
technical whiz, but at least they can learn about different antenna options and methods
of communication that may work when normal links are down.  We need to set that example,
and that expectation, and help our members learn what we want them to be able to do.
That might include how to build battery cables, or improvised antennas, or operate HF, etc.
But if they aren't given the opportunity to learn, they probably won't.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5WCF on June 04, 2012, 05:53:31 AM
 I'm thinking the reason this discussion has gone the direction it has is that we all seem to agree that this is a multifaceted hobby. Ham radio is a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and when the ARRL and the FCC start focusing on one facet of the hobby some of us get concerned. Why the push for emcomm? We as hams should always have this in the back of our minds as one of the reasons for being in this hobby, are the ARRL and FCC under the impression that there is a reason for concern when it comes to hams helping with emcomm, or are they just trying to keep us in the loop because so many other agencies or groups supercede us and all this talk makes us feel wanted so we won't take our equipment and go home or in some cases not even bother to show up? I personally feel "when all else fails" it isn't going to matter whose trained and whose not, what's going to matter is do you have the equipment and the ability to get on the air from your home, car, somewhere in the field, etc.... I can promise you this, the trained ARES, RACES, CERTS, or whatever who shows up with a dual band HT or just a mobile 2mtr rig and a battery is going to be very limited in what he or she can do communications wise, regardless of how much FEMA training they have under their belt. Now the training is good, but should it be the deciding factor for who can and can't communicate? The ARRL and the FCC needs to remember we have many other thing to do in this hobby, and some recognition for those other things would be nice to hear about as well as emcomm.

William K5WCF


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on June 04, 2012, 07:23:06 AM
Actually the latest public relations push from the ARRL is focusing on makers, hackers and DIY.
The media and the politicians seem to be most interested in emcomm, so it makes sense that the ARRL keeps that on the forefront as well.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K5WCF on June 04, 2012, 10:16:42 AM
thank you I stand corrected. The ARRL did by way of their new introduction to Amateur Radio video try and get the attention of the maker community, and for that I thank them. However they need to work to keep that and other areas of the hobby prominent in their attempt to make the hobby pertinent in today's world.

William K5WCF


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on June 04, 2012, 12:52:40 PM
Beside their website and magazine QST, and their Washington lobbyists, the I think the ARRL's biggest public face today is Field Day.

Field Day helps promote both the "when all else fails" aspect of the hobby, with its focus on portable operation, the international friendship aspect of talking to people around the world, and contesting (yes it is also a contest  ;) ). Amateurs who want more focus on other aspects of their hobby should perhaps organize events for it at Field Day, invite the public, press and public officials to promote those parts of the hobby. Some Field Day and JOTA groups already hold soldering courses for beginners, RDF competitions, etc. at Field Day.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AE6RV on June 09, 2012, 03:33:36 PM
Troll.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: WB6DGN on June 24, 2012, 01:51:51 AM
Quote
Unfortunately, the other great failing of folks in our hobby today is lack of tolerance and respect for other people's opinions and ideas.

Unfortunately, this failing is not unique to amateur radio in this country (USA).  Sadly, in my opinion, this seems to be a universal characteristic of the American People.  Just when this happened, I really can't say, it seems to have "snuck up" on us over the last couple decades to the point where, today, it is rampant.  Obesity, sugar, smoking, the choice of vehicles (pity the poor Prius owner) are just some of the things that make people a victim of scorn by their peers.  Now, I'm not arguing the deleterious effects of some of these things; that's NOT the point I'm trying to make here.   Instead, my point is that people are denigrated, insulted and even condemned NOT because these activities are intrinsically BAD, but rather, because the person doing the condemning is not interested in doing them.  What happened to that glorious concept, once common in America, of LIVE AND LET LIVE!???  Why am I the "BAD GUY" because I choose to conduct my life in a manner different from you, or you, or you? 
If anyone here thinks that ham radio is going to change and its diverse opportunities are going to be accepted en masse by all participants, I'VE GOT A NEWS FLASH FOR YOU.  NOT until the attitude in America changes BACK to the LIVE AND LET LIVE concept that ONCE made this country the "greatest place in all the world to live".
Tom WB6DGN


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on June 25, 2012, 08:07:30 AM
You're right, Tom.  Unfortunately, most of America today is peppered with the "know-it-alls" who can't wait to show how much they think they know, aren't afraid of saying so, delight in calling down others, be downright insulting while doing so--and get had as he!! when their opinion is questioned.

Too bad, and sad to boot, but that's the way it seems to be these days.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W5DQ on June 26, 2012, 05:51:41 PM
As for the "HI, Hi" nonsense, it is losing favor through ham social mores and the age old cure of tribe banishment. In other words, no one will talk to you if you act like that on the air. :'(    

Pure BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If someone is put off so much from my use of "HI HI" in voice comms that they feel compelled to shun me, then I say "Good On Them". I don't want to talk to those sort of 'jerks' anyway. I use "HI HI" both in CW and voice (hell I even use it RTTY so I guess that makes me really a rabblerouser, doesn't it!!). I bet the majority of dual mode (CW & voice) ops do. That's perfectly well as we don't need newbie types coming into ham radio wanting to change the 'historical' and accepted modes, methods and traditions just because they are too new-school (or whatever the accepted lingo is for it). If you can't join an organization and accept their rituals and traditions, then don't bother coming around. They probably don't want you and I know ....

WE DON'T NEED THAT TYPE IN HAM RADIO!!!!


Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on June 27, 2012, 05:42:00 AM
When people use "HI HI" (hai hai) on voice, I tend to answer "hello hello".  :D
A better rendition of HI HI in voice is to laugh like this: hahahaha ha ha! hahahaha ha ha!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W5DQ on June 27, 2012, 09:01:56 AM
When people use "HI HI" (hai hai) on voice, I tend to answer "hello hello".  :D
A better rendition of HI HI in voice is to laugh like this: hahahaha ha ha! hahahaha ha ha!

Totally acceptable but to be so shallow as to ostracize someone over the use of an acceptable tradition of ham radio is pure male bovine excrement!!!

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N2EY on June 27, 2012, 11:30:46 AM
Quote
Unfortunately, the other great failing of folks in our hobby today is lack of tolerance and respect for other people's opinions and ideas.

Unfortunately, this failing is not unique to amateur radio in this country (USA).  Sadly, in my opinion, this seems to be a universal characteristic of the American People.  Just when this happened, I really can't say, it seems to have "snuck up" on us over the last couple decades to the point where, today, it is rampant.  Obesity, sugar, smoking, the choice of vehicles (pity the poor Prius owner) are just some of the things that make people a victim of scorn by their peers.  Now, I'm not arguing the deleterious effects of some of these things; that's NOT the point I'm trying to make here.   Instead, my point is that people are denigrated, insulted and even condemned NOT because these activities are intrinsically BAD, but rather, because the person doing the condemning is not interested in doing them.  What happened to that glorious concept, once common in America, of LIVE AND LET LIVE!???  Why am I the "BAD GUY" because I choose to conduct my life in a manner different from you, or you, or you? 

Because often the manner you choose affects those around you in a negative way. And because at least some of those activities are, indeed, intrinsically BAD.


If anyone here thinks that ham radio is going to change and its diverse opportunities are going to be accepted en masse by all participants, I'VE GOT A NEWS FLASH FOR YOU.  NOT until the attitude in America changes BACK to the LIVE AND LET LIVE concept that ONCE made this country the "greatest place in all the world to live".

When was "live and let live" the concept in the USA?

I'm old enough to remember when people whose "lifestyles" were even a little unusual were shunned and discriminated against. When millions of folks were denied equal opportunities and rights because they were the "wrong" gender, religion, or ethnicity. When Conformity was a major requirement for Success in many areas.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on June 27, 2012, 07:33:00 PM
In a true Socialist Society, everyone is considered politically correct, no matter what their behavior. At least that is the theory. In reality, all Socialist Societies become exploitive, intolerant and oppressive. For those who are interested in this kind of environment, there is a boat leaving for Cuba tomorrow! ;D

I think the rest of us will rather stick with the freedom to choose who we want to associate with, along with all the other rights guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. ;) 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: GREGWTH7MMMAG on July 04, 2012, 09:08:39 AM
KB8VUL:
With the vastness of the hobby, if you dont like participating in emcomm, then dont.  You aren't required to do so, and if the fact others do so to the point that it embarasses you, underscores that there is a deeper problem then merely lights and antennas on a vehicle,lol. 

Its nice that some areas of the country are well developed, and have high population densities that reliance on ham radio isn't needed.  Not all places are this way, such as when you cross the mississippi.  Tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes etc. bring infrastructure to its knees, and the gov't has proved its inability to react in disaster rapidly, over and over again. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D on July 05, 2012, 10:18:08 AM
The EMCOMMers get very upset when anyone questions their portion of the hobby as not being the whole reason for ham radio. ARRL promotes EMCOMM because it helps their bottom line and they mistakenly believe it will save us from losing our spectrum to 4G. I'm not claiming there isn't a need for amateur emergency communications. But I am upset by the obsession with ARES at the local club level.

This isn't Haiti. In the typical town, multiple communications systems would have to go down before ARES became relevant. The primary cellular system, the back-up cellular system, the tertiary portable cell towers; primary and secondary LE/FD/EMS repeaters, mobile command posts and simplex communications. If your area doesn't have these, you should probably spend your time at government meetings trying to get them then worrying about standing on the side of the road with an HT during an ARES marathon race.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: WB4LCN on July 16, 2012, 01:09:21 PM
One of the most dangerous things to a totalitarian government (besides the Internet) is it's citizens having a way to communicate to each other and the outside world. That government would want to end the public use of the spectrum.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KS4VT on July 22, 2012, 01:44:36 PM
There are also some serious liability issues that FEMA just released in a recent document.  I posted it on QRZ and below is the link and a condensed version of the important facts of the 30+ pages.  For me, I dropped out of ecomm after being educated as to the personal liability that I choose not to expose myself to.  My professional position involves public safety communications, but during my off-hours, I'm just going to chat on the amateur radio.

In the below, just replace CERT with ARES or RACES while reading it.

http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/dow...lity_Guide.pdf
 
The CERT Liability Guide is offered for general informational purposes only. It does
not provide legal advice, and the user is encouraged to seek out state specific
legal advice from a qualified attorney before taking any action. Keep in mind
that, with a few limitations, anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone else.
Nothing, including following the recommendations in this Guide, is a guarantee
against being sued.
 ________________________________________
 
CERT programs must be affiliated with or sponsored by a local government agency, and
engage in operational activities only under the command and control of that
agency. Thus, CERT programs do not operate without the confidence of
professional emergency response agencies, and those agencies are more likely to
have confidence in a CERT program that takes steps to manage
risk.
 ________________________________________
 
Some potential CERT members may be concerned about personal liability or about being injured or
contracting an illness during CERT activities, and they may decline to
participate if not protected. Providing liability protection and injury benefits
limits this barrier and conveys the message that CERT members are a valuable
part of the sponsor's team.
 ________________________________________
 
CERT programs establish a separate nonprofit organization, or are sponsored by an educational or
business entity, but they must always be endorsed by local government.
 
Managing risk is an ongoing process, so support must be nurtured, expanded, and revisited when
 circumstances change or new information is identified.
 
First, consider the different types of civil liability that volunteers and CERT programs should be aware of.
Civil liability results when there is legal basis for holding someone responsible for injury or damage.
The four main types of civil liability that apply to CERT programs include:
 
• Negligent acts or omissions —The failure to fulfill a duty to use ordinary care,
which is the care that a reasonable person would use under similar
circumstances. Any activity in which carelessness can cause injury or property
damage may be considered negligent.
 
• Intentional acts — Intentionally
committed wrongful act; this may require proof that person intended to cause
harm.
 
• Strict liability — Legal responsibility for damages based on the
nature of an activity, rather than on a negligent or intentional act. Because
CERT members are trained only to respond to events they're capable and trained
to handle, strict liability exposure is limited.
 
• Liability for the acts of others — Legally responsible for actions of someone
you have the right to control. An employer is usually liable for job-related actions of its employee.
Failing to screen or train a volunteer may result in CERT program being liable.
 ________________________________________
 When adopting an activation strategy, it is important to understand that there is no activation
approach that guarantees against liability. On its face, self activation may
appear to insulate the program leaders and the sponsoring organization from
liability by separating them from deployment or direction of members. This fails
to recognize two important factors.
 
First, there are links with the CERT program even if members self-activate.
 • Self-activation may be pursuant to a standing order, and not all that different – for liability purposes – from an
order to activate issued at the time of an emergency.
 • CERT programs have multiple points of contact with their members. Even if its members
self-activate, an injured person might argue that the CERT program has put the
member in a position to respond and that CERT training shaped their actions. An
injured member might argue that CERT training did not adequately prepare for the
situation encountered.
 • By accepting members and instructing them to self-activate, some might argue that the CERT program has implicitly made a
decision that the members are capable of responding without supervision, and an
injured person may question that decision.
 • Even self-activated CERT members can appear to the public to be acting on behalf of the CERT program if they
carry officially issued CERT identification, wear CERT identifying vests or
personal protective equipment, or identify themselves as CERT members during a
response.
 
Any of the above might be argued as grounds for program liability, even if CERT members self-activate.
 
Second, self-activation does not offer the risk control benefits of program activation for specific
emergencies. A CERT that activates its members to respond to specific
emergencies may reduce the chance that its members will respond to situations
that are beyond their capabilities. If CERT program activation enhances
oversight at the emergency scene, it can also help ensure that members work
within their level of training and comply with the CERT program's rules. Both of
these effects reduce, although they do not eliminate, the chances of
liability.
 
Another concern is that self-activation may prevent CERT members from qualifying for liability protection under various federal and state
laws. This will be discussed further below in Providing benefits for injured CERT members and Protecting CERT members from liability.
 
Neither activation strategy eliminates a CERT program's potential liability for the acts
of, or injuries to, its members. Each program should analyze the risks and
benefits of each approach and choose the strategy that is most effective for its
needs. Then acknowledge and manage the remaining
risks.
 ________________________________________
 Protection from the financial effects of liability.
 Even the best risk control program cannot eliminate all liability. There remains a small but real chance of an injury,
property damage, or other harm. A sponsoring agency has this; residual; risk
from all of its activities – whether or not it sponsors a CERT program. The cost
of damages, defending a claim or lawsuit, and providing injury benefits can be
substantial, so no risk management program is complete until there is a plan to
pay these costs. Recruiting members is also easier if there is a plan to protect
volunteers from liability and to provide them with benefits if they are injured
or become ill. While CERT programs are most often sponsored by a local
government agency, incorporated nonprofit organizations, businesses, or
educational institutions may coordinate training and organize teams. In
addition, a few CERT programs have established separate nonprofit organizations
to raise funds. Thus, more than one legal entity can be involved in a CERT, and
each is responsible for protecting itself and its officials, employees, and
volunteers from the financial effects of liability. Protection for one person or
legal entity – whether by law or insurance – does not automatically protect
others.
 ________________________________________
 Even if CERT members cannot receive administrative workers' compensation benefits, that does not
preclude liability for their injuries or illnesses. An injured CERT member who
is not eligible for workers' compensation benefits can file a civil lawsuit
seeking lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages from an
injury caused by the act or omission of someone else. Potential targets of
lawsuits include the sponsoring agency or local government, other volunteers,
trainers and team leaders, to name a few. The lawsuit will fail, however, unless
the target was at fault, the fault caused the injury and resulting damages, and
the target of the lawsuit is not protected by governmental or another statutory
immunity.
 ________________________________________
 The VPA excludes protection for volunteers who are operating a motor vehicle or other vehicle for
which the state requires an operator's license or insurance. It also excludes
volunteers who are performing acts for which the volunteers are not
appropriately licensed or are not within their area of responsibility. It
provides only immunity, and thus does not provide for payment of legal defense
costs, judgments, and settlements. It does not protect against liability for
gross negligence, willful and wanton negligence, or similar extreme
conduct.
 ________________________________________
 Emergency management and homeland security laws:
State emergency management and homeland security statutes may provide limited
immunity from liability to individual CERT members who are working as registered
emergency or disaster workers. These laws sometimes provide indemnity as well.
They are most likely to protect CERT members who are ordered to activate and
participate in an official emergency response under the direction of an
emergency response agency. Members who self-activate under a standing order or
standard operating procedure may also be protected. Members who self-deploy
without any order are less likely to be protected by emergency management laws,
but they may still benefit from Good Samaritan protection. Check with an
attorney or risk manager to determine how activation methods affect CERT
members' liability protection. Historically, organizations (such as businesses)
that volunteer their resources in an emergency have not been provided with
similar liability protection. As the important role of businesses and nonprofit
organizations in emergency response has become more apparent, however, there is
increasing attention to protecting them as well. State laws are thus beginning
to incorporate protection for these important partners.
 ________________________________________
 Liability insurance/self-insurance. Liability insurance is a form of indemnity and is an
important tool for protecting CERT members. It does not prevent an injured party
from suing and recovering damages, but, from a CERT member's perspective, the
protection of good liability insurance can be broader than immunity. Liability
insurance that covers emergency management volunteers is less likely to have
some of the exclusions and limitations that leave gaps in the protection offered
by immunity statutes, and, unlike immunity laws, liability insurance also
provides funds to pay defense costs, settlements, and judgments.

Here is the QRZ link with a bunch of reader comments...
http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?354560-Interesting-FEMA-Document


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on July 22, 2012, 03:41:08 PM
Those quotes sound to me as more of an argument to get proper training and affiliation if you want to help out.

If you're serving a government agency or a non-governmental organization it's a good idea to check the state of liability insurance, waivers, etc. For those who get angry and cry about "elitism" when they can't just show up with their HT at the spur of the moment and be put to work, it's one more reason why you need training even if you "know" that you know it all. Their insurance terms might require you to attend training anyway.

It could be the same with using dangerous machinery; you might be a chainsaw god, but if some local church asks for volunteers to help clear trees from peoples' yards after a hurricane, they could still turn you away if you don't have a document showing that you've been certified as a sawyer by the US Forest Service. It's called "cover your backside", to say it politely, and with the current lawyer surplus in the US it's easy to be sued.

The EMCOMMers get very upset when anyone questions their portion of the hobby as not being the whole reason for ham radio.
I haven't noticed, but I have noticed that they get animated - sometimes upset - if people cause QRM to emergency communications. They tend to have that in common with most people, including non-hams and emergency workers actually. "SEELONCE DISTRESS!" Instead, it seems to me that it's the few, the proud, vocal anti-emcomm activists online who seem to subscribe to the "my niche should be the only niche of amateur radio" mindset.

For the populations and governments who have given us these frequencies to play with, however, EMCOMM is the perhaps biggest reason why we have them. It's not the only reason - technological development, inspiring the engineers of the future, international goodwill and friendship also count, but the reason the ARRL lobbyists beat that drum is because it's what's nearest to the heart of the voters and politicians.

ARRL promotes EMCOMM because it helps their bottom line
Not directly, I think. People who only get a license for emergencies don't tend join the League, I think. In fact the ARRL's emergency managers encourage those people to be more active on the radio. Indirectly though, if hams think the ARRL are doing a good job with lobbying, in addition to QST, LotW, etc. they'd be more likely to join, right?
and they mistakenly believe it will save us from losing our spectrum to 4G.
Some bands might be moved or re-assigned, but without it I think we'd have less bandwidth - if any.
I'm not claiming there isn't a need for amateur emergency communications. But I am upset by the obsession with ARES at the local club level.
Clubs are a mixed bag. If it's not working and training well, and they won't take advice, perhaps it's time to escalate it to the section level?

This isn't Haiti.
Haiti lacks amateur radio operators - it tends to be a rich peoples' hobby in many parts of the world. In some parts of the world you also have to be a "friend of the regime" to get a license. Interestingly, in Haiti it seems the Internet kept up better than regular phone services did, and the lack of amateurs meant amateurs only could play a limited role in the initial phase.

In the typical town, multiple communications systems would have to go down before ARES became relevant. The primary cellular system, the back-up cellular system
I don't think any ARES group is dimensioned to take over the whole town's internal and external communications needs at the same time. But it might not take much of a disaster for a communications emergency to occur. For example, a wayward backhoe happening at the same time as a tree falling in the forest could take out the two redundant communications links out of the town. Even a technologically advanced nation like Norway, with a far more robust power distribution system than the US/Canada, was effectively cut in half by such an event last year.

If something like that happened, it could still be possible to call inside the town, and the LE/FD/EMS repeaters might work, but the ARES group might have to handle traffic out of and into town. Perhaps there is an available satellite link, but the amateurs work on health and welfare traffic, and at the same time serve as a backup in case the satellite becomes unavailable for official traffic.

With complex systems, even something like a software error in a switch could cause cascading failures. It has happened both internally in institutions like hospitals, or in larger geographical areas.

So ARES could become relevant with just a single failure. Also amateur radio emergency response is more than ARES; Skywarn and CERT would be relevant even without an actual communications emergency.
, the tertiary portable cell towers; primary and secondary LE/FD/EMS repeaters,
Portable cell towers could take some time to move into location. If roads are washed out, it could take days. As for the repeaters and base stations, there are limits to their battery backups and generators are expensive, and a seismic or weather event that takes out the primary repeater could well take out the secondary at the same time. They might not be destroyed, but something like the microwave link antennas being out of alignment.

mobile command posts and simplex communications.
If mobile command posts and simplex don't work, few things will work at all. But perhaps something like NVIS could still work. Or modulated light. And UHF simplex isn't very good for communications over longer distances.

If your area doesn't have these, you should probably spend your time at government meetings trying to get them then worrying about standing on the side of the road with an HT during an ARES marathon race.
If we've learned anything about communications emergencies, it's that even fail-safe systems can fail, and that even though not every emergency is the "end of the world as we know it" where everything fails, even a single system failure could cause an emergency.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K0RGR on July 26, 2012, 11:36:12 AM
OK, I knew this might start a firestorm, but I only saw one person really fall off the edge of logic and sanity.
So I will reply to his points first and try to explain what I meant.

First is the WACKER mentality.  This applies first and for most to the ones that are in EMCOMM for the reasons of any sort of self praise, or trying to receive recognition for their actions.  That is the number one hang I have.  This ain't suppose to be about you, and the minute you make it about you, blazing orange vest or not, and you are doing something outside the lines as far as I am concerned.  Second is if you have the MARS/CAP mod done on your radio so you can talk to the police "just in case"  you also are firmly standing in the circle of WACKERDOM.  Buy a cell phone.  Even a cell phone with no service contract that is not in service will allow you to call 911.  Keying up on the local police repeater is never needed.  And I can say with 100% absolute certainty, mostly because I have had the conversation with a number of police dispatchers, fire dispatchers and fire chiefs (BTW I work on radios professionally and deal with these folks daily) they all said the same thing.  CALL 911.  And that was referencing a commercial radio tech calling in an incident, let alone a ham operator popping in on the public safety repeater.

Minnesota has migrated over to a statewide digital trunked system for nearly all of it's public service radio. However, many of the counties maintain one analog channel for the express purpose of being able to 'interoperate' with hams in their counties in a disaster. I have not heard of any of these analog channels being used, and I do not encourage people to modify their gear so they can use them, either. Some of the current Chinese HT's out there can be used legally on both Part 90 and Part 97 systems, though, without modification, and in some places, ARES members have purchased them. Again, I don't see the need - we have ARES people assigned to the EOC's with their own radios, anyway. I think the whole 'WHACKER' thing is seriously overblown. Yes, I've seen a few, but only a few.

Most ARES volunteers are just people who want to be prepared, and want to be of service. At least around here, ARES does a lot more than just drill for disasters, they also work public service events, which is the real fun for most of us. Yes, I have two yellow vests that I use in parades, and a magnetic sign and yellow light I use for SKYWARN and some public service events. One of our local ARES members was recently the recipient of a Presidential Service Award for doing 5,000 hours of community service work - most of it via ham radio and public events like marathons and bike events. And he's only been a ham for a few years.


Second, regarding the spectrum.  Here is the reason I made the comment I did, and I stand by it.
2 Meters is a good band, don't get me wrong, but if it was pulled for commercial use, it would be WORTHLESS for analog voice communications.  We have a large number of LID's that get on the ham bands and cuss, fart, swear and generally make an ass of themselves.  Do you really believe that they would stay off the bands if they weren't allowed to be there. 
Yes in time, the FCC would bust them and they would be locked up.  But imagine if all the 2 meter ham radios were dumped into garage sales, and bought by CBers.  Consider that for a moment.  Do you really believe that they wouldn't get on them and blab constantly?  Are you that obtuse?
No one would want that piece of spectrum for voice communications.  And the 4 Mhz that's there isn't enough for much else.
Broadband channels are 10 to 20 Mhz wide.  So at best you could get a couple slow speed data paths out of it.  So why bother? SO that is HOW sir.

What has that got to do with ARES? We have had a couple bad apples on the local repeaters, but when one of them started doing 'his thing' on the county-owned ARES repeater, he was soon invited to leave to town and hasn't returned. If that's what's going on in your area, perhaps you need to consider enforcement alternatives. FCC is responsive if you provide documentation. If the trustee of a repeater asks them not to use the repeater, FCC will back up the trustee every time.


Now, as far as the comments concerning the failure of public services and the spiral into anarchy.  Again, obtuse is a good word.  Hams continue to tout how important they were during Katrina.  I actually had a chance to meet with a ham from down there that had deemed his house the secondary EOC for his county.  Yes you read that right.  He sat loud mouthed and literally pounding on the table as he complained that FEMA would not listen to the hams and what they had to say.  I sat here in Ohio listening to the HF traffic, how bad it was. Bodies floating in the street, the whole thing, which was a blow by blow of the same thing I was watching on CNN and Fox News.  So to my point. 

Katrina hit, and then was gone, and civility went into the crapper and anarchy reigned supreme.  If you weren't armed you got robbed.  If a guy with a gun had no food, he took food from those that weren't armed.  We saw the same thing in the LA riots.  The have not's overpowered the have's and took by force from them.  Do you somehow believe that your orange vest and local EMA ID will be enough to ward off the angry and hungry hoards?  And you tell me I am not being realistic... REALLY?!?!?


The ham contribution in New Orleans was limited but real, and I listened to those HF nets, too. Outside of the New Orleans area, hams were busy for weeks afterward providing communications where they were needed. ARRL recruited volunteers from across the country to help. There are a lot of good stories from that event. I'm sorry you had to listen to some pinhead from Louisiana with a story to tell. He reminds me of a guy we met at a restaurant in Sulphur, LA some years ago. We all refer to him as 'Uncle Buck'. He had been absolutely everywhere and done everything, and was even a personal friend of the governor of Minnesota at the time (Jesse Ventura). The locals just hung on every word he had to say, as he spun his tales longer and wilder. I didn't know Uncle Buck had a ham ticket, but maybe he did.

Again, what's that got to do with ARES? I think I can assure you that your blowhard wasn't associated with, or under the control of, ARES.  There were a lot of complaints that officials, and in particular the Red Cross, weren't using hams in the area due to red tape, and I think some of that was valid. But, HF conditions stunk very badly with a huge solar flare right at the same time, so our effectiveness was limited, too.


As far as the forest fire.  Gee, don't park repeaters in areas that you can't get to if you have the chance of forest fires.

Pretty hard to do in the western states. There aren't many mountains out there that aren't subject to fire in the summer and worse things in the winter.


If you have to do so, cut fire lanes in wide enough to deal with fueling the generators.  And remember that hammy repeaters are subject to the same failures.  If the ham repeaters are working and the public safety repeaters are not, especially if the hammy repeaters are purchased by the EOC and public money.  It would be in their best interest to simply take over the repeater, reprogram and retune it to the public safety band radios and go forward with public safety communications.  Short sightedness of the EOC EMA director and public officials are not an excuse for ham radio to exist.  That IS what you are saying without saying it.

Ham repeaters are analog. Public service radios are going digital. Good luck retuning the duplexers to the Part 90 frequencies on site, in a forest fire situation. No matter how much taxpayer money is spent on the commercial radio systems you apparently sell and service, you can't guarantee it won't fail. Out here, we have massively redundant systems - all new digital trunked systems. As recently as three weeks ago, flash floods took out bridges in the north part of the state, taking out the bridges that carry the optical fiber that ties it all together, leaving one fairly large city up there with no outside communications, no public service radio, no 911, etc... for about 12 hours. ARES stepped in and helped to provide outside comms. In less than 12 hours, they had replacement cell and digital radio towers in place, but for those few hours, ARES was 'it', and that's really what ARES' opportunity is - to hold down the fort until the cavalry arrives. It can take up to 72 hours for the Red Cross to get their comm gear in place - just ask 'em.


Now I can't speak for every ham in the area.  As far as training, I have none specifically for ARES stuff. 

There's your problem right there. If you had a slight amount of ARES training, you'd know where ARES fits and where it doesn't. We would welcome someone with your background, but all you know is governmental communications. ARES is much more.

I do hold several ICS certtifications, I am CERT trained, and happen to work in the public safety communications field.  The folks that need to know who I am and what I bring to the table already do.  If a situation arose that a person with my skill set was needed,  make no mistake, I will have police cars and fire trucks in the driveway willing to drive me to where I need to get to to fix things.  I have been called at 3 AM due to a system failure so I understand the need for reliable communications. 

Let me say a couple other things here so everyone has a better idea of where I am coming from.  We have a local ARES group complete with the every other week net where they use 'tactical call signs" which consist of the suffix of their call.  Then are required to give there call in ITU phonetics ONLY.  Of course, neither of which, according to the general council for the FCC is actually properly IDing.  They parade around, have self deployed a number of times in the past.  And continue to bring up the only time they ever "saved the day" in 1980 when a tornado blew down a repeater tower at a fire house and they counldn't communicate with the dispatch center because all the phones were out in about 4 square miles.  A fireman ask if they would call dispatch for them and let them know what happened.  This of course was before cell phones, multisite simulcast systems or even truly reliable consistent phone service.  It's the only thing they have to talk about.  And yet the are going to save the day.  I guess this is personal perception, but just what do they bring to the table?  A repeater that is housed in the same building, on the same tower as a number of the public safety repeaters?  Same points of failure.  Frequency changing ability?  All the local PD and fire radios have more repeater pairs in them than there are ham repeaters in this and the surrounding counties?  This is my personal perception, so someone please tell me what I am missing.

If they are 'self-deploying' they are not following ARES direction, or, the ARES leadership is seriously screwed up. That's one of the first rules you learn - ARES does not self-deploy. Now, I've heard recent charges of 'self-deployment'. We have one local county where the hams are trained to operate both the ham radios and also to assist by manning the Part 90 EM radios in a disaster. We had a recent FEMA drill where the hams deployed just as they were instructed to do by the Incident Commander (county official) and his deputy. Unfortunately, some of the county team leaders were not aware that the hams were involved, and when they showed up to their assigned stations with Part 90 radios in addition to their ham rigs, a stink was raised. This was quickly resolved by the Incident Commander, but it did leave the impression with some that ARES had done something wrong - which was not at all true. Overall, the drill was a great success - with hams establishing communications up and down the Mississippi River between the EOC's and St. Paul, in addition to shadowing key individuals and offloading their communications needs. That's a really big deal for people who've tried it. Instead of wasting their time trying to get a cellphone or radio to work, the official can just offload it to the ham next to him and let him figure it out.

OK, so let's say there's a disaster. The Red Cross opens a number of shelters in the area. The Salvation Army provides feeding facilities, clothing, blankets and emergency supplies. Many other VOAD groups assemble to provide a wide variety of assistance - I've got a list about a page long. Now, how many of your local police, fire, and public safety personnel are you going to assign to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and all those VOAD groups to provide communications for them? I believe that number would be zero. Oh, these organizations should all have their own wide area mobile radio systems in place? I think the Lutheran Social Services would rather spend the money rebuilding people's homes than spend it on radios. Oh, they can use cellphones? In most cases, it seems that the disasters around here happen in the places with the worst cellphone coverage, and when there is cellphone coverage, it can't handle the traffic at all. After the Alabama tornadoes last year, hams 'rode shotgun' on all the relief agency vehicles operating north of Birmingham. Without them, those teams would have been venturing into areas with no communication and no way to call for help if needed. Did they handle any emergency traffic, no, but they sure made those relief teams feel safer.

The need for emergency comms goes beyond governmental systems and the Red Cross. There are many other legitimate players in disaster relief situations that don't have their own radios. In most places ARES is not well acquainted with those groups, and that should actually be a main focus - it's fruitful territory.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on July 27, 2012, 03:50:23 PM
K0RGR, thanks for an insightful post.

There are actually some individuals in ARES groups I've heard about who "self-activate", in the sense that they have standing orders from their served agency to show up at a particular place if an emergency happens. They would then help call in more volunteers if needed, or just go home if the emergency passes.

Nobody else should self-activate though. Those concerned already know who they are.

As for the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters, there could be some unmet needs there as you say. (Just be careful with one of the NVOAD members, namely the Scientology Volunteer Ministers who are actually there to prevent emergency workers from doing their jobs (http://www.newsfrombree.co.uk/stolgy_25.htm). If you have any insufferable whackers in your area perhaps encourage them to go help the Volunteer Ministers? "Yo dawg, I heard you like wearing yellow jackets while bothering emergency workers, so I'm here to wear a yellow vest while wearing a yellow jacket so you can be bothered while you're bothering people." ;D )


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N9AOP on August 02, 2012, 10:02:59 AM
Good points K0RGR.  In Illinois the EMA's are tasked with coordination during disasters.
During these times the Police, Fire and ESDA's are going to have their hands full mitigating
the disaster.  But as was stated there are many other organizations involved that need
and use Amateur assistance.  I live in Will county, Illinois (pop. over 600,000).  There are
many redundant systems in use as well as a county specific Tactical Interoperability
Communications Plan that pretty much covers the public service end.  ARES is involved with
and works well with the EMA to provide comms services to other organizations.
In your area if you have the proper relationship and MOU's between ARES and whichever
agency is responsible for disaster mitigation, you should have no problem providing a valuable
and needed service.
ART, N9AOP


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KF7VXA on September 26, 2012, 02:00:48 AM
Sure a lot of opinions. Much depends on where one lives. I'm in a rural area, our Emergency coordenator got over 3 million in em com grants, we got a fancy new trunked system for the Sheriff's and Fire department that will handle exactly 7 HT's at once, generators with their built in tanks and a couple repeaters that were put on a mountain that there would be about zero chance to get to during our long winters. Same for many generators during a bad storm and we get some where the plowed snow is taller than a full size blade.

The hams here are very much into emcomm, but we use our equipment for having regular conversations and fun in the mean time.

There is a huge need for orginized ham radio during a major disaster as well as the little things. I was able to copy two operators who reported forest fires started by lightning where there was no cell service, relayed several injury accidents, again no cell service and several other things this year. Nothing earth shaking, but ham worked.

There is always work such as in shelters and other things such as message handling, not glamorus, but needed.
I have more than once used ham radio when the radio system for the SAR would not get out of many areas, the ham radio did.

Yes, you have the wanna be's, I wish I had a good Elmer close, but I do not, so I read and study all I can about how things work and have bought equipment to make and fix things (an keep spare wire, coax, fittings etc), I still have much to learn, but there are more than a few damaged pieces of equipment I could get back on the air if needed, make an antenna for any band.

If I were in the middle of Katrina, I'd worry much more about keeping my firearm working and having a good supply of ammo as you could call for help all day and never get an answer let alone help, but too many are too fast to poo poo amateur  radio, it is more than useful in many but not all emergencys.
In the mean time I learn, train, have ways to keep my equipment powered with no commercial electricity etc.
It's a hobby and fun, but I also have what is needed to help if called apon. That is the secret to ham radio, have fun, use your equipment, train and then if something happens and you are needed, you are ready and can make a difference.

We don't all live in areas with 15 generator powered repeaters, fire stations everywhere equipped to the max etc. Much of America is rural and amateur radio could and does play an important part of any emergency as well as do the little things like help out during community events and smaller everyday emergencys.
It's what you make of it and for you to fill in the gaps.

A lot of us live in areas where if a major earthquake etc happened, we would be on our own for quite some time and have limited emergency response, we plan on helping each other, it may be checking on old people who would freeze to death, need meds, you name it. The hams have planned for just such occurences. People helping people, ham radio will be a major asset to us. We don't all live in areas with lots of emergency equipment and quick help from neighboring agencies. There is a group of us who can operate for quite a while without the grid, even about 20 ranchers-farmers who know just about everyone who have formed a GMRS net with tranceivers with enough power to cover the area simplex. They will be checking on people and can call for help if needed. Who would respond, our neighbors. Being resourseful, we would find ways to help those who needed it to the best of our abilities.
This is where emcoms will really work, not in the middle of New York city, but in middle America.

John


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KS4VT on September 26, 2012, 04:00:17 AM
Sure a lot of opinions. Much depends on where one lives. I'm in a rural area, our Emergency coordenator got over 3 million in em com grants, we got a fancy new trunked system for the Sheriff's and Fire department that will handle exactly 7 HT's at once,

Your County is on the Idaho Cooperative Agencies Wireless Interoperable Network (ICAWIN) http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=4742 and can handle much more than just 7 HT's.  The County looks to have adequate talk-groups for its size and I'm sure has other capabilities available to them that you aren't aware of.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on October 05, 2012, 08:20:32 AM
I have read all these posts and my mind is not changed. Simply because you passed a 35 question test does not make you an emergency responder. Ham radio is a HOBBY, much like model railroading. Years ago we had a CB React group approach the Dept and ask if we needed help at the 4th of July parade. The safety committee thought it was a great idea, let them do some traffic details to free us up for other things. I am not kidding when I tell you these guys showed up in force, if a car didn't have a lightbar on the roof it had lights on the dash, one car had the lightbar mounted inside the car on the rear backseat deck. We joked that was their undercover car. These guys were a riot. They called us on channel 9 for any little thing they saw, we spent more time chasing after their 'this one looks suspicious' calls then what we needed to be doing. After the parade we slapped them on back, told them what a great job they did, and thanked them with a donut and pepsi party afterward. After handing out our dept patches ( they all asked for one) and promising ride-alongs that would never happen we sent them on their way. The sad part was they had better light bars then our cars did :(
So when you guys are being 'thanked' for your help just wonder how loud they are laughing at you when you leave :)   My opinion, be you ARES, SKYWARN, or whatever decal you want to stick on your car you are ALL whackers in my book.
GOD Bless


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on October 05, 2012, 09:38:52 AM
So what you're saying, Bart, is that a ham operator who sees an accident and reports it over his/her radio to get help is a whacker?  Likewise a trained weatherspotter who sees a weather related incident and reports it to the skywarn/weather bureau is also a whacker?

I'm sorry, but I--and a lot of other incidental volunteers--don't agree with you.  73.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on October 05, 2012, 10:55:15 AM
No , I'm not saying that. Anyone who comes upon an accident, ham or not should report the accident, be it by radio or cell phone. And no, a person who should see a funnel cloud should report it, by radio or cell. You are comparing apples to oranges as they say.  What I am saying is memorizing the answers to 35 questions, mounting lights and antennas and decals all over your car does not make you anything more then what I remember dealing with at that 4th of July parade I mention. Question for you: can a non-ham be a whacker ?

Thx
Bart
GOD Bless


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on October 06, 2012, 10:22:48 AM
I asked because of your last statement:

....My opinion, be you ARES, SKYWARN, or whatever decal you want to stick on your car you are ALL whackers in my book.
GOD Bless

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant, but it seemed you said that a person who has a single antenna on his car and a Skywarn sticker on his side window is a whacker.  I have that, and I resent that innuendo.  Even though it is true that I used to be a official of the local EMA and had a set of hidden strobes on my vehicle, when I retired from that the strobe unit was removed because I no longer had any use for them.

To your question, in my opinion, yes, ANYBODY could be a whacker.  Re: the people you spoke of in your prior post.  Not to denigrate CBers, but that IS what you were talking about, isn't it?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on October 07, 2012, 09:40:48 AM
Take a look at this forum:
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,44874.0.html
A group of whackers argue why they should be able to carry a gun while working ARES,and other so called Ecomm groups.

Now I copy and paste a thread direct from the forum below:



If I may... I am not currently signed up for ARES/RACES.  I have had my technician's license for a whopping 7 days now.  As I stated before, emergency comms is the primary reason I took up this hobby and I had planned on getting active ASAP.  This thread has brought some things to my attention that I had not considered.  It had not crossed my mind that I would not be welcomed if I choose to arm myself as I do every single other day of my life. 

I will say this with absolutely no antipathy.  I will respectfully decline to associate with any organization that would disarm me.  I carry a gun 100% of the time that it is legal to do so.  This includes work, shopping, driving, walking my dog and going to dinner.  I would not consider showing up to a civil emergency without a gun any more than I would show up without boots, gloves and pants.   

If that means I am unwelcome in volunteer organizations, I am saddened.  I would like to volunteer and offer assistance when I can.  I am the type of person who doesn't pass by accident scenes if no emergency crews are on site yet.  I will help out a neighbor who's door is blocked by snow.  I will pull a person out of the mud with my truck.  I'm just that kind of person, but I'm also one who will entrust my security to others.
[/i]  [/i]

This fella flat out tells us his reason for getting his tech ticket, to volunteer, talk on a radio and carry a gun.  Just imagine this potential whacker shooting some kid because he took an extra water bottle at the bike race.  He continues to tell us he won't join an Ecomm group if he can't carry a gun, enough said ?

There might be a handful of Professional groups out there, but the whackers out number the good.  And a special thanks to all who sent emails to my Yahoo email address.  Your name calling and veiled threats reinforce my case.

GOD bless
Bart


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on October 07, 2012, 10:29:15 AM
That is not whet he is telling you at all. Read his post. He is telling you that he has taken responsibility for his own security as a matter of habit and right and that he is being told that he cannot exercise that right if he volunteers for ARES/RACES. Why would you say something like that which is obviously untrue, because it is posted right above, just to make a point an a website? That does not bolster your credibility.   ;)

Further, I am not seeing all these "whackers" that you keep talking about in ham radio. I think they may be a figment of your imagination.  ::)   



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KCJ9091 on October 07, 2012, 10:32:04 AM
That is not what he said.  He said he carried before and does so where legal.  

There are those, myself included, who see what is going on in the world today, recognize that a. the government has no duty to protect any individual citizen as the courts have repeatedly ruled, b. the government is incapable of doing so were they so required, and c. you and you alone are ultimately responsible for your personal safety and that of those who depend on you. In light of that one makes choices.  Those choices include to not go to places where danger may exist, no matter how bad you want to see the newest Batman movie, what tools you will need to ensure your safety, and what persons or groups with which to associate with.  


Not every one who makes that choice to be trained and to jump through the various regulatory hoops to be legally able to carry a firearm as there chosen tool is a whacker.  For you to assume so is despicable.  Why must you see evil where none exist?

You should consider that communications devices of what ever type are also tools used by terrorist.  Perhaps it should be assumed you are a terrorist because you play with radios.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N0YXB on October 08, 2012, 07:46:42 AM
Further, I am not seeing all these "whackers" that you keep talking about in ham radio. I think they may be a figment of your imagination.  ::)   



I see one at the very least.    ;)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on October 08, 2012, 07:58:32 AM
Don't stand in front of the mirror and he will go away.  ;)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on October 08, 2012, 11:28:01 AM
So much heat, so little light -  ???

Reading many of the responses here about how ham radio is useless, well, perhaps in the cities it is different. Perhaps there ARE large budgets which provide the type of communications needed even during the HIGH DEMAND times for disaster comms.  However, in my area of the world, ham radio operators are VERY welcome at county level because we have helped very effectively in the past and will strive to continue to provide communications support. So far, we primarily plan for 'back channel' communications so that the primary communications used for emergency services are not clogged with shelter communications, health & welfare traffic and minor/moderate incident reporting.  Cell phones around here 'have issues' in hurricanes - as does almost anything else. If you're even SEEN a hurricane in person, you understand why few towers, power poles, satellite stations or other niceties of modern society survive contact with one. This is not conjecture, it happens often enough that our emergency operations center for the county includes ham radio in the plan.

When we lost internet & cell phones locally, we got our local emergency responders in touch with their people outside of the loss area. We also provided storm eye locations , track forecasts and wind speeds for them for their planning. This was done either via WINLINK or by directly downloading HF weather charts from marine services. In the information black-out, it was much appreciated... The list goes on.

Out here in rural, coastal Virginia, away from the cities we tend to be more self-sufficient by nature and we deffinately understand that we should really make plans to take care of our own people, because the cities are going to be in their own world of hurt during a large scale emergency, such as hurricanes & etc. We take care of our neighbors and cooperate as towns & counties.  Our communications contingency planning (Wow! what a high-powered phrase for a PowerPoint Presentation!) is all about helping our neighbors by supporting town, county & State disaster management to do what they are trained and equipped to do. If there is something immoral about this, please explain.

That's the view from out here.  Your mileage may vary.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Ps. I saw a 'whacker' once a couple of decades ago, but he would be declared nuts whether his hobby was ham radio or knitting socks. The difference is that our county never needs socks with thirteen toes... but they do appreciate the community support from volunteers.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KI4SDY on October 10, 2012, 07:21:05 PM
I think some of these paranoid hams who are supposedly seeing "whackers" at every intersection are mistaking road construction workers, equipped with flashing lights and CB radios, for something else.  ;)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AJ3O on October 29, 2012, 02:47:53 PM
I am only going to add one comment, and this is for all as a safety note.

Those "orange vests" that everyone wears, are ILLEGAL in many places and provide no real protection at all. If you are going to risk your life in traffic, at a emergency scene, or anywhere that one would be needed, you need a Class 2 Level 2 vest at the minimum. Many states require much more than just a vest also if you are to be anywhere near a road. Leggings, wrist bands, hardhats, all with reflective tape on them.

That drab orange, while pretty in the sun on a beautiful day won't do a thing for you in the dark, a smoky environment, or in inclement weather.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA4NMA on October 29, 2012, 08:59:05 PM
AJ3O wrote Those "orange vests" that everyone wears, are ILLEGAL in many places and provide no real protection at all.

Strange in many states orange vest are legal to use when a person is hunting.  I also see bicyclist, walkers and runners wear them for safety purpose.  have also seen
parking lot greeters wear orange vest, and this includes several games and large church events.

The orange vest I have seen in stores include reflective strips. Check out http://www.utilitysafeguard.com/orange-safety-vests/
 
Be sure to scroll though the list at http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_query=orange+vest&ic=16_0&Find=Find&search_constraint=0
 
AJ3O  you need to clarify your statement  and give sources for  statement.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on October 30, 2012, 10:45:20 AM
I believe what AJ3O means is that those vests are illegal to use at accident scenes, in traffic, etc.  While it may be true that they're better than nothing, use of them where it has been limited by statute or city ordinance can only get you problems, problems you don't need--or want.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on October 30, 2012, 03:41:54 PM
We just finished supporting local government with communications at their request during Hurricane Sandy.  Our area's professional emergency management personnel were just excellent. I cannot speak for other areas, but these are some very motivated and community minded people we volunteer to assist.

As for NOT helping with communications or anything else for that matter, because someone / somewhere is dressing oddly or behaving badly; that is an excuse, not a reason. Not everyone needs to volunteer in communications - obviously.  However, when nobody volunteers anywhere in any way and complains about those who do a little extra around the community, then we can be certain that the reason is for this skin-flint attitude is not 'out there':  rather, it's inside of those doing the complaining.

For our area's volunteer communicators: no vests, no faux-uniforms & etc. I'm not even allowed to wear my sabre!  What's with that?   :D


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W1MSG on November 25, 2012, 11:59:28 PM
I think some of these paranoid hams who are supposedly seeing "whackers" at every intersection are mistaking road construction workers, equipped with flashing lights and CB radios, for something else.  ;)

So thats who all those guys are I am seeing at the Ham Fests.. I especially like the ones with the big Silver Badge that says Emergency Communications Officer, then there are the ones with the tactical vest that has the radio pouches all over it filled with 3 or 4 HT's .. Give me a break !


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on December 12, 2012, 06:00:16 PM
I have read all these posts and my mind is not changed. Simply because you passed a 35 question test does not make you an emergency responder.
That's a strawman argument, because none of those you argue against are seriously suggesting that only the license is enough to help out in an emergency.

On the contrary emcomm groups are being called "elitist" in another thread here, because they put additional requirements on their members - like background checks, Incident Command System training, or regular participation in drills and exercises.

It's also an over-generalization. The license test is not sufficient in itself, but it is part of what you need. I could just as well say "passing a police academy exam doesn't make you an emergency responder", since you'd have to be employed by a law enforcement agency, be sworn in as an officer, follow their policies, etc. That exam is still one of the required parts though.
Ham radio is a HOBBY, much like model railroading.
No, it's more like a hobby like mountain climbing or boating, where the skills learned in the hobby can be very useful when put into organized Search And Rescue, or other emergency response. When a particularly difficult rescue can't be done by helicopter hoist here, they call in volunteers who have mountain climbing as a HOBBY to effect rescue. When an emergency happens at sea, both government, commercial, NGOs and private HOBBY boaters are called to help the persons in distress, using their skills and equipment, under direction of a government agency.

Years ago we had a CB React group approach the Dept and ask if we needed help at the 4th of July parade.  (...) These guys were a riot. They called us on channel 9 for any little thing they saw, we spent more time chasing after their 'this one looks suspicious' calls then what we needed to be doing.
I remember another group that were there to close a street for an event. They did much worse than the group you talk about though: They closed down a state highway on the wrong day. They did so while illegally carrying loaded guns, openly. They had also failed to register with the local police. They failed to wear identifying uniforms (they just wore "tactical" black clothing). Then they proceeded to assault and kidnap an innocent bystander a whole block away from the area that would have been affected by the road closure, ending up in multi-million dollar lawsuit.

It's the worst case of out-of-control whackerism I've ever seen. The kicker is that these clowns were actually off-duty police officers from a different jurisdiction, working for a supposedly professional security company. The event happened in Nashville in 2009.
After the parade we slapped them on back, told them what a great job they did, and thanked them with a donut and pepsi party afterward. After handing out our dept patches ( they all asked for one) and promising ride-alongs that would never happen we sent them on their way. The sad part was they had better light bars then our cars did :(
So when you guys are being 'thanked' for your help just wonder how loud they are laughing at you when you leave :)
So when emcomm groups are invited to come back time and time again, they should also suppose that everything is fine? And that when you Bart were thanked for your service, the rest of the department were also thinking "good riddance" when you left them?

The sad part was they had better light bars then our cars did :(
The majority of your post history on EHam is about your envy of the people with yellow flashing lights on their cars, so I guess this cuts to the core of your issues. There are a select few police officers - we have them in Norway too - who resent NGO volunteers, the military, the fire department, civil defense, and everyone who isn't their own department because they "get nicer equipment than we do" or "aren't part of the union", to the point that they dither in calling in volunteers or requesting assistance from the military in a serious situation. There have been a few situations where this sort of attitude has led to a slower response, and more deaths and injuries than necessary; especially after July 22nd, there's absolutely no place for those kinds of attitudes here. It's sad that your department had to suffer under those same attitudes while you were there.

Also, come on, yellow lights only signifies a work vehicle - not any special authority. Many places farmers' tractors, street sweepers and dump trucks have those on them - and they carry radios too. Why the envy?
My opinion, be you ARES, SKYWARN, or whatever decal you want to stick on your car you are ALL whackers in my book.
So in essence, the word whacker is totally meaningless, since it applies to everyone, be they police officers, casual rubberneckers, meteorologists, farmers, nurses, pensioners or fire fighters. Perhaps you didn't realize that.

And no, a person who should see a funnel cloud should report it, by radio or cell.
Will people really know the difference between a funnel cloud and a rain column in the distance without training? The point with Skywarn is that the NWS trains the spotters every year to give accurate reports, and to update them on advances in relevant meteorology.

This fella flat out tells us his reason for getting his tech ticket, to volunteer, talk on a radio and carry a gun.
He wants to legally exercise his 2nd Amendment rights while he volunteers; what if he gets shot by a gang of looters while he's trying to serve his fellow man? This is a whole other topic, and it's not a straight-forward one, and it seems debated to death in that other thread.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on December 13, 2012, 05:58:04 AM
....emcomm groups are being called "elitist" in another thread here, because they put additional requirements on their members - like background checks, Incident Command System training, or regular participation in drills and exercises....

No, you missed the point of that thread.  It wasn't that those things were required, it was because those things were required but the people who required them--the leaders of the group--didn't believe that THEY were supposed to be subject to the same requirements.  Likewise, those same leaders would be in the forefront of the activities, but would not go and actually help out in those activities.

As I said in that thread, they would show up and lead, expecting their group to get down into the mud and work--but wouldn't go down in that mud with the rest of the group and get their boots dirty.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on December 29, 2012, 09:07:05 PM
I am all for helping out as needed.  I just don't see the need for all the craziness that goes on.  While all groups are not going off the deep end, at least the local group is one meeting away from assigning themselves military style ranks.

I guess that personal experience is partly clouding my opinion of the whole thing.  I enjoy radio, i like being a ham and I enjoy my job as a professional radio tech.  I guess I still fail to see why we have people getting licensed to further their other endeavors like SAR and CERT.  The local ARES group just had a class and test session and turned out 17 new hams.  All of them to my understanding are CERT members and only got licensed to use ham radio for CERT operations.  Of course the ARES group is pushing them off on UHF with an ARES member acting as a go between for communications to VHF.  The CERT folks are not to talk to incident command directly, but rather through an ARES member.  This of course ensures the involvement of the ARES group without actually being needed.  Basically they figured out a way to ensure deployment when CERT deploys. 
If you are not familiar with CERT, it's a disaster response group that classifies as first responders in a time of disaster.  They are feet on the street and not simply there to provide communications.  The fact that first responder traffic is being funneled through a group of Hams is a bit much for me to take.   


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KS4VT on December 30, 2012, 04:32:10 AM
I am all for helping out as needed.  I just don't see the need for all the craziness that goes on.  While all groups are not going off the deep end, at least the local group is one meeting away from assigning themselves military style ranks.

I guess that personal experience is partly clouding my opinion of the whole thing.  I enjoy radio, i like being a ham and I enjoy my job as a professional radio tech.  I guess I still fail to see why we have people getting licensed to further their other endeavors like SAR and CERT.  The local ARES group just had a class and test session and turned out 17 new hams.  All of them to my understanding are CERT members and only got licensed to use ham radio for CERT operations.  Of course the ARES group is pushing them off on UHF with an ARES member acting as a go between for communications to VHF.  The CERT folks are not to talk to incident command directly, but rather through an ARES member.  This of course ensures the involvement of the ARES group without actually being needed.  Basically they figured out a way to ensure deployment when CERT deploys. 
If you are not familiar with CERT, it's a disaster response group that classifies as first responders in a time of disaster.  They are feet on the street and not simply there to provide communications.  The fact that first responder traffic is being funneled through a group of Hams is a bit much for me to take.   

What we found locally with CERT, most are "told" to go get their license as they were appointed as the communications person.
Most lose interest very quickly, if they have any interest at all, and once they do need the radio they are either inoperable or the operator totally forgot how it operates.
One local CERT repeater here has been removed from service to CERT due to lack of interest and support and there has been talk that the net is about ready to go away as well.

My community has a team that identifies and reports damage after a hurricane and they use Part 90 radios on a repeater system that I set up and maintain for them.  They chose not to get involved with CERT as the liability is too great and they didn't want to take that on.  If you want to read more, FEMA came out with this document that some agencies are trying to keep quiet. http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/downloads/pdf/CERT_Liability_Guide.pdf


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on December 30, 2012, 07:47:26 AM
I see what you are saying.  I know that we all had to sign up with the state on a web site for state backed liability insurance.
We were told that if something were to happen while deployed that the state would assume all liability.  How that would work out in a court room is anyone's guess.  And of course, people sue each other for all sorts of crap every day based on the goofiest crap imaginable. 
The point I was trying to make was this.  The local ARES clowns pried the door open and went running in to "provide communications" to the local CERT group.  They acted on the premise of being communications consultants of sorts.  In process of all this, as opposed to directing them into getting a grant for part 90 radios, a repeater and license for them, creating a CERT radio system for the groups operation, they elected to put the ARES group smack in the middle of the communications path between the CERT groups and the public safety folks being served.  They directed all CERT communications to UHF only, with an ARES liaison to monitor the CERT radio traffic and pass said traffic on VHF to another ARES member acting as liaison to the served public safety group.  This of course is a goofy manner of communication, requiring traffic to go from one group of people through two unneeded liaisons (ARES) to the final destination being the served public safety group.  The whole reason for this crap is they are ensured to get deployments when CERT deploys EVEN if there is no need for Emergency communications which is what ARES is about to begin with.  They basically created the need for them to be involved, by directing them and training them to pass traffic through them. 
Of course the simple solution is part 90 radios, on public safety frequencies, licensed by the served agencies (the county in this case) Put a control station (radio) in the dispatch center, or add the frequency to a current radio and leave the hams out of the loop.   


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: VE6BGM on January 12, 2013, 08:00:58 PM
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, right or wrong.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N5PZJ on February 25, 2013, 09:03:45 PM
Everybody is a "clown" real class about talking about fellow Amateur Radio Operators!    Best suggestion is to obtain a part 90 radio license for the CERT team instead of using Amateur Radio.  Heck must be a lot extra Public Service Freqs in his area!  He works in public comms area no wonder he wants everything on Part 90!  Gotta sell dem radios!

Down here in Louisiana, we had a cellphone company who also was tied into the Local Govt 2 way market kinda of heavy and dissuaded local Govt from using the hammies as they called us and wanted all rage to be the cellphone!   In KATRINA the cells and 800 MHz stopped working and there was loss of life due to the loss of communications!   In the ensuing legal snafus the message of the Court was "your communitions failed, don't sell it as better if you can not back up your claim.".  "Amateur Radio was still operational as pointed out and the local communications companies don't put off Amateur Radio as a backup anymore since that legal fiasco.  Most companies here will sell you the main system but not a back up based on the main to avoid liability.   Cellphone Companies strictly do not guarantee service during a Hurricane!   


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on February 26, 2013, 12:18:57 PM
No, you missed the point of that thread.  It wasn't that those things were required, it was because those things were required but the people who required them--the leaders of the group--didn't believe that THEY were supposed to be subject to the same requirements.
I was referring to a different thread than what you seem to referring to, it seems. I'm referring to the one complaining about "emcomm elitists".
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,78509.0.html
It was forked out of this one:
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,44900.0.html
which was started by a well meaning guy who thought he could just turn to an emergency frequency and start helping out, without any training. He was told that he was woefully unprepared and that he would need training, participate in exercieses, that insurance issued would need to be sorted out etc. This was decried as "elitist" in a new thread, even if it was good advice.

I believe what AJ3O means is that those vests are illegal to use at accident scenes, in traffic, etc.  While it may be true that they're better than nothing, use of them where it has been limited by statute or city ordinance can only get you problems, problems you don't need--or want.
It might be that some places volunteers would have to buy their own uniforms. If vests are not enough by law or insurance terms, that could entail complete coveralls with reflective material on them - perhaps even helmets and other protective gear, out of pocket. If seeing ARES volunteers in orange vests made some people lose their minds on the Internet, seeing an ARES volunteer in a full coverall and helmet would really cause massive mental and coronary breakdowns. ;D


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on February 27, 2013, 05:18:32 AM
...I was referring to a different thread than what you seem to referring to, it seems. I'm referring to the one complaining about "emcomm elitists".
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,78509.0.html
It was forked out of this one:
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,44900.0.html
which was started by a well meaning guy who thought he could just turn to an emergency frequency and start helping out, without any training....

No, that is exactly the thread that I was speaking of, though maybe I should have said 'one of the points.'  The point about the leaders was brought out there.  73!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on February 27, 2013, 07:10:04 AM
It might be one of the points brought up later in the thread, and if it's true it's a fair point indeed, but it wasn't the original point that the thread starter wanted to make. He was worried that the focus on training and exercise was scaring away potential volunteers. He was also misrepresenting the post he was reacting to; I don't know if he did that out of dishonesty or by mistake.

Actually, from my experience the training and exercise is an attraction with volunteering. It's fun, but with a purpose. The people who join the Red Cross and the Home Guard volunteers aren't just "preppers", they get to do something interesting on their spare time and meet people.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D on March 01, 2013, 06:30:58 AM
EMCOMMers take note: The $40 Baofeng UV5R HT comes with a siren and flashing LED strobe. Perfect for imitating real public safety workers without breaking the bank.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on March 04, 2013, 05:48:30 PM
Everybody is a "clown" real class about talking about fellow Amateur Radio Operators!    Best suggestion is to obtain a part 90 radio license for the CERT team instead of using Amateur Radio.  Heck must be a lot extra Public Service Freqs in his area!  He works in public comms area no wonder he wants everything on Part 90!  Gotta sell dem radios!


Gee, in a word. NO.
Part 90 is better for this reason, If I have a part 90 licensed repeater, I hand a volunteer a radio and tell them to use it, they are then authorized.  They don't need to go study and pass a test, they don't need a special badge with their call sign on it so they can remember what it is.  They don't need to worry about IDing every 10 minutes, and they don't need to worry about some clown screwing with them, playing music or any of the other BS that goes on.  They also don't need to worry about the fact that I will get sick of their tactical call signs, and other ARES BS and shut the repeater off.  Ham radio offers NONE of these benefits.  Simply listen to a weather net, and all the fair weather reports to get an idea of what to expect from ham radio.  The net fills with a bunch of crap.  And contrary to what you MIGHT think, the ham bands are equally licensed to all hams.  Meaning that if they want to talk, they can.  There ain't a damn thing you can do about it, and no matter what you claim to argue about with emergency traffic, it's still going to happen.  Part 90, and specifically public safety, they get visited by the FCC, or they get arrested by the local sheriff for interfering with official business. 


I suppose you would have them all run out and buy the funky bowl (Bao Fung) radios so they could be in a situation were lives may depend on their 40 dollar fine piece of communications hardware.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W1JKA on March 05, 2013, 11:27:31 AM
  I have been reading the responses to this topic from the get go.So far the only thing I can glean out of it all is a lot infighting,politics and self perceived importance between seemingly competing groups of radio communicators under the guise of true emergency communication.What is EMCOMMS other than routine emergencies i.e auto accidents,forest/house fires,bridge/road washouts,flash floods,heart attack/injury aide etc.,etc. and setting up basic communication nets in areas of natural /man made disaster areas during times when conventional and mostly hi-tech  communications is not possible.How quickly folks that once knew but have somehow forgotten the importance of the lowly CB set and their untrained Joe citizen and truck driver operators.These people obviously DISCOVER the situation then REPORT and often RELAY via CB down the line to a location where proper response can be initiated and often position themselves in strategic locations to set up a workable net.This is a daily occurrence in every state especially in areas of non cell phone coverage,just ask anybody who listens to a CB or police/fire monitor at home.This is all done without the following:uniform,official radio speak, blinking badges,45 cal.side arm and without wasting precious time awaiting call out permission to activate from the Grand Fubar.I'm all for letting these Boys clubs have their fun, camaraderie and possible real usefullness without getting in anyones way.No I am not a CB lover or operator,just a ham whose so called GO KITS consisit of cheap Regency CBs,small mag mount ants and a jump start batteries hidden some where in my car trunk or tool box in my pickem up truck for practical EMCOMMS. Prop is up on 20M CUL


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N5TWB on March 06, 2013, 01:06:38 PM
  I have been reading the responses to this topic from the get go.So far the only thing I can glean out of it all is a lot infighting,politics and self perceived importance between seemingly competing groups of radio communicators under the guise of true emergency communication.

With the opening quoted above, I was hoping for some better insight without any of the sins recounted...I was disappointed, yet again. The forum was treated to more heat than light along with a CB love sonnet while joining the stereotype slam chorus from earlier forum posts. It's really no wonder it's so hard to get and maintain a solid relationship with various agencies that might get value from communications support when needed.

 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W1JKA on March 06, 2013, 02:55:35 PM
Re: N5TWB  Reply #95

    I was also disappointed by lack of insight thus my post and ensuing "CB love sonnet" which is based only on what I see and hear on a regular basis.However due to your forthright critique of my "sonnet" I have decided to keep peace in the family by cancelling my memberships to the Dead Poets Society and the Order of Odes.In the meantime I sincerely hope that any particular EMCOMMS group that you may be associated with is above and beyond what has been previously depicted in these posts so far.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: N5TWB on March 06, 2013, 06:34:00 PM
I was also disappointed by lack of insight thus my post and ensuing "CB love sonnet" which is based only on what I see and hear on a regular basis.However due to your forthright critique of my "sonnet" I have decided to keep peace in the family by cancelling my memberships to the Dead Poets Society and the Order of Odes.In the meantime I sincerely hope that any particular EMCOMMS group that you may be associated with is above and beyond what has been previously depicted in these posts so far.

Well, you got me to laugh so that's a start toward communication.   ;D

IMO, every EmComm group can fall prey to any of the "sins" recounted in this thread because they are all filled with people that have various personalities and peccadillos. Successful EmComm groups have processes and procedures that overcome personalities (don't you love the alliteration I've got going here...thought a literary fellow like you would appreciate it).  ;)

As to my associations, one is working with a SkyWarn function for NE OK and the other is ARES as a response team leader for a supported agency (one of several for ARES). SkyWarn seems to work well with generally good net discipline and the main need being more spotters to report observations for the meteorologists. Training has been good to ensure severe conditions are reported according to NWS criteria.

The supported agency for ARES has been an evolving situation that has much to do with the national organization. The local ARES group is working to ensure we're available when needed or when the agency has settled its issues.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on March 09, 2013, 06:05:52 AM
Here's my point on part 90 and EmComm.  Ham is equally licensed, and no ham can tell another to vacate a frequency.  The ONLY possibility with this is a repeater owner.  It's their hardware and they have the right to disallow another ham to talk on their repeater.  Commercial comms is different in that the frequency license holder basically owns the freq within his operating area.  He can allow or ban ANYONE from using the frequency.  If someone gets out of line and they have been issued a radio on the system, they simply take it away. 
Ham is a great hobby, and yes, there is use for hams to do emcomm, and handle traffic.  the problem with ham and emcomm is the rules handed down for ham.  An example would be a SAR search group using ham radio looking for a lost person.  They typically use a code for I found a dead body, not stating that on open air.  This is done to protect the situation if media or the lost persons family is listening or near a radio.  You can't do that on ham.  Most be plain English, no codes or cyphers.  There are other reasons as well.  Now, for long distance comms, ham is king.  There is nothing in the commercial bands that can compete with HF, period.  When the distance is great, ham rules the roost.  Alot of it depends on the traffic I guess. 

This really isn't the point of the question I ask 7 pages ago though.  That question was, and is this.  I fail to understand the push to get people a ham license, which is hobby radio, to go mimic commercial part 90 radio.  How many people that got licensed due to involvement in SAR, CERT, ARES, SkyWarn or any other specific Emergency group that are active, or even interested in radio as a hobby?  I am all for getting people into radio as a hobby.  I enjoy talking to them on the air and helping them learn about radio and communications.  Being as I am in the commercial communications industry, I know a thing or two about radios, repeaters and the like, and I enjoy sharing that knowledge.  I hear the comments about the appliance operator hams and it sort of bothers me.  So now this push to get folks licensed for no other reason than to use hobby radio for what amounts to commercial purposes, I have a problem with it.  Going from 146 to 154 Mhz or from 440 to 460 doesn't change the usable distance of the radios that much.  Sure getting a frequency or two costs money, but once its' done, it's done.  You pay your 150 every 10 years and you have unrestricted use of the frequency.  There is no test, no studying, and you aren't dealing with squirrels or arrogant hams that claim that they have been using this or that frequency for years and The Johnny Come Lately SAR folks need to move off.  Are the radios more expensive, yes they can be.  But the sponsoring organization can typically assist with all that as well.  So why does this push persist?  I hear all this hubbub about the FCC taking away ham allocated freqs and either selling them off or reallocating them to part 90.  I personally don't see it happening, but if a large portion of the licensed hams are simply using the ham allocated bandwidth for stuff that is really part 90 use anyway, then why wouldn't they?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 09, 2013, 11:14:24 AM
Here's my point on part 90 and EmComm.  Ham is equally licensed, and no ham can tell another to vacate a frequency.... 

Not entirely true--especially with emergency communication.  If a ham were to come up on a frequency that was being used for an emergency, the hams with the emergency traffic have every right to tell the interfering ham to move.  AAMOF, if the hams working the emergency wanted to make something of it, they could--and rightfully--file a complaint against the interfering station.

Other than that, I agree with your take on using ham radio for what part 90 communications could be used for, but hams have traditionally used their stations for aid and comfort purposes.  That is specifically for letting someones family in another area know that their family members are alright, letting other ham organizations know about the needs for any possible donations of goods in the affected areas and so on.  The current push to get hams MORE involved does indeed seem to fly in the face of the regs--

Part 97 : Sec. 97.113 Prohibited transmissions
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services.

--but the ARRL is pushing such communications, and the FCC and the government is not only condoning it, they're also promoting it.  Maybe they're figuring that it isn't on a regular basis--but it IS on a regular basis during the duration of the emergency situation which may last for days.  Go figure.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 11, 2013, 05:53:06 PM
No I am not a CB lover or operator,just a ham whose so called GO KITS consisit of cheap Regency CBs,small mag mount ants and a jump start batteries hidden some where in my car trunk or tool box in my pickem up truck for practical EMCOMMS. Prop is up on 20M CUL
Sometimes this can work out, and untrained volunteers can be useful in an emergency, especially if they can draw on their experience from getting on the air. But there's a saying that "in extreme situations we never rise to the occasion, we fall back on our training", and I think that's true for better or worse. Untrained volunteers risk getting in the way, especially in the initial phase of an emergency. If the emergency lasts longer, trained volunteers can be brought in from other counties or states, or new volunteers can be brought up to speed.
--but the ARRL is pushing such communications, and the FCC and the government is not only condoning it, they're also promoting it.  Maybe they're figuring that it isn't on a regular basis--but it IS on a regular basis during the duration of the emergency situation which may last for days.  Go figure.
There was a relatively recent rule change to let people participate in occasional emergency drills while "on the clock" - i.e. paid by their employer - but the other rules about emergency communictions have been in the rules for many years. The use of amateur radio in emergencies is one of the core reasons for its existence - along with fostering international good will, and technical education and innovation. Being there for them in emergencies is something that the public and the politicans expect in return for letting us use these valuable frequencies to play with, for next to no license fees, and it's been that way since amateur radio began.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 12, 2013, 04:51:02 AM
...Being there for them in emergencies is something that the public and the politicans expect in return for letting us use these valuable frequencies to play with, for next to no license fees, and it's been that way since amateur radio began.

That's a little myopic.  The 'valuable' frequencies haven't been very valuable--until the craze of the past couple of decades  toward more and more wireless communications.  Ham radio has been around for much longer than that.  Also, the so called valuable frequencies are those in the UHF bands.  The frequencies below our 2 meter band aren't all that valuable--except to those who want to set up wired communications systems--like BPL.  Although there was help from the ARRL and others that contributed to the fall of BPL, it finally died from its own shortcomings.

The insistence that the frequency bands that we use may be taken away from us and sold to the highest bidder is a lot of hot air being expelled by the Chicken Little types who still insist that the sky is falling.  Yes, there is an outside chance that those UHF/XHF frequency bands may--MAY--end up like that, but that is all that it is--a chance, not a certainty.  

The FCC and other agencies of our and other governments have a hard enough time finding money and effort to police the traditional bands now.  Do you actually think that they're going to arbitrarily prohibit all amateur radio useages?  They can find but a handful of the pirates that inhabit broadcast bands now--and they find those only because those few have stations that aren't portable to the point that they can be easily moved around.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on March 12, 2013, 05:22:49 PM
EMCOMMers take note: The $40 Baofeng UV5R HT comes with a siren and flashing LED strobe. Perfect for imitating real public safety workers without breaking the bank.

That was great ! them whackers can save a few bucks buying one of them Baofeng radios :)
But seriously I love to see you whackers at each others throats, you are all a bunch of clowns, but great entertainment!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 13, 2013, 05:55:00 AM
The FCC and other agencies of our and other governments have a hard enough time finding money and effort to police the traditional bands now.  Do you actually think that they're going to arbitrarily prohibit all amateur radio useages?
Depends on who that highest bidder is. The FCC already is much more forceful in protecting critical frequencies such as aeronautical navaids, than they're about punishing more minor annoyances like guys holding AM ragchews in the CW/digital portion of an amateur band. How forceful the FCC or NTIA would be about protecting spectrum, would depend on what services would be affected. If over the horizon radar, HF internet, or some new idea takes off with substantial financial backing (including donations to politicians), the pressure on HF frequencies could increase.

The FCC is not likely to auction off 20 meters tomorrow. Something like that would require both congress to get involved, and international agreements to be renegotiated. But if amateurs are unwilling and unable to provide emergency communications, one of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the amateur service would be gone. In time, that could erode even the international HF allocations as member states withdraw support.

This is a rather hypothetical discussion though, since amateurs will keep volunteering for emergencies, and it's not like there's any great controversy about this being a good thing. I am pretty sure there's actually more people who are against medical doctors and psychiatrists responding to disasters than there's people against trained amateur volunteers doing their best to help out. I know about at least one notorious organization which sends representatives to disasters with the primary goal of coinvincing victims to refuse medical aid; they even have uniforms and celebrity spokespeople.

Maybe the vocal anti-emcommers could start a similar group that responds to disaster areas, to warn victims about those dangerous radio amateurs with their cancer-rays. Maybe the uniforms should be a bright yellow chainmaille suit to proect against the dangerious ham band energy fields? What celebrity would endorse it?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W1JKA on March 13, 2013, 07:02:55 AM
Quote
This is a rather hypothetical discussion though, since amateurs will keep volunteering for t those dangerous radio amateurs with their cancer-rays. Maybe the uniforms should be a bright yellow chainmaille suit to proect against the dangerious ham band energy fields? What celebrity would endorse it?

William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy, Beam me up to ARIES (sic) ARES Scotty


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W3DBB on March 13, 2013, 07:25:17 AM
This really isn't the point of the question I ask 7 pages ago though.  That question was, and is this.  I fail to understand the push to get people a ham license, which is hobby radio, to go mimic commercial part 90 radio.  How many people that got licensed due to involvement in SAR, CERT, ARES, SkyWarn or any other specific Emergency group that are active, or even interested in radio as a hobby?

So now this push to get folks licensed for no other reason than to use hobby radio for what amounts to commercial purposes, I have a problem with it.

So why does this push persist?  I hear all this hubbub about the FCC taking away ham allocated freqs and either selling them off or reallocating them to part 90.  I personally don't see it happening, but if a large portion of the licensed hams are simply using the ham allocated bandwidth for stuff that is really part 90 use anyway, then why wouldn't they?
The persistent push is to create demand for equipment manufactured or sold by businesses that buy advertising from ARRL. Instead of passively offering advertising space for sale and leaving it at that, ARRL helps the ad purchaser sell new equipment through QST editorial copy that drums up interest and participation in emergency communications. It ensures a steady supply of new equipment buyers ready to pony up.

I don't necessarily agree with this. ARRL is doing what they feel they must in order to stay in the black. It's hard to see this as anything but a short-term strategy. The long-term cost could be the deleterious effect this has on the Amateur Radio Service, which the ARRL is there ostensibly to promote and protect. Sort of like we have to tear this village down in order to save it  ??? .


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AA4PB on March 13, 2013, 08:23:02 AM
I think the "push" is largely about gaining support for amateur radio from non-ham organizations. Whether it is auctioning off frequencies, or BPL, or antenna restrictions, there aren't enough hams to influence gov't agencies without some outside support.

I seriously doubt that EMCOMM is ever going to generate enough additional equipment sales to have any significant impact on QST advertising revenues. I really don't think its about money for the ARRL.



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W1JKA on March 13, 2013, 09:08:54 AM
 I don't know about the ARRL money issue but by the tone of these post it sure isn't promoting any good will among the amateur radio fraternity.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 14, 2013, 09:31:36 AM
...This is a rather hypothetical discussion though, since amateurs will keep volunteering for emergencies, and it's not like there's any great controversy about this being a good thing. I am pretty sure there's actually more people who are against medical doctors and psychiatrists responding to disasters than there's people against trained amateur volunteers doing their best to help out....

THAT is the key point, though.  "Helping out."  Amateurs have traditionally helped out by passing non-critical traffic such as welfare messages and so on.  The issue under discussion in this thread--as I understand it--is the use of amateur radio to pass more critical information.  Information, that by all rights, really has no business being passed on the amateur radio bands.  THAT is the line that has become blurred by these so-called 'visionaries' that want the training and the structured rigidness that is starting to permeate the traditional role of amateur radio in disaster communications.

Those people want amateur radio to do more, and those are the people who are making this push.  Those are also the people who keep predicting gloom and doom to our spectrum, as in the loss of parts of it, unless we DO do more, and unfortunately, the ARRL does have a large part in it..


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 14, 2013, 09:36:28 AM
...I seriously doubt that EMCOMM is ever going to generate enough additional equipment sales to have any significant impact on QST advertising revenues. I really don't think its about money for the ARRL.

Maybe not about money, but it sure as h*ll IS about the influence that the ARRL has in relations with their FCC and other agencies.  It seems that they're not content with their 'traditional role,' and more ARRL members are seeing it then are not.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 14, 2013, 09:37:40 AM
I don't know about the ARRL money issue but by the tone of these post it sure isn't promoting any good will among the amateur radio fraternity.

I'm only one, but they've already lost my support along with the support of some of my friends.  My elmer, who died about ten years ago, was visionary also--he saw where they were going and withdrew his support way back before he died.

It seems that outside of life members--some of whom have already voiced their dismay over what they see is the out of control group they are life members of--the ARRL picks up new members from the new hams, but loses older members who recognize what they're really doing at a rate of perhaps two to one.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 16, 2013, 05:24:30 AM
I don't know about the ARRL money issue but by the tone of these post it sure isn't promoting any good will among the amateur radio fraternity.
I think it would be a mistake to take a few vocal posters on the internet as representative of all amateur radio operators. I'm sure there are people who are against the ARRL pushing DIY or digital modes too, if for nothing else than for "why aren't they pushing QRO/CW/AM/20 watt man packs/space communications/[insert your own pet niche of amateur radio here] instead".
THAT is the key point, though.  "Helping out."  Amateurs have traditionally helped out by passing non-critical traffic such as welfare messages and so on.  The issue under discussion in this thread--as I understand it--is the use of amateur radio to pass more critical information.
Message precedence isn't really a new idea. Hopefully the communications emergency would just entail routine and welfare messages handled by amateur radio, but in case all other medium to long distance communications are lost, volunteers have to be ready to handle priority and emergency traffic that is time-critical, accurately relayed, and important to health and safety. This sometimes does happen for real, and sometimes as a result of systems that "can't fail" failing in unforeseen ways.
Information, that by all rights, really has no business being passed on the amateur radio bands.
By rights, by both legislation and case law, it does take presedence over all other traffic, and is one of the fundamental reasons why amateur radio exists. It's much better that trained, licensed and regularly exercised operators are involved than if agencies just bought a ham radio and kept it mothballed "just in case" without knowing how to use it effectively.
Those people want amateur radio to do more, and those are the people who are making this push.  
I think there's two things driving amateur radio to do more:
- Emergency response becoming more professional, experience based and standardized; this is based on lessons learned from past failure and success.
- Served agencies' demands evolving with technology.

Served agencies have requirements for what volunteers need to know, and for what they need to communicate. Hopefully those requirements are explicit and shared with the volunteers, rather than implicit and only discovered during an emergency. Explicit requirements can be matched by volunteer training, capabilities, and exercise.

If one doesn't want to live with those demands, one could volunteer for a group that has other demands. For example, if you're volunteering to handle traffic for a county EOC you might have to take ICS courses, get a security clearance, and show up for drills a couple times each year. If you're volunteering to handle health and welfare traffic for a local church, they might just care that you're not a registered sex offender, have a license and a radio, and join the volunteer insurance policy.

I think many places the served agencies want more than they're getting from amateur volunteers today. For example, some agencies have a need for sending lists, spread sheets, and other digital information that don't fit well in a standard radiogram or voice message, but the local volunteers might not afford or be interested in digital communications. That presents the served agency and the local emcomm groups with a problem: Push people out for not having the required capabilities, tell the served agency that this is the limit of what the group can provide, or perhaps splitting it up into two groups that provide different services.

In any case it's important that expectations match capabilities, so the served agency (be it a church, other NGO, commercial hospital, or government entity) isn't failed by its volunteers. Or, on the other hand, that a capability exists that the served agency isn't aware of, like if the amateurs actually have communications with the whole country but the EOC thinks the county has become isolated.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 17, 2013, 05:57:45 AM
Quote from: K1CJS
Information, that by all rights, really has no business being passed on the amateur radio bands.
By rights, by both legislation and case law, it does take presedence over all other traffic, and is one of the fundamental reasons why amateur radio exists. It's much better that trained, licensed and regularly exercised operators are involved than if agencies just bought a ham radio and kept it mothballed "just in case" without knowing how to use it effectively.

This is the crux of the whole matter.  Here in the US, the push was and is on after 9-11 to have communications systems that are failure proof.  If one line of official communications goes down, to have another line of official communication take over, not to have the communication shifted to the amateur bands.  That is where the 'system interoperability' concept comes into play. 

You're right that in the past some agencies and departments have bought amateur radios and kept them "in reserve" so to speak for emergencies, but the directives that came down stressed that official communications were not to be put over the amateur bands unless there was no other means of communications open at all.  Communications systems have been upgraded today to the point that there is almost always one means of official communication that is useable no matter what the situation.

If it were not for the constant push by certain groups to include amateur radio and the belief of those groups that amateur radio is an indispensable part of any disaster planning, amateur radio would still exist as it did in the past, as a standby means of communications in emergencies, and not as those groups would have everyone believe--that amateur radio is the one and only fallback that there can be in any emergency.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KA4NMA on March 17, 2013, 12:21:20 PM
Hurricane Sandy showed how public service and cell phones can  be disrupted.  I read an article about how residents would line up at pay phones because of no cell service.

I was doing Emcomm  (h&w traffic, etc) and Skywarn long before I knew about the formal programs.  I just wanted to help out my community and others.

Randy ka4nma


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 19, 2013, 04:52:45 AM
Communications systems have been upgraded today to the point that there is almost always one means of official communication that is useable no matter what the situation.
Almost is the operative word here, and it's highly dependent on where in the US you are and what kind of disaster it is. I think it's a good thing that public service communications have gotten an upgrade, and more focus on mutual aid and interoperability. Even so it would be just as wrong to assume that volunteers never would need to handle priority and emergency messages, as it would be wrong to think that 20 meter HF always will work.

"Failsafe" systems are also inherently complex, and this complexity sometimes means new ways to fail. For example, there could a programming bug or slight error in configuration in a digital system that could cause a communications emergency, without any external event causing it.

It would also be wrong to assume that amateur bands will always work - there has been emergencies during periods of high aurora activity for example, where linked VHF/UHF repeaters have worked but HF was wiped out. If the repeaters were gone too, one would have to resort to motorcycle messengers. Any particular amateur radio mode/band is also something that can fail - it's the diversity of modes and bands available that is its main strength.

If there's priority traffic that needs to be kept confidential, it would be legal to transmit encrypted emergency government traffic over amateur radio and routed by amateur radio operators. It would definitely not be legal to exercise with encrypted messages, but if you're well trained in sending exact digital messages with checksums, you could substitute the cleartext message with an ASCII-armored encrypted file and it would provide end-to-end security for the served agency, if they had taken care of key exchange ahead of time.

As an inbetween solution that would not provide true security, but would obfuscate messages from the general public, even unencrypted DSTAR and Pactor III transmissions can't be decoded by most people out there, since it requires special hardware.

Even if one were to use motorcycle messengers or some other limited resource for classified information, the non-classified information could be transmitted by amateur radio and take some of the burden off.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 20, 2013, 12:08:40 PM
...If there's priority traffic that needs to be kept confidential, it would be legal to transmit encrypted emergency government traffic over amateur radio and routed by amateur radio operators....

Not in the US it isn't.  Regulations specifically prohibit ANY encrypted communications.

Quote
It would definitely not be legal to exercise with encrypted messages, but if you're well trained in sending exact digital messages with checksums, you could substitute the cleartext message with an ASCII-armored encrypted file and it would provide end-to-end security for the served agency, if they had taken care of key exchange ahead of time.

As an inbetween solution that would not provide true security, but would obfuscate messages from the general public, even unencrypted DSTAR and Pactor III transmissions can't be decoded by most people out there, since it requires special hardware.

Nope.  Just another form of encryption.  If the key or the hard/software isn't generally available (yes, even for a fee) for use on amateur frequencies, it isn't legal to use such encryption here.  For that purpose, D-Star and Pactor III aren't considered 'encrypted' here--and certainly not for the purpose of passing confidential information.

Quote
Even if one were to use motorcycle messengers or some other limited resource for classified information, the non-classified information could be transmitted by amateur radio and take some of the burden off.

True, but in the US, with patient confidentiality and other laws put into the books since 9-11, that non-classified traffic would be about half--or less--of the total traffic.  The difference between the classified and non-classified is that the non-classified messages are considered health and welfare messages, just as requests for more cots, blankets, food, etc. are.  Those are NOT confidential messages. 

And what you just said--non-classified info passed by amateur radio--is what I've been saying can be done all along.  Ham radio operators have been passing those for years with NTC guidelines and message forms.  Nothing more is needed for them, but the rabid EmComm pushers say that there is, and that's where the problem comes in.

In any event, this discussion has gone full circle, and it's not much use to continue it.  We each have our opinions.  We also each have the laws in our respective countries that we have to follow.  It's unfortunate that the US laws vary from the Norwegian on certain points, it makes discussion a bit awkward.  Anyway, 73!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 20, 2013, 12:20:30 PM
BTW, Gunnar, I did see your point about the failure of the fail proof systems and the need to use amateur radio to pass confidential information.  That is definitely frowned on here, but the possibility that it may happen is recognized too.  Usually though, such information IS able to be passed without the use of amateur radio here.  Just for that reason there are multiple redundant 'official' channels and bands in use here.  Things would really have to be bad to mandate the use of amateur frequencies for that 'official' traffic--bad enough that even amateur radio probably couldn't get through either.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 20, 2013, 05:30:40 PM
Not in the US it isn't.  Regulations specifically prohibit ANY encrypted communications.
Note that even though there's a general prohibition on encryption - with the exception of satellite commands - there's a special rule in Part 97, as well as in the general FCC rules, which say that in a true emergency one is allowed to disregard the other rules if necessary. The clause in Part 97 is
Quote
§97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.
Even if that clause wasn't there, the principle of necesitty would apply, I think. So yes, encryption in case of a true emergency would be legal, if the matter is pressing enough, but you can't exercise with encryption.
For that purpose, D-Star and Pactor III aren't considered 'encrypted' here--and certainly not for the purpose of passing confidential information.
As as I said it would not provide true security, only obfuscate the message for the casual listener. That might be moderately useful in an emergency if the nature of the communications is time critical - i.e. the type of information that will become a matter of public record anyway, but that you don't want to announce publicly today. Let's say it's information about areas vulnerable to looting being reported to law enforcement; if the would-be looters hears it today they can get there before the National Guard or police can get to the area and sack the place - if the would-be looters hear it tomorrow it's to late because security has been established by then.

True, but in the US, with patient confidentiality and other laws put into the books since 9-11, that non-classified traffic would be about half--or less--of the total traffic.
Well, there are levels - classes - of classification. Some might be too secret to transmit over non-narrow beam radio link, while others are just low level confidential and standard encryption is good enough. Since so much official information is a matter of public record anyway, I wonder how the distribution would be. I'd imagine it would depend on the nature of the emergency and the served agency in question; a hosptial sending patient lists would presumably have more secret data to transmit than an fire chief managing a wildfire.

The difference between the classified and non-classified is that the non-classified messages are considered health and welfare messages, just as requests for more cots, blankets, food, etc. are.  Those are NOT confidential messages. 
Are we mixing up message presedences with classified messages here? There can be EMERGENCY or official Priority messages which don't need to be kept secret, or there could be Routine messages that need to be kept secret.

If only amateur radio happens to be available between point A and B, and confidential data has to be passed, they'll have to decide to
- Encrypt the data with an algorithm they trust.
- Transmit it in the clear, effectively de-classifing it.
- Not transmit the data, risking death, injury and property damage.

Ham radio operators have been passing those for years with NTC guidelines and message forms.  Nothing more is needed for them, but the rabid EmComm pushers say that there is, and that's where the problem comes in.
As I said, some of the served agencies want to transmit data that doesn't fit on a standard radiogram. They might even want fast-scan TV/video. And a minimum level of training and readiness.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on March 20, 2013, 07:16:42 PM
Note that even though there's a general prohibition on encryption - with the exception of satellite commands - there's a special rule in Part 97, as well as in the general FCC rules, which say that in a true emergency one is allowed to disregard the other rules if necessary. The clause in Part 97 is

Quote
§97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.

Even if that clause wasn't there, the principle of necesitty would apply, I think. So yes, encryption in case of a true emergency would be legal, if the matter is pressing enough, but you can't exercise with encryption.

This has gone far enough--and this is my last post to you on this thread.  The quoted 'safety of life and property does NOT include encryption.  That has been stressed by the FCC many times.  NO encryption is permitted on amateur service frequencies in the US under ANY circumstances.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 21, 2013, 05:39:44 PM
Citation needed, please. If you won't provide that, maybe somebody else will?

47 CFR 97.403 is a quite broad provision. A similar provision exists in 47 CFR 2.405 for non-amateur and non-broadcast stations, but note that while 2.405 requries station licensees to formally notify the FCC that they're operating outside of their licensing terms due to an emergency/disaster, and they still can't change their power level or frequencies, amateur stations don't have those requirements. I suppose this is a reflection of how licensees covered by 2.405 tend to be operating on tightly packed channels next to other licensees, while most amateurs have VFO tuning.

Since there's also a specific rule allowing amateur stations to engage in cross-service contacts in emergencies, I suppose what the FCC wants is that the amateur station tunes a PMR frequency rather than the PMR station tries to tune into the amateur band.

Not only would encryption be allowed under 97.403, but the amateur station would be allowed to operate outside the band limits and power limits that normally would apply, the operator can be doing it on paid time, and using equipment that violates emission standards, etc. The degree to which one can ignore the other rules, would of course depend on how necessary it was to do so. I'd think that only the content of confidential emergency messages would be justified to be encrypted - the callsigns and addressing would need to be in the clear both for routing purposes and since they would not be considered confidential.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W5TTW on March 23, 2013, 10:20:37 AM
N5TWB wrote:  “It's really no wonder it's so hard to get and maintain a solid relationship with various agencies that might get value from communications support when needed.”


As someone who spent over a decade as a police sergeant & investigator in one of those agencies, I can share a little insight into their mindset.  The folks working in the police/fire/ems services are EMCOMM professionals.   They use a radio to send and receive life and death related transmissions every day.  Using a radio for emergency purposes is like breathing to them.  It’s not a hobby.  Every time they respond to an emergency call, it’s because “All Else Failed” for someone.  They are not impressed by an amateur radio license or war stories concerning Hurricane Oprah.  

These people are very suspicious of any swag or titles intended to make someone appear “OFFICIAL.”  From their experience, men that try to look official drive cars with magnetic “EMERGENCY” signs while they look for a child to entice at the bus stop after school.

If you want your group to be tolerated, eliminate all the silly “OFFICIAL” gear.  I’m sorry, but it makes you look like wackers in their eyes.  There is absolutely no need for that stuff if all you are going to do is talk on the radio.  Granted, half of your members will probably quit, but the people that will be left might be taken somewhat seriously if they handle themselves properly.    Good luck.  



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on March 23, 2013, 06:30:08 PM
The folks working in the police/fire/ems services are EMCOMM professionals.   They use a radio to send and receive life and death related transmissions every day.  
That is like calling everone who uses a phone in their daily job a "telecom professional". No dobut the professional emergency responders know how to effectively communicate within their department or with mutual aid services, but it's not a given that they know how to establish alternative communications if their digital trunked system or the phone system stops working. The radio amateurs are there to re-establish communications, while the service techs fix the underlying problem and the first responders get on with their job with as little disruption as possible.
Using a radio for emergency purposes is like breathing to them.  
Would you say if their channelized trunked radio system stops working, is it also like suddenly not being able to breathe?
It’s not a hobby.  
Mountain rescue and civil air patrol are hobbies useful in emergencies. Can any random police officer or fire fighter home in on an ELT, or rescue a person who's fallen down on a ledge under an overhang?
If you want your group to be tolerated, eliminate all the silly “OFFICIAL” gear.  I’m sorry, but it makes you look like wackers in their eyes.  There is absolutely no need for that stuff if all you are going to do is talk on the radio.
I would be happy to see the load bearing vests and camouflage pants get thrown out but I would be careful about throwing out the reflective vests and ID badges too. The last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is running around asking "who is that guy, and who is that guy, and why is he there"? In a disaster area, it strikes me as somewhat impractical to have plainclothes volunteer fire fighters, plainclothes paramedics, plainclothes Red Cross volunteers, plainclothes Salvation Army volunteers, plainclothes amateur radio volunteers, mixed in with victims, evacuees, rubberneckers, looters and journalists - all in white unmarked vans. We even have a thread here on eHam started by a guy who wanted to go "under cover" with his radio to "shadow" public service events or something.

On the sliding scale between
- A whacker in a fake police uniform and carrying a gun
- A whacker in a load bearing vest and a uniform that looks suspiciously like a police officer
- A trained amateur volunteer in reflective vest saying "Radio volunteer" or something like that
- A trained amateur volunteer that can't be told apart by sight from a group of evacuees or bystanders
- An untrained volunteer who shows up spontaneously and demands that you put him to work saving the world with an HT
- A would-be volunteer who is sitting at home hoping to get called out, but nobody in the incident command knows that s(he) exists and is capable of.
- An weirdo who sneaks around with a radio to "shadow" the incident without your knowledge
I think somewhere around the reflective vests area is actually the best place to be, and it seems that's what the norm already is. A few vocal voices hate the out of control whackers so much that they say they prefer plainclothes or even untrained volunteers to trained volunteers in reflective vests - and that sort of mentality is actually fascinating to me. It reminds me of the extreme doomsday preppers on one side, and on the other side those people who refuse to keep food for more than one day in the house and say they hope that they're the first to die if a disaster strikes.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB0OXD on March 24, 2013, 12:58:46 AM
Judging by many of the posts here and on other forums, part 97.1(d) should really thin out the herd...
Which is why I don't pretend to be a trained SKYWARN weather spotter & don't participate in their activities (I learned that the hard way in my first year).  Nor am I an active member of ARES because communications training standards have DRAMATICALLY changed since I was licensed back in 1992.  I also don't regularly check into the local & regional nets because they're both on before I'm even up & out of bed every Sunday Morning

I CAN however.....

* Handle & Pass NTS Traffic at the local & (Via EchoLink) national level (In fact, it was traffic handling that saved me from losing my license back in the early '90s because I knew it was something I could do WITHOUT running the risk of someone getting killed or failing to pass vital life-saving information on to proper authorities).  I later served as NCS for the Central Colorado Traffic Net on the Colorado Connection Repeater System, taking the Sunday Night slot

* Serve as a communicator at special events like Bike-A-Thons, racing, parades & other charity events

I also worked World Youth Day when The Pope last visited the US back in 1993 & was called upon to monitor the local repeater handling traffic during the Democratic National Convention back in 2008 (Monitoring the repeater is all I wound up doing during the DNC though as nothing really significant happened unless you were near any of the Convention venues)

What's also taken into consideration when deciding when/if you shall be deployed anywhere (If at all) is your station equipment & their capabilities as well as YOUR OWN PERSONAL capabilities.  If your station doesn't have any portable or battery-operable equipment, it likely isn't going to be deployed anywhere (Though you might be deployed).  If you're in a wheelchair (AKA a HandiHam), you likely won't be deployed anywhere (Though your equipment might be usable for deployment).  It all depends on the situation & the people needed

Just my observations from over 20 years in the HOBBY :)

Cheers & 73 ;D


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D on April 03, 2013, 10:18:51 AM
This is simply the best reply I have read on this topic. We would laugh at someone who brought a gun, fire hose, or defibrillator to an emergency to "help out", but are unable to see how ridiculous it is to show up with a hobby radio and expect acceptance as part of the professional team.

I can see the need for amateur HF in certain emergencies, but there will never be a situation where all government tactical emergency communications fail and ham radio doesn't.



As someone who spent over a decade as a police sergeant & investigator in one of those agencies, I can share a little insight into their mindset.  The folks working in the police/fire/ems services are EMCOMM professionals.   They use a radio to send and receive life and death related transmissions every day.  Using a radio for emergency purposes is like breathing to them.  It’s not a hobby.  Every time they respond to an emergency call, it’s because “All Else Failed” for someone.  They are not impressed by an amateur radio license or war stories concerning Hurricane Oprah.  

These people are very suspicious of any swag or titles intended to make someone appear “OFFICIAL.”  From their experience, men that try to look official drive cars with magnetic “EMERGENCY” signs while they look for a child to entice at the bus stop after school.

If you want your group to be tolerated, eliminate all the silly “OFFICIAL” gear.  I’m sorry, but it makes you look like wackers in their eyes.  There is absolutely no need for that stuff if all you are going to do is talk on the radio.  Granted, half of your members will probably quit, but the people that will be left might be taken somewhat seriously if they handle themselves properly.    Good luck.  




Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D on April 03, 2013, 10:23:01 AM
Um, last time I checked "channelized trunked radio systems" default to simplex mode if the multiple controllers fail.


Using a radio for emergency purposes is like breathing to them.  
Would you say if their channelized trunked radio system stops working, is it also like suddenly not being able to breathe?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on April 04, 2013, 04:37:31 AM
Quote
...The folks working in the police/fire/ems services are EMCOMM professionals....

It could be said that there are different types of "Emcomm professionals" out there.  The folks referenced in the quote may or may not be emcomm professionals.  Asking one of them to actually set up or troubleshoot a radio installation may or may not be a good idea depending on the knowledge of the individual.  On the other hand, asking a trained radio technician to supervise or do communications for those public safety personnel may throw a monkey wrench into the comms being done--again depending on knowledge.

The only emcomm professionals are the people who can do it all--and there are fewer and fewer of them out there because of the ever tightening criteria of those who are doing the setting up and controlling of these things--without actually knowing much about what they're trying to set the standards for.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KF7CG on April 04, 2013, 11:25:33 AM
About the "Hobby" radios and the case where if the government tactical radios fail then the Hobby radios would too. I have had the privilege of living in an area where the hobbists had better communications facilities than the local governments. I areas with sparse population and even sparser budgets, it is quite possible for a group of Amateurs pooling their resources and skills to build and maintain a better communications infrastructure than any reasnably equipped local entity.

In the densly populated areas this becomes less probable. In parts of the interior west, there are very often on 5 or 6 officers to cover 1000 square miles and search and rescue into the mountains or even an non-federalized enforcement sweep needs extra, non-governmental communications support. For the "Pros" if something is only used one time out of 1000 or less, it might just be too expensive to have and maintain. For a hobbyest the same facility might just be valuable for fun.

Different budget priorities cause differences in what is "affordable" equipment.

KF7CG


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on April 05, 2013, 04:05:13 AM
Very very fortunate here. Our local team of communications volunteers have been very well received through the years.  The reasons are probably manifold, beginning with Southern hospitality, but the basics here are that we live in a remote area, do not have the big city budgets, manners are important and we hams assist primarily with 'back-channel' communications, so that the main fire/rescue/police channels are not over-run with shelter, lower level admin and other communications when normal infrastructure is impaired or overwhelmed. Though we do occasionally pass a piece of official 'gummit' traffic, that is rare enough to be appreciated.  When internet dies, we really shine because of our WINLINK HF capability.  We hams have been able to supply storm track information & official forecasts during hurricanes and other useful information, of which our local friends in uniform who are planning their response have only the single source: internet. We've also been able to keep our remote counties in touch with each other & their higher eschelon people in Richmond & etc. during loss of infractructure, which is common during hurricanes. In general - we can take some of the load off of those very busy people.

I do disagree with the assertion that a guy who is provided with an HT,  a mobile and an MDT somehow makes is a 'EMCOMM professional'.  They would be an 'end user' and it's not even remotely reasonable to expect them to improvise power, antennas, mics, or modify their comms gear to send/receive data and imagery, because they are generally busy doing the things which we pay them do to - not fiddle with radios.  Their radios and data terminal are tools in the box, used hard and the goal is to have them understand these tools at the operator's level - which is how it should be. I know how to use a hammer to drive nails, but am not required to be a metalurgist or a blacksmith. The rub occurs when things are not working and/or overwhelmed by unusual & widespread circumstances.   Buddies of mine who are badged AND are skilled hams see this first hand all the time.  (you know who you are...). In my past, I routinely had to correct some otherwise talented people who hold an HT upside down, with the rubber duckie running down the inside of their forearm because they saw it on TV and they want to look 'professional', not realizing that the flesh in their forearm is absorbing RF energy and the antenna works much better when vertical and in the clear: some were PhD's other's were in uniforms of various countries.

We volunteers who provide surge communications capabilty in this rural area don't pretend to kick in doors and point weapons. Perhaps that is common behavior in other areas of the country, but I don't keep-up with what's fashionable elsewhere.   ;^)    A team - by definition is a coordination of effort among people with various talents.  Communication makes beneficial coordination all the more likely. That's what we're here to do for our neighbors.



73 de Ray
W7ASA  ..._ ._



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on April 05, 2013, 05:39:59 AM
This is simply the best reply I have read on this topic. We would laugh at someone who brought a gun, fire hose, or defibrillator to an emergency to "help out", but are unable to see how ridiculous it is to show up with a hobby radio and expect acceptance as part of the professional team.
Actually no, we do not laugh at NGOs and private individuals and corporations providing ambulances, defibrilators, private aircraft, private boats, privately owned climbing and caving gear and other gear with them to a search-and-rescue effort or emergency. Sometimes these privately owned assets are leased by the government, while other times they are provided by volunteers for free.

Guns and weapons are a whole different issue.
I can see the need for amateur HF in certain emergencies, but there will never be a situation where all government tactical emergency communications fail and ham radio doesn't.
Hopefully local tactical radios should be the last things that would fail, but what if the failure of those radios is the actual communications emergency? Cell phones would would be the likely first fallback solution, before having to do things like put a ham volunteer in every mobile unit or just speed-training the emergency responders to use a ham radio or an old analog public service radio.

Um, last time I checked "channelized trunked radio systems" default to simplex mode if the multiple controllers fail.
They should, but controller failure isn't the only failure mode. The handsets could crash, for example.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KS4VT on April 05, 2013, 05:38:20 PM
Um, last time I checked "channelized trunked radio systems" default to simplex mode if the multiple controllers fail.

The Motorola system that I manage has 3 fallback methods, each one decreasing the users capabilities:

1. Site Trunking - Dispatchers consoles disconnect from the switch and there is no affect on the field users at all.  They trunk normally with simulcast and voters still operating.

2. Simulcast FailSoft - Dispatchers consoles are still disconnect from the switch and the users in the field fall back to a predetermined channel in the system that defaults to a conventional repeater.  The system is still in simulcast mode and the voters continue to operate.

3. Site Distributed FailSoft - Same as #2, except that the conventional repeaters do not have simulcast nor are they voting.  Of the 28 channels that I have in the system I manage, the failsoft assignments are geographically spaced on different towers across the county.

If everything goes to hell, the NSPAC 8Call90 and 8TAC's are utilized and those are conventional repeaters as well.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 06, 2013, 08:31:21 PM
I think this has degenerated into a discussion of the validity of hams and EMCOMM and that's not what I was after when I started this thread.  I wanted to know why there is a push to license people in hobby radio that are not interested in radio as a hobby but rather to provide themselves with a method of communication that should be in the part 90 realm to begin with.

That being said, someone else brought up a point about what "when all else fails" actually would entail with the current types of commercial trunked radio systems.
There are 3 levels of failure in these systems and while I will not go into them, I will state this.  Entire sites can fail with a simulcast system and the system will stay in operation with degraded coverage.  Most systems are linked via two way microwave links that are in a loop.  This means that even if a tower falls the communications are maintained.  There are very few public safety systems that are reliant on things like phone and power lines to maintain operation. 

To fully disrupt all communications on ANY system, trunked or not, you would need multiple site failures to have no communications, and that would include not only ALL primary system sites, but their backups and mutual aid backups as well. 
Take a cow town like Columbus Ohio.  The city has a 6 site simulcast system with 28 channels, the county has a two site system with 18 channels.  Then there are TAC repeaters that are at different sites that also have generators (all simulcast sites are generator backed up and microwave linked).  So just what level of disaster takes down 6 sites that pretty much surround the city, plus the TAC repeaters that are on buildings and other sites that are NOT shared with the simulcast system sites.  Then we need a failure of the multiple car to car simplex communications to fully render the public safety communications void.  Now short of some terrorist attack on the radio waves, taking 6 sites off the air that are 20 miles apart is going to require something like multiple nuclear blasts near the sites to basically destroy the towers.  At that point, everyone is pretty much dead anyway.  And there is no way in hell that I would go rolling in that sort of a situation because I would no doubt become a victim myself from fallout or whatever.  No thanks. 

Now I realize that there are some remote areas that are not covered by huge simulcast systems that are all but nuke proof.  There are areas that have a a couple repeaters here and there, but they also don't have the number of people in those areas to deal with in the even of a disaster.  And in truth, most areas like that, the public safety folks are running 100 watt low band radios on 33 Mhz and can talk 50 miles from mobile to mobile without the need of a repeater to begin with. 

So yes, I do at times question the overall validity of the whole EMCOMM thing.  When the police cars are no longer rolling and the level of disaster comes to the firemen leaving the trucks at the station and heading out with buckets or just calling it a loss and heading home to be with their families, just what do we as hobby radio operators hope to accomplish?  We can talk on radios, that's it.  And for those that can do more, it's not longer EMCOMM.  If you are a trained EMT, law enforcement, or fireman, then you are not doing EMCOMM, You are doing public safety and carrying a ham radio.  I don't think that is what the ARRL and FCC had in mind when they created ham radio and the idea of providing emergency communications.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on April 07, 2013, 02:32:07 AM
To fully disrupt all communications on ANY system, trunked or not, you would need multiple site failures to have no communications, and that would include not only ALL primary system sites, but their backups and mutual aid backups as well. 
If the handsets crash, or some other fault causes overloading of the system with junk data, you wouldn't need hardware failures before the system is affected.
The digital trunked systems are well thought out and tested, but they are also complex.
Now short of some terrorist attack on the radio waves, taking 6 sites off the air that are 20 miles apart is going to require something like multiple nuclear blasts near the sites to basically destroy the towers.  At that point, everyone is pretty much dead anyway.
If terrorists wanted to disrupt communications during an attack or something, they wouldn't need nuclear bombs, but could merely use jammers in the area, or perhaps exploit some 0-day vulnerability on the digital side of things. Of course, they could also jam amateur communications, but this would introduce more frequency that they would need to hit.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 07, 2013, 09:36:19 PM
Handsets crash??? Huh??? I am sorry but that is stretching things a bit.  The company that I work for is doing the rebanding of all the subscribers for the city and county.  All in total it's about 40000 radios.  So you are saying that something may infect these radios and cause all 40000 to crash? 

I think we are to a point in this discussion that people are grasping at straws to create some reason that ham radio and EMCOMM is beneficial.  First off, I never said it wasn't, at least not here.  I honestly don't believe it's beneficial in the manner that it's being portrayed, but in certain circumstances, and uses it is beneficial. When the discussion of needing to pass health and welfare during a hurricane between shelters, I get that.  When some clown starts talking about needing a ham to ride around in every police car and fire truck because all the public safety comms have failed, that's taking it a bit too far.   

As far as terrorists taking down a radio system.  I do know the specific vulnerabilities of them and while I will not specifically go into them here, I will say that it would be rather difficult to fully render a system completely inoperable with  this magical "jammer" that you speak of.  You have to understand how they actually work to know how they will react to interference.  It's not a single site, single freq repeater that you simply generate a carrier on its input and render it useless.  Nice try though. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: LA9XSA on April 09, 2013, 05:28:34 AM
Part of my degree deals with how design decisions and implementation bugs lead to both spontaneous faults and exploitable vulnerabilities.

I agree with you that it would not be wise to discuss publicly in detail how you'd attack your own system.

Welfare traffic, and perhaps some priority official HF traffic on NVIS and long distances seem like the most needed capabilities, but it would not be a good idea to pretend that "system A can never fail, because we paid X USD on it, so we'll have no plans to deal with it if it stops working".


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1DA on April 09, 2013, 07:59:54 AM
Handsets crash??? Huh??? I am sorry but that is stretching things a bit.  The company that I work for is doing the rebanding of all the subscribers for the city and county.  All in total it's about 40000 radios.  So you are saying that something may infect these radios and cause all 40000 to crash? 

I think we are to a point in this discussion that people are grasping at straws to create some reason that ham radio and EMCOMM is beneficial.  First off, I never said it wasn't, at least not here.  I honestly don't believe it's beneficial in the manner that it's being portrayed, but in certain circumstances, and uses it is beneficial. When the discussion of needing to pass health and welfare during a hurricane between shelters, I get that.  When some clown starts talking about needing a ham to ride around in every police car and fire truck because all the public safety comms have failed, that's taking it a bit too far.   

As far as terrorists taking down a radio system.  I do know the specific vulnerabilities of them and while I will not specifically go into them here, I will say that it would be rather difficult to fully render a system completely inoperable with  this magical "jammer" that you speak of.  You have to understand how they actually work to know how they will react to interference.  It's not a single site, single freq repeater that you simply generate a carrier on its input and render it useless.  Nice try though. 
  I've heard what happens to a electric   utility trunked system on 450 when atmospheric noise during a windstorm makes it almost unusable.  These guys are working on high voltage feeders. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 11, 2013, 08:13:35 PM
Gee so much to reply to.

First off, trying to make the case based on solar storms bringing down systems, while plausible, is not valid at least in my case.  The systems I am talking about are 800Mhz.  Anything that is going to affect communications in that high a frequency will tear the hell out of any frequency below it.  So while I agree that it could indeed happen, good luck communicating on 2 meters.

Second, we are not talking about one system in my case.  We are talking about 3 separate systems, with different sites, different controllers, different linking.  And as I was standing at one site, dealing with a power outage at it (it was on batteries, I realized it's not 3 systems, it's actually 4 systems that could provide coverage.  So it would be VERY hard for a bug to affect all 4 systems at the same time, in the same manner.  Next issue is that, again, we are not talking about some hammie repeater system that has a controller that is based on Windows 98 that is directly connected to the internet.  These are all closed systems.  They operate independently of each other, and NONE are connected to the Internet for obvious reasons.  While the newest systems are run off custom software that resides on a Windows box, the Windows box can completely fail and the system will keep running.  There are some obvious short comings to operation, but the communications will continue. 
Since the system is not connected to the Internet, neither are the subscribers, so again, no path for attack.  Radios again are not running Windows of some such nonsense, they are firmware driven.  Firmware that can't be modified over the air in any way.  So back to the 40000 radios.  That's forty thousand, would all need to be modified with this failure prone bug.  To do so means you would need to have physical access to the radios, the software, and the time to plant the bug in that many radios.  So while I see your argument, it doesn't hold water.  And if this super bug were to even exist, and could modify the firmware of a radio over the air, with the fact that there are radios that operate in both the public safety and ham bands, how does it affect just the public safety radios and have zero impact on the hammie stuff?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 11, 2013, 08:54:26 PM
As I am sitting here thinking on this, I have come to a conclusion.  And I suppose it's not really coming to a conclusion, because I figured it out years ago and it still holds true.  Every so often it rears its head in ham radio showing that it's still in full effect.  That being that hams seem to not only stick to but only understand old ways of doing things.  The dropping of the code requirement was my first experience with it as I have only been licensed for 19 years.  All the old farts screamed that ham radio would fail because the no code people would ruin it.  Ham had always had a code requirement and damn it, it should remain.  Well, had it not gone away, ham radio would be taking it's last breath by now.  99.9% of the time, I can pick up either my cell phone or my home phone and make a call.  No code knowledge needed.  All I know of code is it's beeps.  Short ones and long ones, but beeps... and it's not the beat all end all that it was either.  Sure it will talk farther than AM, FM of SSB, but some of the digital modes are proven to work when the signal level is IN the noise floor, not above it.  Can CW be copied in the noise floor, sure, if both ends of the communication are talking place with seasoned operators that can hear the changes in the noise floor and copy the code.  If not, it's a one way affair.  Digital modes require more hardware, but they are more reliable period.  

So, we get to the next argument for emcomm.  And it's based loosely on the idea that hams can change frequency and operate simplex.  News flash, 2 meters is just below the VHF public safety band, 440 - 450 butts up to the 450-470 public safety band.  900 is above 800, 6 meters is 20 up from VHF low band.  Now, back in the day, prior to the idea of interoperability being important, you would have department A on VHF, neighboring department B on UHF and the other close dept on an 800 trunked system.  Then 9-11 happened, and interoperability became the key work for tons of government funds.  Dept A, B, and C got together with their local LEOS and got money to install trunked radio systems that cover all 3 counties, in building, and all surrounding areas with mobile coverage as well.  The radios were all setup with not only repeater access, and common talk groups, but common simplex channels as well for any and all sorts of things.  Fire TAC's Police TAC's and even Fire-Police TACs in suring that no matter what, if you could put your hands on a radio, you could talk to everyone you needed to.  If they weren't answering it meant they were dead.  So, what do we bring to that table?  A VFO, so what, just like at the local ARES meetings, the professionals, nd highly paid consultants sat down and devised a channel plan taking every possible situation into account.  They planned and trained and tested their solutions, and came to template to program radios so that they wouldn't need VFO's becasue they didn't  have them to begin with.  The ARES guys do the same thing.  Calling is on freq X for VHF and Freq Y for UHF.  Site ops are done on this or that freq, and it's all planned out.  They all ran home and programmed their go bag radios frantically waiting for their activation call that never comes.  

Here's the point.  As hams, we have no trunking, we have no encryption, our repeaters a large majority of the time are either housed in the same building as the public safety stuff, or are less reliable than the public safety counterpart missing key things like generators, coverage area, and a host of other things.  We didn't narrow band with public safety to make better use of our allotted spectrum.  We buy junk radios because they are cheap, adding to the overall lack of reliability to our communications. When we attempt to do something in line with the public safety types like digital modulation or DMR (MOTOTRBO, NXTEDGE and similar) we scream that it's some sort of encryption because it can't be heard by our old ass crystal scanners.  Part of ham radio is the futherment of communications technology, but as people do anything similar to that, they get driven back by do gooder hams that stick to ancient technology because it isn't compatible with their old tube rigs.


So we effectively bring NOTHING to the table that public safety doesn't already have. 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on April 11, 2013, 10:21:19 PM
This is a global forum.  Your blanket statements from your very narrow slice of Ohio (or wherever) where you pontificate about how ham is not useful for EMCOMM for the rest of the real world is short-sighted at best.  

Opinions are common, thoughts from a reasonable person are food for thought.   However, actual events clearly demonstrate that your most recent all-or-nothing / blanket statement that ham radio and ham radio operators can bring nothing to pubic service which is not already there is not really supportable.  You clearly know that hams around the globe routinely serve when the standard communications service sector employees and their appliances (good or bad) are overwhelmed and/or prove to be insufficient for the needs & etc.  This happens regularly in hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and more around the world for both governments and major NGOs. Hams assist and oftimes are the ONLY information source into and out of ravaged regions until government and NGO resources can be mobilized, inserted and activated in the troubled areas. Their (govt & NGO) deployments are often initially coordinated with ham radio operators in the region of the disturbance. As you know, the more widespread the damage, the longer that any governmental asistance will require to help anyone. // Thus reinforcing my experience that politicians are generally slow to serve, but quick to steal.  ;^)  //

Those of us who do help are growing weary of hearing those who won't even try, telling us that we can't.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._




Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on April 12, 2013, 04:32:15 AM
This may be a global forum, Ray, but better than 90 percent of the posts are by hams in the US.  Ham radio can indeed bring something to the table in area that are not over-served by modern communications systems, and that DOES include some areas in the good 'ol US of A.

I agree that, no matter where there is always something that can be 'brought to the table' by hams, whether it be because of a comm blackout (as happened in NYC on 9-11) or not.  For example, there is always--ALWAYS--health and welfare messages to be passed in most emergency situations.  I know that I'm just agreeing with you so far, but.....

I believe that the REAL reason that there is so much squabbling about ham radio being included is that some hams want to be included in the official chain of communications whether or not there is a need for them to be so included!  Most of the time when ham radio is the only means of comms, the involvement of hams is to get the equipment into place where it is needed to get the official communications lines open again and to substitute for it until the official lines are once again going.  Most of the longer time hams who have done public service realize this, and are saying that that is where ham radio involvement for official traffic should end--and they are right!  The squabbling comes into play when those who believe what I've just related start butting heads with those who believe that ham involvement should continue until the emergency is declared over and done with.  It's too bad that the reworked regs (that include interoperability) seem to agree with them.

The way I see it, THAT is the crux of the matter and the only point of contention between the two groups.  The way that the reworked communications regulations with ham radio being included (the interoperability ideas) is being interpreted is the one and only cause of the squabbling.  The regs were purposefully left vague because the people who wrote them did not really know what they were trying to say or do.  Those people have probably never picked up a mike or passed a message in any form in their lives.  I believe that if those regs were to be tightened up and the exact role of ham radio were to be specified, the arguments and the infighting would gradually disappear, since then we would then know exactly what was expected of us, and the regs would plainly state where we should not try to stick our noses in.  73!



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on April 12, 2013, 09:16:08 AM
CJS - That was well stated.

I'll keep this brief (rather than my USUAL manner - ha ha)

As you pointed out, the matter of whether or not what hams can do is needful, is absolutely the key point.  If we are not needed, then let's keep out of the way. 

If we are needed, but the bureaucrats will not admit or simply don't know it, that's a bit more difficult, but we hams cannot win a political decision like that. We'd better get used to that fact and either work through an NGO's or local neighbors . We have no 'throw weight' in political decisions.

I am fortunate to live in an area that is not badge heavy; the county and NGO's are pleased to have communications volunteers in place BEFORE needed. 

I appreciated your thoughtful post.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 19, 2013, 05:02:11 PM
Well, you bring up something that isn't been addressed, and is probably the most complex part of EmComm for hams.  That being the served agencies actually asking for assistance.  That is something that is going to be difficult if not impossible to address for one reason, Unions.  I have seen this first hand while involved in CERT.  The CERT director was an ex-firefighter.  She clearly stated that at no time would the CERT group preform ANY function that would cut into a union members duties.  Meaning that the served agencies would need to have all their staff involved in an incident before we would become involved to not cut into their overtime pay.  Now that being said, you can believe that as the safety planners and communications directors sit around the table creating disaster preparedness plans they are fully aware that the union will come down hard if they bring in ANY non-union, let alone non-paid personnel cutting public employee union members out of their overtime.  They will pay overtime to an employee to drive from fire station to fire station to pass messages and information before  they allow ham operators to man the fire stations to pass traffic on non-public safety channels and do so without being paid.  Of course we can't as hams EVER be paid, compensated or even given a free lunch legally.

 Disaster plans are public knowledge for the most part, for the minute that volunteer radio operator gets into any of them, where less qualified public employee could be paid overtime to fill that spot, it will hit the fan.  And as union employees, they have every right to demand those assignments.  Sure, the Red Cross needs the hams from time to time.  But if anyone ever bothered to look at the national FCC licenses for the Red Cross, and other public safety interoperability assignments, you would find that it's all covered at a national level and the only thing they need to do is program their radios and they will have communications during a system blackout.  Red Cross has about as  many licensed frequencies as the military.  And they literally have warehouses full of radios to operate on those frequencies.  You have to remember that a FCC commercial license is different in that who ever the license holder is has the right to authorize any person to operate on those frequencies.  We can't do that.  So the Red Cross could establish a shelter, ask for a volunteer to operate the radios, set them down, and have them talk.  It's just that simple.  No need to set there and for them to be babysit by a control operator that is the license holder as with ham radio. 

My take is that we need to redefine ARES.  I will say that the local ARES groups do some public service stuff, and do a bang up job.  Bike races, large venue events, Sporting events and more.  I would personally like to see more of that and less of the light bar crowd with the go bags.  It's a more reasonable set of expectations.  It's easier to prepare for.  And it shines a better light on the amateur radio community than Joe Wacker with his lettered up Crown Vic and light show. 
 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on April 20, 2013, 11:01:03 AM
You may well have a point, Keith.  In a non-disaster situation, you may well be right.  But when a disaster situation unfolds, the thought of unions standing in the way of expedited communications is somewhat absurd.  Expedited communication may well save the lives--or the livelihoods--of those same union members.  The union official who may raise such a point would be taken care of in short order--by the union members.  After all, what is more important, collecting a little more pay--or being able to collect pay at all?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 20, 2013, 09:11:27 PM
What I am getting at is ham radio even showing up in a disaster plan.  I realize that a disaster plan is more of a guideline than a carved in stone set of rules of how things are to go. With differing situations come differing needs.  But if ham radio can meet those needs, yet the planners haven't created the inclusion of ham radio in the plan, there will be no radio in the plan. 

More than that, while a plan is a guideline in an actual disaster, training is something different.  Training goes specifically by the plan, to the letter.  If the plan is broken, they realize it during the training and fix the plan.  Does ham radio enter into the plan at that point.  It really depends.  If they brought in hams to assist and the planners find the assistance helpful and it fills a need, then yes.  If the lightbar crowd shows up strapped down like Poncho Via with HT radios demanding they take over all communications of some other silliness, then they ain't gonna end up in the plan.  The planners will address the training shortcomings in other ways.  It may require money, it might be as simple as the radio service person does some programming.

We all are aware of the tragic events in West, Texas.  A friend of mine who is a fire chief out there had experience with the different responding department using the FEMA VHF and UHF dedicated TAC channels.  Interoperability was achieved and things went well because all the departments had their radios programmed to those simplex channels and operations were directed to those channels. 

So, while I see what you are saying about the union thing vs the actual disaster situation. You are right in your point that in a real situation, the union thing does go by the wayside.  But, if Incident Command has no idea that he can even enlist the assistance of ham operators, or how to get them to assist, then they will still be left out.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on April 21, 2013, 08:10:23 AM
I have said it before.  Ham radio is just a hobby, nothing more.  And those of you who try to make more of it with your whacker mentality pull the rest of us legit hobbyists down. ARES/Skywarn or whatever name you give yourselves can easily be replaced by a Boy Scout group with WalMart walkie talkies.
Zero tolerance for you whackers in my neck of the woods :)

GOD Bless
Bart


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on April 21, 2013, 11:45:04 AM
It's too bad, 'GTP, that more people can't remember that ham radio IS a hobby.  But I have to disagree with your other premise.  Weather spotters do do some good, and usually they are only out and reporting during severe weather.  If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have--in some cases--advance warning of potentially destructive weather in some areas.  Of course, orange vests, flashing lights and vehicles that look like porcupines lend NO credibility at all to our activities, and I agree with you there about the 'whacker' mentality.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on April 21, 2013, 12:26:43 PM
This is a great discussion. I've learned much from K8VUL's postings as well as K1CJS and the others.  Because the ideas here are often different & the concerns  which some hams / pros have had direct contact with in their regions seem almost 'foreign' here in my rural location, that makes it very good food for thought. While we in this discussion may disagree with each other's conclusions, the discussion itself is very good. Our volunteer communications team here enjoys a very close relationship with county emergency services, so VUL's posting about the union angle / volunteers -v- union wage never (and I mean NEVER) entered my mind. I am SO glad that we don't have that problem. That must be a very tough impediment to planning.

OTOH - I'm grateful that I've never seen those wanna-be guys with light bars and tactical vests, spare batteries in magazine pouches and maybe some face paint.   ;D   ( I take that back - I once saw a 19 year old in Colorado during Y2K, who had "ARES" magnetic signs and orange lights on his mother's car... :^)  but that was only one young zealot in 13 years.

Seriously:  Are you fellows out there seeing many hams like this?  //Maybe a new topic can be generated "Whacker Sightings"  ??     :o



73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

 

GTP DE ASA

BT

You're probably just a lonely guy looking for attention.  OK - you had it.
 
Words mean things.  Most people believe that if they can genuinely help someone in a disaster, that they should.  Evidently, so does the FCC, though they do not force us to do so.   They call it: Part 97 - The Amateur Radio Service .  Just because we enjoy it, does not mean that it's not a powerful tool when used properly.

BT
AR SK  


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on April 21, 2013, 04:34:15 PM
There is a site for reporting whacker sightings, www.hamsexy.com.  These guys have dedicated their lives to the tracking and reporting of you whackers.  Check out their site, you might even see a pic of yourself or your emergency response vehicle parked at your local WalMart :)

GB
Bart


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on April 21, 2013, 05:25:40 PM
Oh man!  It sounds like an RF version of "The People of WalMart". Evidently, I'm just fortunate in not having to deal with that sort of thing.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on April 29, 2013, 08:24:08 PM
Well, I probably should have posted my last comment in here but here's a link.

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,88933.0.html

If people would back up and really look at the point of it, as far as volunteer fire depts using ham radio (which none are of course).  I think that you might see what I am getting at or at least the basis for my opinion on the whole thing.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AK4YH on May 02, 2013, 10:43:56 AM
Emergency communications is also not just about helping government agencies. It's about getting information on the situation and potentially helping others outside of the official channels. I can't go to a police officer and have him relay a message to my relatives telling them that tornado that just went through did not kill me. He has other things to do.. Do I trust the media to update me on a developing situation coming my way? I don't think so... My friends know I can get messages out no matter what, that's emergency radio.

A note about CW for emergencies: My whole HF station fits in one cargo pant pocket. That includes the radio, antenna, key, battery, earphones, notepad and pen. No digital or voice radio can do that, period. My 2m HT is actually heavier! Most emergencies, you'll be operating in a cozy temperature controlled environment.. Then you can have all your toys around and a big generator to power it all. The day you have to carry the stuff on foot, you'll be happy to have a small CW rig..

In some parts of the world, there are no local agencies to help or communicate with... Actually, even in the U.S. some remote areas are pretty isolated. The tools and methods then are different.

IMHO, the worst the emergency, the more Ham radio can help... In small events, it could even be a hindrance, or at least ineffective. As the seriousness of a situation increases, Ham radio becomes more useful, not only to officials, but more importantly, directly to the community. The main problem I see in emergency communications with Ham radio is that most of that fancy equipment will probably stop working before it would be direly needed, when the generators run out of gas or the batteries run out, or God forbid, if either need to relocated via human power. I am not sure enough emphasis is placed on portability and field operations. Field day? Yeah, nice effort, but, really..? A large number of Ham operators are not even in good enough shape to do little more than sit..

The last storm we had around here, the local 2m repeater was bustling with activity and regular weather reports, I mean, every five minutes! It made me chuckle.. I applaud the guys who spot tornadoes, that is a great service to the community (here a good example of when Ham radio is very useful), but unless there is a tornado, or a storm even worth mentioning, there is no need to get into emergency mode! Not to mention the local nets asking anyone if they have emergency traffic... As if they don't own a phone. And by the way, if I have an emergency, I'm not going to wait for the evening net to call it in on 2m!

Official relief agencies are now mostly well equipped. Except for rural areas, they don't need Ham radio for manageable situations. The Ham radio motto is "When Everything Else Fails." but it seems to me that's not what people are preparing for...

Gil.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D 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?


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA 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.    ;)


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



>de Ray




Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: AK4YH 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D 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   :o :o   

>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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KO3D 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W9FIB 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!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS 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! 


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W9FIB 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!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 10, 2013, 05:16:31 AM
You ought to listen to your own advice.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W9FIB on May 10, 2013, 05:19:40 AM
So then should you!


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on May 10, 2013, 05:49:07 AM
Gotta luv you wackers going at each other :)

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 :)
God I luv this site ;D

GOD Bless


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W9FIB 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.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 10, 2013, 06:50:47 PM
I think the solution looking for a problem statement sums up what I have been saying. 

And I see why CERT / SAR groups go the ham route.  You place the burden of all expense for communications on the members individually.  Sure a 50 dollar radio and a 15 dollar license is WAY cheaper than a 300 plus dollar commercial radio. 

Now as far as the guy talking about how I would comment about him running around in a fire truck in turnout gear.  Totally different situation for a couple reasons.  First is that you are a trained firefighter.  Retired isn't relevant, trained on the other hand is.  ARES training consists of how do I talk on a radio.  Nothing to do with CPR, hazardous chemicals, properties of combustion, fire ground operations, or any number of other things.  It's JUST RADIO operation.  And then who's doing the training?  Trained public safety dispatchers?  FEMA communications directors?  Or just the guy with the most scanners that can mimic the police band comms better than the rest of the group?

Now, I can't seem to find it in this thread but someone commented they had a SAR group that had agreements with ham repeater owners for use of their machines.  I find the idea of relying on ham repeaters and their owners for any sort of SAR CERT public safety response stuff really troubling.  The government sets down lots of regulations for how public safety radio systems need to be installed.  generators, hours of fuel, access paths from dispatch (requires a minimum of two paths).  Now does every system meet all this, no.  But Hams have NO regulation.  Public safety radio licenses and commercial for that matter, require constant operation.  Meaning that you can't simply go turn it off for weeks at a time.  If it's broke, you  HAVE TO fix it or your license will be pulled.  With a ham repeater, that ain't the case.  If it's off the air, it's just not usable.  If there is an emergency that requires it, there is no requirement for them to even turn it on if they can.  It's a dangerous path to walk.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KF7CG on May 13, 2013, 11:15:10 AM
Move to the interior NorthWest and you will see that SAR groups teaming with the local Amateur population is a necessity. There is not the funds nor the manpower for the local paid and strictly SAR groups to afford or maintain the repeaters necessary. The local clubs provide and maintain repeaters with excellent coverage as a matter of enjoying the hobby and club pride.

Of course many SAR members are also Amateurs.

Now to some of the whacker comments. I guess that any Amateur in Tennessee that has Call Sign Plates is a whacker! All Amateur Callsign plates in Tennessee bear the legend EMERGENCY instead of the county of issuance. Therefore, Tennessee is home to a lot of whackers.

Most of the Skywarn folks, have callsign plates and multiple antennae on their vehicles. Do I live in whacker central? Or are some of the folks here just bitter and off base?

KF7CG


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on May 13, 2013, 11:54:07 AM
No, you are not off base.  If people are running around with the word ' emergency' on their license plates then they would qualify as a 'wacker'.  They are not emergency response vehicles as these license plates would lead some to believe. Please explain to me how passing a 35 question tech test makes you an emergency responder ?  I keep telling people that this is a hobby and no matter how many antenna or lights you put on your car and passing a 35 question test does not make you an emergency responder.  I was ashamed to have a 2m antenna on my car as I didn't want to be grouped in with you wackers so I removed it.  It's just a matter of time before this emergency crap comes to a head and drags the HOBBY down the drain. In the mean time I will continue to enjoy the antics of you wacker fellas.  As it has been said, this hobby has something for everyone :)

GOD Bless
Bart


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on May 13, 2013, 04:37:53 PM
K8GTP Says:  "  I was ashamed to have a 2m antenna on my car ..."    ::)

Give the entire car to charity.  How can you stand the shame of driving a car, when whackers also drive them?

-...-

Perhaps the well spoken point of KF7CG needs to be restated:

He said that the State of Tennessee had issued ham callsign plates with the word "EMERGENCY" in place of county.  It is not something which the ham put on the plate.  The request was made to the State office for vehicle registration for  callsign plates; a perfectly normal thing which many hams request. The State put the word EMERGENCY there. Perhaps you should protest to the State of Tennessee - assuming that you are willing to actually take personal action on anything. 

Creating a strawman argument of 'whackers' (I've seen one in over 40 years of ham) as grounds to avoid community service is silly.  You're illusory 'whackers' drive cars - so will you refuse to drive a car?  They probably had dental filing too -- shall you go to the garage, get out the Vice-Grip pliers and remove your fillings?  You choose.  All ham radio operators are under a body of regulations called: "Part 97 The Amateur Radio Service." I wonder why they have STILL not caught their mistake of calling it a 'service'? That fact that we can enjoy it as a hobby is a perk, which I am grateful for.  Additionally ham radio is also a powerful tool if needed, which it often is in many parts of the world.


de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on May 13, 2013, 04:42:17 PM
Ray,
As you defend the wacker we can only assume you are one. Please tell us how many flashing lights you have on your emergency response vehicle  ;)


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KB8VUL on May 13, 2013, 07:33:43 PM
Now I have to say that the situation with state issued license plates doesn't make you a wacker.  Having some sense of importance because it says that does.  And the people involved with lobbying the state to put EMERGENCY on ham plates were UBER Wackers.  There is no reason for it, and like the other guy said, passing a 35 question exam doesn't make you an EMT or police officer.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 14, 2013, 07:29:32 AM
...If people are running around with the word ' emergency' on their license plates then they would qualify as a 'wacker'.  They are not emergency response vehicles as these license plates would lead some to believe....

First, no they are not whackers.  The state deems it necessary to put that word there.  Perhaps it's simply there to alert state officials (LEOs) that there could be 'emergency' communication equipment in the vehicle--or that the occupant could be knowledgeable as far as radio communications are concerned.  Personally, I think it's a mistake, but the state of Tennessee does not.  Anyway, who are you to say?

There are many states that have distinctive plate designs for amateur radio operators if those people should desire to have them on their vehicle.  In Massachusetts, it's a 'lightning bolt' separator. (in the middle of the call sign)  We used to have the words "Amateur Radio" on the plate, but those words have been eliminated for years now.

Finally, no, amateur radio operators are not first responders--but there are some first responders who are also amateur radio operators.  It would be to your advantage to be mighty careful who you spout off to, because some of those first responders also have emergency equipment in their cars--including ham radios--and if you went and accused them of being of the 'whacker' mentality, you may well find yourself on the receiving end of some mighty unpleasant experiences.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 14, 2013, 07:34:37 AM
Gotta luv you wackers going at each other :)

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....

You first.  Some of the responders on this thread are of the opinion that if someone is simply defending selected ideas, they're whackers.  Well, in my vehicle, I have a 2 meter rig and a scanner.  NOTHING MORE.  And before you assume anything, the scanner is there for reasons other than going to see what's going on--otherwise what used to be known as ambulance chasing. 

Do yourselves a favor and don't assume you know everything because of your prejudices.  You come off both sounding and being worse than the whackers you speak of.



Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on May 14, 2013, 10:28:46 AM
Finally, no, amateur radio operators are not first responders--but there are some first responders who are also amateur radio operators.  It would be to your advantage to be mighty careful who you spout off to, because some of those first responders also have emergency equipment in their cars--including ham radios--and if you went and accused them of being of the 'whacker' mentality, you may well find yourself on the receiving end of some mighty unpleasant experiences.

Wow, a wacker makes a threat :)  Tell you what wacker, bring it on.  Blind me with you strobe lights or orange vest.
What a joke you wackers are :o


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: K1CJS on May 14, 2013, 12:19:06 PM
Wow, a wacker makes a threat :)  Tell you what wacker, bring it on.  Blind me with you strobe lights or orange vest.
What a joke you wackers are :o

Well, at least I have one advantage.  I'm not a complete idiot--as you seem to be.  Seems as though I was right.  You're so prejudiced that you can't see straight--or read anything correctly.  Or even quote a piece correctly for that matter.


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: KD8GTP on May 14, 2013, 12:39:23 PM
Seems like I shook the bush and stirred me up a real to life wacker. Come on, tell us a little about your emergency response vehicle, you have a light bar or are you an undercover wacker with the strobes behind the grill?  I really want to learn more about a true American wacker such as yourself :). I will await your response and hopefully a few pics of you sporting your orange vest standing beside your " unit" .

GOD Bless the wackers


Title: RE: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM
Post by: W7ASA on May 14, 2013, 09:27:49 PM
KD8GTP blethered: "As you defend the wacker we can only assume you are one."[/b]

Hmmmm, not much for rational thought - are you?   Practice: you'll eventually get the hang of it.

There ARE widely differing views here and though the participants in most of this discussion use humor at times or hyperbole, in general their points are well presented & defended.  It's OK to disagree, in fact it's great fuel for thought and personal growth. We can't help but notice that you've not even attempted to answer or introduce any factual aspects for this discussion: not a single one.  You add nothing, yet spew tripe. What an abysmal waste of life. What your poor wife must have to endure can only be imagined.

de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._