Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The ongoing push of Ham Radio to EMCOMM  (Read 92032 times)
W5TTW
Member

Posts: 42




Ignore
« Reply #120 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.  

Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #121 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.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 06:46:45 PM by LA9XSA » Logged
KB0OXD
Member

Posts: 47


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #122 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 Smiley

Cheers & 73 Grin
Logged

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO
WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | APRS TRACKER
KO3D
Member

Posts: 49




Ignore
« Reply #123 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.  


Logged
KO3D
Member

Posts: 49




Ignore
« Reply #124 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?
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6045




Ignore
« Reply #125 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.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 04:47:47 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KF7CG
Member

Posts: 840




Ignore
« Reply #126 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
Logged
W7ASA
Member

Posts: 255




Ignore
« Reply #127 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  ..._ ._

« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 04:13:30 AM by W7ASA » Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #128 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.
Logged
KS4VT
Member

Posts: 141




Ignore
« Reply #129 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.
Logged
KB8VUL
Member

Posts: 133




Ignore
« Reply #130 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.
Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #131 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.
Logged
KB8VUL
Member

Posts: 133




Ignore
« Reply #132 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. 
Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #133 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".
Logged
K1DA
Member

Posts: 513




Ignore
« Reply #134 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. 
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!