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Author Topic: ECOM and EchoLink  (Read 2281 times)
KC5FM
Member

Posts: 39


WWW

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« on: April 21, 2004, 01:30:05 AM »

There is a growing interest in Emergency Communications on Echolink.

*WX_TALK*  Skywarn & NHC Nets Node   7203
*EMCOMM*   EMComm Conf.       Node   2868
*ARES*     EmergencyPreparedne Node  128518

Are just a few offering Regional communications networking.

There has been discussion about using the channelized 60 meter frequencies to link deployed HF radios to their dispatch centers when conditions are poor.

This writer has listened to Skywarn nets on Echolink.

Is anyone using Echolink for their networking needs on VHF, UHF, or HF?

Lloyd Colston, KC5FM
http://ld.net/?kc5fm
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WA4MJF
Member

Posts: 1003




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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2004, 01:00:19 PM »

Well, I guess the question I would
ask is:

What are the back up power provisions
for the sytem when the power fails
during, hurricane, tornado, ice
storm or whatever?  

I guess as long as the site has back up
power, it could work.

As far as remote control of a radio from
another site, I prefer a good copper
pair with either dc or tone control.
Second choice would be a UHF link.

I don't know a lot about this stuff.
What would be the advantage of
echolink control over a distant radio
as compared to the two methods in the
paragragh above?

73 de Ronnie
OBS/OES Area 7 NC ARES/RACES
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K2GW
Member

Posts: 535


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2004, 03:08:06 PM »

Echolink has the potential to be another tool in our arsenal of providing back-up communications in an emergency.   After all, virtually all emergencies are “local”, and national ones are just collections of local ones.  Even 9/11 had internet congestion and communications outages mostly in the Northeast, so the ability to link repeaters via the internet might be useful in some emergencies, such as when just phones are out, but internet service is still available.
 
ARRL is concurrently studying ways for Amateur Radio to provide internet e-mail services for served agencies in an affected area, so thinking outside the traditional box of formal and tactical traffic is definitely important.  But that doesn’t mean we can totally throw away our message forms.

 But anyone planning to solely use Echolink or any other one tool needs to rethink it.  Flexibility is the key in a communications emergency.

73

Gary, K2GW
SNJ SEC
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WA4MJF
Member

Posts: 1003




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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2004, 06:30:26 PM »

Thanks, Gary.

Our repeater system here in NC,
called PCRN, uses UHF radio links
to tie the system together.

73 de Ronnie
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AE5ME
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2004, 12:06:28 AM »

Answering some of your questions regarding Echolink:


1) What are the back up power provisions
for the sytem when the power fails
during, hurricane, tornado, ice
storm or whatever?

A) Same as for any repeater.  Keep in mind that most (but not all) disasters cover an area of 1-30 miles.  As long as the repeater/link is outside of the damage area, chances are the power and internet will still be up and available.  The one exception I can think of would be a hurricane with a webspread landfall that might take out services for a larger area.

2) What would be the advantage of
echolink control over a distant radio
as compared to the two methods in the
paragragh above?

A) Traditional traffic handling during a disaster is as follows.  A local unit contacts their net control on VHF/UHF.  The net control passes the traffic to the HF station in the EOC.  The HF station passes the traffic to a net control on HF.  The net control passes the traffic to the final station on HF (state EM office, etc.)  While it works, there is certainly opportunities for loss in information and it can take several minutes for the messages to travel back and forth.  Definitely not a "conversational" type interaction for field units.  Pretty much store and forward network.

In contrast, Echolink provides the capability for the link to be directly from the state EM office (even if its several hundred miles away) to the field unit.  Now there is potential for real time interaction.

The system also can be brought up on a moment's notice with DTMF control.  For example, a field unit can enter a five digit code to the link or repeater nearest to the station they are trying to contact.  Once the connection is established, they can immediately start talking.  Once they are finished, they can take the repeater out of the link mode and revert back to local comms.

While Echolink is not a cure-all, I think we'll find it an important tool for future disaster comms.  The important part will be making sure the communications are organized based upon the strengths/weaknesses of the technology.  Like any tool, if it's misused, it will become more of headache that a help!

--Jeff AE5ME
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K1RFD
Member

Posts: 29


WWW

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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2004, 11:17:25 AM »

I think Jeff states it pretty well; the main points as I see it are:

1) Internet linking is just another tool in the toolbox;

2) Internet links can be established on an ad-hoc basis at a moment's notice, to match the communication needs of the particular situation (which is often quite fluid);  and

3) A lot of ECOM activity takes place outside of the affected area.

I've been trying to encourage the local ARES groups to include EchoLink/IRLP hookups in their monthly nets from time to time, and also in the SET, to help them become comfortable with it and better understand its characteristics, capabilities, and limitations.  So far I think this has been successful.
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KC5SAS
Member

Posts: 99




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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2004, 04:59:28 PM »

Is anyone using Echolink for their networking needs on VHF, UHF, or HF?
---------------------------
 Two local Ham clubs have Echolink on their VHF repeaters, the Radio Amateur Service club on it's 145.49 machine and the Baton Rouge OMIK club on its' 145.45 repeater. They could, conceivably be used for EMCOMM. SouthEast Louisiana REACT has a 440 Ham repeater in Baton Rouge with IRLP which would be linked with NWS during hurricanes or other simular situations.
Steve, KC5SAS
SouthEast Louisiana REACT
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