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Author Topic: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM  (Read 92049 times)
W7ASA
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Posts: 255




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« Reply #75 on: October 08, 2012, 11:28:01 AM »

So much heat, so little light -  Huh

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.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 12:01:53 PM by W7ASA » Logged
KI4SDY
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Posts: 1452




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« Reply #76 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.  Wink
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AJ3O
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #77 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.
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KA4NMA
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« Reply #78 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.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #79 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.
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W7ASA
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« Reply #80 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?   Cheesy


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._
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W1MSG
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Posts: 91


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« Reply #81 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.  Wink

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 !
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 12:05:51 AM by W1MSG » Logged
LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #82 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 Sad
So when you guys are being 'thanked' for your help just wonder how loud they are laughing at you when you leave Smiley
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 Sad
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.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #83 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.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 06:02:04 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KB8VUL
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #84 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.   
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KS4VT
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« Reply #85 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
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #86 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.   
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VE6BGM
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« Reply #87 on: January 12, 2013, 08:00:58 PM »

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, right or wrong.
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N5PZJ
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« Reply #88 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!   
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:07:42 PM by N5PZJ » Logged
LA9XSA
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« Reply #89 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. Grin
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