- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

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

[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:

from on January 22, 2010
View comments about this article!

Local Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:

See the full story here:


Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by K5LXP on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"The time will come when we will be called on to pass health and welfare messages to and from loved ones here. Until then, we will be on the air and listening,” Simpson said. “We will stand down after phones and other forms of communications are restored."

Ummm...guys? Stick a fork in it, it's over.

CNN already reported earlier that 80% of cell sites there are back in service. The military and various aid agencies have been there over a week, and more are showing up every day.

Ham radio's moment of glory was in the minutes immediately following the quake. That window of opportunity is long gone. Hard to imagine, but ham radio did not contribute much, if anything, to aid in this disaster and I suspect that's not going to change much going forward.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by N7WR on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Monitoring as described is a "make work" activity with little real purpose other than to generate publicity. Sorry but have to agree with the previous poster. "When all else fails" didn't apply to this disaster for very long and likely will apply less and less in the future.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by N0VF on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I have to disagree with the previous posts. While the chances are slim due to the areas lack of resources, the very idea of "just in case" suggests the need. Even if it is only one person with just a few watts in the area, that person's transmission may be all that they have at the moment. Remember that a crisis doesn't have to be a large event. It could be on a smaller scale but significant to the individual in need. I applaud the efforts.
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by K5EST on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K5LXP is sure correct. The narrow window that
Ham Radio is useful to the disaster game is
in the beginning, prior to the commercial
communications being re-established.

That narrow window is what IMHO we Hams
should be the indisputable best of the

73....Walter - K5EST
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by K5LXP on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Curious to know- in a country where most citizens barely have enough to subsist, how many would have an adequately equipped "go-kit" with a portable HF station?

Of those few that may, including visitors or foreigners that may have these facilities and were present when the quake hit, what incentive do they have to actually use it?

To wit: It can be safely assumed that when an entire country suffers a widespread disaster, no matter where you are, you're "in" it. Getting on the air and stating your location, situation and condition won't be a revelation to anyone outside the area.

And, just because one may have the ability to relay a location and condition (via any means), doesn't somehow give them priority over the *millions* of others in the same boat.

So, let's say a Hatian citizen, visiting missionary or aid worker were to get on 20M, check into a net and relay that his village or group needs water, food and medical help ASAP. What did we learn here we didn't already know? The whole bloody place is broken. Take a number, pal. Let's say you're the one to copy that traffic. Who do you give it to? The US Army? Air Force? Red Cross? Yeah, they'll get right on it.

Consider that within hours, news networks were there interviewing victims and we could watch it all unfold in HD in our livingrooms. If a live HD feed didn't work, how would ham radio convey those needs any better or faster?

I suspect any ham there who survived the quake is more concerned about sourcing water, food and medical care than getting on HF. It's not like getting on the radio will make that process any easier or faster.

Health and welfare? In this instance, 1 out of 3 people has a cell phone there. 80%+ cell service is restored. Find someone with a phone and call your relatives directly. There probably isn't, and never was cell service in remote areas, but in that case ham radio won't help there either. You can't put enough ham stations per square mile in there to make a difference. And what would that accomplish anyway? "I'm OK, send water/food/doctors". See above.

It's no different anyplace something like this would happen, including the U.S. I don't care if you send an army of hams into that mess, it's not going to change anything. The ones that have the facilities to effect any change in that reality are already there, and are doing it. Why would you *waste* resources sending hams in, when those same resources could be used to deploy commercial facilities with greater capabilities and usefulness? Put in a ham and relay potentially hundreds of messages a day. Put in a cell site with a satellite uplink and relay thousands of messages in minutes. Just like in the minutes following the intitial quake.

This is not a new situation for Haiti. They've gone through some pretty tough weather disasters in the past, and ham radio was equally useless then too. Sadly, when you're a third world country and you destroy everything in it, for most people things don't change a whole lot. You're not going to show up with HT's and solar panels and suddenly transform a plywood hut village into condo's, and restore an economy for people that had to scavenge for food *before* the earthquake.

So I guess the upshot of this is, if one had unlimited amateur radio resources, just what could you do with that in this situation? What value does ham radio add if that same level of resources were applied as commercial services?

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by KD4LLA on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I agree, Mark.

Since 911 the police/fire/EMS folks have completely upgraded communications. Soon my county will be using P25 digital trunking. There will be numerous backup sites w/on-site power generation. Many, many cell sites in the US have generator backup. Plus the utilities have cell sites/towers on wheels.

It is not that I don't want to play, but the rules have changed, and been updated faster than I can adapt. At most, as a ham radio op, I might get to send out a call (on HF), in the first few moments after a natural event.

RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by W5AOX on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
And what a wonderful photograph accompanied this article.
The only uglier mug-shot they could have possibly put in that article would be MINE, and I'm not a member of DARA.
Monitoring the Haiti frequencies and all is fine, but to act like it's accomplishing anything useful (other than giving a group of hams something to do) is a bit much.
All this whizzing about the lack of hams in Haiti...
"Lack of hams" is the LEAST of Haiti's worries. As noted many times already, this country lives in largely self inflicted misery and has precious little in the way of clean water, decent food, and law or government of any effectiveness. Hard to get too interested in ham radio when you're hungry, thirsty, and watching your back all the time.
Even our aircraft carriers and soldiers acting as rescuers are having precious little effect there, with the lack of roads, airport functionality, etc, preventing these HUGE relief operations from performing anything but minimal service.
Even in an idealized sense I fail to see how Ham Radio could make much of a difference here.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by ZR6AUU on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Sure in this instance, ham radio could not contribute much, as the average Haiti, could less but a penlight battery never mind a HF rig.

Well at lease a contact was made, though a ham expedition certainly not needed.

But never-the-less The ham radio frequencies and equipment will always be good for a central means for all the agency's both civil and military to communicate on a central platform, if we had a disaster of a much bigger scale like around the world, all of these systems dependent on computers and switching and encrypted systems will fail.

And robo-cop can call as much as he wants on his digital encrypted radio nobodys going to hear him when everyone has scattered to the woods and skyscrapers lying in ruins.
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by K3YDX on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Not much to be said that has not already been said.
I would be interested in knowing, collectively, how many "significant" or "worthwhile" items of traffic were handled by hams monitoring the assigned frequency "nets".
For those who sat around and monitored or acted as net control operators, it at least kept them out of the bars and perhaps gave them a sense of accomplishment and perhaps satisfaction knowing they kept a frequency clear; but for what?
I tend to fear this growing focus of ECOMM dependency within amateur radio. Looking at it from another angle however I guess it does increase our numbers. That focus and the reduction in licencing requirements may well preserve, through numbers, the Amateur Radio I enjoy.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by N7WR on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
There is an effort to "grow" Emcomm but in many places it won't grow. In fact it's in its last stages of existance. The main role of Emcomm will revert back to what it was in the beginning--handling H & W traffic. But in countries like Haiti that won't happen because the indiginous people (who would be the ones that would have to do it based upon language)do not count a lot of hams in their population...and the few hams that are there are victims themselves and thus unavailable.

I note from the ARRL website that they shipped some radios to the Dominican Republic Radio Club. Having been shot at during their first attempt to help in Haiti I'm not real sure many DR hams will go back with or without the ARRL's equipment.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by N0SOY on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I was tuning on all of the bands and I heard nothing about Haiti on the ham bands. I did hear how big the waitresses B#### were at the truck stop on 10 meter.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by EIRIKR1 on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
:>Since 911 the police/fire/EMS folks have completely upgraded communications. Soon my county will be using P25 digital trunking. There will be numerous backup sites w/on-site power generation. Many, many cell sites in the US have generator backup. Plus the utilities have cell sites/towers on wheels.

They upgraded after 9-11 and then had the same problems with being able to communicate with each other in Katrina. After the millions they spent to upgrade it after Katrina, the upgrade failed again in the first big incident it was used.

Cell sites with power backup will invariably have that backup for only a few hours. The "central ring" went down in Katrina and there was no cell service for weeks, and spotty service for weeks after it did come back. (Though texting worked throughout as soon as the cell towers got power....)
Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by W6SAT on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Its amazing that within minutes of this article posting the nay sayers showed up posting their "can't do" attitude and bashing Ham Radio. These are the types that shown up at club meetings with a long list of problems and no solutions.

Gentlemen, we must always be ready to help out. We can't ever look at a disaster and think the next one will be the same. We should always embrace innovation and new ideas. Those that bring disparagement should be encouraged to either jump in and lend a hand or free up their callsign for somebody else.

Ted Petrina
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by KC4IWI on January 23, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Ted (W6SAT) said it best. Whether or not Hams made a difference we need to be ready just in case. Isn't that how disaster training / planning should be conducted. If you are among the naysayers that took the time to provide the aforementioned bashing comments ... go back to contesting and let those who want to serve continue.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by QRZDXR2 on January 23, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The show is over... till the next event...

All that is left is the so called orginizations with their hand out for your MONEY. (all these christans helping some other off shore event while ignoring their own back yard at home)

I still am burned about the Red Cross and 9-11 where we gave to help the people out in NYC...and the red cross did what?? took the money and into a bank account in france. (only about a dime on the dollar made it to NYC people) They responded by saying, and I still remember this phrase, "you gave us the money. Its ours now to do with as WE SEE FIT.." So long red cross.

Remember all the crap that was going on. Only the Salvation army was really helping out while the RC was having a good time sight seeing, jet'n around and buying Big Mac hambergers for the FD/ES people.

Same with haiti. I refuse to give money. I liked when the hollywood stars all put on a SHOW to raise money. But, did any of them donate a buck? NO!! Instead they all used the show for a TAX WRITE OFF and personal gain.

Remember this when it comes tax time.
RE: Radio Team Locked in on Haiti:  
by W9AC on January 26, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Amateur radio can only respond to the extent that amateurs and the local government in the affected country are prepared to respond.

Clearly, many North American operators were prepared and trained to offer assistance -- and to liaise with U.S. Governmental authorities. However, if the local amateur radio population is not prepared and if the local government will not contribute anything to communications preparedness, then why should we expect an immediate contribution and impact from the service?

We can debate all day long about the level of poverty that exists in Haiti and how it costs money to be prepared. But that's a politician’s response. The reality is that the cost associated with training and HF equipment acquisition to make a difference in a relief effort in minimal.

Sorry, but I don't see failure on the part of those willing to respond -- only on the Haitian Government for not taking the responsibility and accountability for providing a minimal level of preparedness for foreseeable natural disasters of any type, whether its an earthquake, Hurricane or any other large-scale event.
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other News Articles
Get On the SCV Amateur Radio Club's Wavelength:
Ham Operators Prep with Disaster Drill at Rangerville Park:
Police Inspector Raising Tripura's Ham Radio Team for Disaster Emergencies:
Amateur Radio Day -- QTH is Bear Mountain:
Mike Parker: KN4RAM Crackles to Life Aboard Neuse II: