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Author Topic: Using digital modes in ARES  (Read 15429 times)
W2DAB
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Posts: 81


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« on: November 13, 2015, 06:41:53 AM »

Greetings to my fellow ARES members!

I have an interest in promoting the use of digital modes such as FLDigi or even Packet in ARES to transfer lists for served agencies during exercises. Requests such as supplies, and other logistical needs that are lengthy but not necessarily sensitive.

My question to the group is, what is being done out there with other groups? 

Thanks in advance for you input, I appreciate the collective wisdom of the group.

73
Dave
W2DAB
"Operating from the island of Manhattan"
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 17360




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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 09:04:11 AM »

The Oregon ARES Digital Network (OADN) is a state-wide HF/VHF system designed to provide
a continuity of communications among all the counties in the case of disasters.  Equipment is
supplied to each county by the state, and operated by local ARES/RACES groups.  (Well, mostly.
A few counties aren't yet covered, usually due to a lack of hams.)

It is a Winlink system with standard templates set up for different types of messages.  The
system is now the primary method for communications to the state Office of Emergency
Management for drills and exercises.  By using HF in addition to VHF it allows operation via
distant nodes outside a disaster area, and provides communications for hundreds of miles
across Oregon, even to portable or temporary stations.

That's not to say it is a perfect system, and we are still working on optimizing things.  (Some
problems include RF noise on receive and optimum antennas on County buildings.)

But it is an example of what is being done.
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KU7PDX
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 02:23:01 PM »

I'll add to what Dale said above which is that Winlink/RMS Express is also used within the county as well to communicate with various served agencies.

I imagine that depending on the county and state communication needs, ARES will primarily be used for lower priority logistical needs and health/welfare traffic unless the primary county and state communication systems go down. RMS Express has worked out very well for transferring lists of information.

Also, in the last 6 months or so, our ARES organization has started to experiment with using SSTV via Android and iPhone apps through a mobile radio. Some transmissions have been more successful than others, but definitely show promise long-term for providing additional information to emergency responders.
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73,
Chris - KU7PDX
NA4IT
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2015, 09:51:30 AM »

Do a Google search for "NBEMS". Lots of info, and it is well vetted.
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KD8KCH
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2015, 05:29:02 PM »

   We have been using Fldigi with Flmsg for a couple of years now. For county wide we use MT63-2K on 2M FM simplex, to communicate with state EOC Olivia 8-500.
   On MT63-2K you don't even need an interface device just acousta couple.
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W2DAB
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 06:13:12 PM »

KD8KCH, could you expand on how you operate without any interface?

Do you literally hold up you HT to the computer speaker to transmit...?

Thanks for talking a bit more about this.

I've found an "Easy Digi" interface on eBay for a pretty modest price but we have lots of ARES operators with different HT's, so it might be quite an undertaking to address ALL configurations of interfacing the radio to the PC.

73
Dave
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N9AOP
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Posts: 747




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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2015, 09:36:08 AM »

Acoustic coupling works fine in a quiet room when you are sitting by your self but in the field or in a crowd it is a real pain. 
Art
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AA4PB
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Posts: 14423




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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2015, 01:01:28 PM »

Acoustic coupling can also be illegal if it is picking up room noise like people talking, etc. It would be considered operating a voice mode in the data/cw sub-band and it would be considered poor operating practice.

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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
KD8KCH
Member

Posts: 39




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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2015, 08:05:32 PM »

KD8KCH, could you expand on how you operate without any interface?

Do you literally hold up you HT to the computer speaker to transmit...?

Thanks for talking a bit more about this.

I've found an "Easy Digi" interface on eBay for a pretty modest price but we have lots of ARES operators with different HT's, so it might be quite an undertaking to address ALL configurations of interfacn r the radio to the PC.

73
Dave

Yes that is the way it is done. We even had one on receive sitting on the tailgate 300 yards from a rail road crossing with the train sounding horn at the crossing, full compleat decode, no errors.
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KC3RN
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2015, 04:22:32 AM »

   We have been using Fldigi with Flmsg for a couple of years now. For county wide we use MT63-2K on 2M FM simplex, to communicate with state EOC Olivia 8-500.
   On MT63-2K you don't even need an interface device just acousta couple.

That's what our group does, except we use our inked repeater system, which covers a 5 county area.

We actually encourage hams to participate using acoustic coupling. The reason being we want to have as many people prepared for an emergency as possible.  Many more hams have access to a laptop/tablet and an HT than have the laptop, HT and interface.  In fact, my emergency "go kit" consists of a small tablet and a small HT.  That's it.  And it works 100%.

To W2DAB, yes, you hold your HT up to the speaker in your computer/laptop/tablet, push the PTT (if you're note running VOX) and hit "send".

Admittedly, working with acoustic coupling is not an ideal setup, but true emergencies are never ideal......  The important thing is to get the message through.  It doesn't matter so much how you do it.
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K4FMH
Member

Posts: 465




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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 06:29:07 PM »

Contact k1rez, SEC for Mississippi.

73 de k4fmh

Greetings to my fellow ARES members!

I have an interest in promoting the use of digital modes such as FLDigi or even Packet in ARES to transfer lists for served agencies during exercises. Requests such as supplies, and other logistical needs that are lengthy but not necessarily sensitive.

My question to the group is, what is being done out there with other groups? 

Thanks in advance for you input, I appreciate the collective wisdom of the group.

73
Dave
W2DAB
"Operating from the island of Manhattan"
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K7EXJ
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2016, 09:35:44 AM »

Acoustic coupling can also be illegal if it is picking up room noise like people talking, etc. It would be considered operating a voice mode in the data/cw sub-band and it would be considered poor operating practice.

Perhaps in a drill, but in a real emergency anything goes. You might get a query from the FCC but a simple explanation of the emergency and the reasons for utilizing the mode/frequency/etc is all that is needed.

I had just such a query but the sample of the transmissions (with my callsign) were part of the query and it was obvious from that there we were dealing with a life-or-death situation and I heard no more from the FCC after I responded.

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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
AA4PB
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Posts: 14423




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« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2016, 09:55:55 AM »

Acoustic coupling isn't so bad on FM because the transmission is still FM. I submit that one should never plan on using acoustic coupling with a SSB transmitter in the CW/Data sub-bands of the HF spectrum. Certainly in a life/death situation acoustic coupling could be permitted if that is the only means to get the message through. If you are planning ahead for emergency communications however, the go-kit should include a proper electrical interface.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K7EXJ
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2016, 08:13:21 AM »

Some ARES organizations are moving to JNOS which can have several advantages.

JNOS can be installed on a Raspberry Pi computer which can keep the cost for the entire TNC/Pi under $100 per node.

JNOS uses IP over AX25 but can interface directly with both the Internet and a local area network (LAN). By using actual IP addresses (ampr.org) an effective state-wide (county by county) network can be configured relatively quickly.

Hams can access JNOS by radio or Internet.

JNOS has a built-in email server.

JNOS uses IP routing making it relatively easy to configure multiple routes depending upon circumstances.

JNOS is open source.

Here is a link to an interesting .pdf showing how to set up JNOS on a Raspberry Pi with some detailed explanations including an IRC-Like chat system, email, etc. based on Michigan.

http://ares-mi.org/downloads/Packet/Configure_Personal_JNOS/Configure_Personal_JNOS--Raspberry_Pi-JNOS-en-US.pdf

Here is a link to the Santa Clara, CA ARES system which has moved to JNOS.

http://www.scc-ares-races.org/freqs/packet-freqs.html

Back in the very early 1990s I was a member of a NOS network that encompassed much of Puget Sound using 2m. I could telnet into my home near Everett, WA from a campground on San Juan Island and collect my email. Back then this was a pretty big deal as most hams had not been introduced to the Internet back then.

The IRC-like chat rooms can be set up as "channels" for different counties, for state-wide incidents, for fire-specific, etc.

Using the Raspberry Pi and a TNC "shield" makes this an inexpensive way to get mobile nodes.

I checked the domain name (wb8rcr.ampr.org) for the author of the .pdf linked above and it resolves to an address within the Class A subnet assigned to ampr.org (44.102.200.17); it also reverses with lookup of the IP address. But it doesn't connect or ping.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 07:17:34 PM by K7EXJ » Logged

73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
KB4QAA
Member

Posts: 3273




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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2016, 01:28:08 PM »

Acoustic coupling can also be illegal if it is picking up room noise like people talking, etc. It would be considered operating a voice mode in the data/cw sub-band and it would be considered poor operating practice.

Perhaps in a drill, but in a real emergency anything goes.
True, but "So what?".   Why not have a spark transmitter ready? Wink

"Good engineering and ham practice" should always be the foundation for operating.  Prepare the correct gear and use it.  All the time.
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