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Author Topic: SHARES Replaces Force of 50 in Puerto Rico  (Read 4894 times)
W6EM
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Posts: 1666




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« on: October 21, 2017, 08:43:14 PM »

Interesting.  ARRL's Letter of 10/19 says that the "Force of 50" (actually 22) has headed home to the mainland as they've been replaced by 10 paid Federal employees who happen to be amateurs.  I'm a tad puzzled.  SHARES is an HF network, coordinated by MARS members (or, it used to be) and MARS members aren't paid federal employees.  But, what do I know.....  Things may have changed.

So, all of the local coordination provided by ARRL's group, largely on VHF and UHF, will be replaced with less than half as many HF-only operators using government equipment on government frequencies?  Good luck.  While I guess the SHARES folks will use a STANAG protocol (and other than SCS Pactor modems to pass written traffic), it seems puzzling that if the needs still exist for regional assistance, another call was not put out for volunteers to rotate those who had been assigned there via the Red Cross instead of a sparse SHARES group.

From the jest of ARRL's writing, a great need still exists.  Not sure that 10 SHARES people can do much of what the 22 volunteers did.  After all, things like trying to contact someone in the states on a federal-only frequency might be a tad more difficult.  Especially since one story of MARS not working well in the Hurricane aftermath and needing amateur assistance to make a contact to summon aid.

ARRL ought to send a second group as there's still lots to be done......
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N9AOP
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 11:26:29 AM »

W6EM, don't you know that paid govt. employees can do a better job than a mere amateur?  Ask any govt. agency and they will tell you.  In real life is this actually going to work better?  Probably not but it sure will cost a lot more.
Art
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KC9PWT
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 09:22:08 PM »

i volunteered when arrl asked for the first fifty  sounds like they should have had a second group set up to follow on and continue support.


alex
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 10:16:46 AM »

SHARES is a FEMA network, run by FEMA paid employees.  Other agencies are often invited to participate, but it is a FEMA net.

FEMA manages federal assets to meet the requested requirement.  If they needed amateurs they would ask for them.

Do you have proof that the FEMA SHARES operators are performing the same tasks in the same locations that the ARRL team was performing?  Otherwise, they aren't a 'replacement".

I don't think you are in any position to second guess what they need.

It isn't hard to fathom the advantages of having professional communicators with professional equipment, vice having rotating teams of amateurs with personal equipment.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 10:24:14 AM by KB4QAA » Logged
N9AOP
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 03:05:28 PM »

And it isn't hard to fathom the bloated cost of this caper either.
Art
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W6EM
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2017, 05:39:18 PM »

...........

Do you have proof that the FEMA SHARES operators are performing the same tasks in the same locations that the ARRL team was performing?  Otherwise, they aren't a 'replacement".

I don't think you are in any position to second guess what they need.

.......
I used ARRL's words regarding replacement.  SHARES is an HF operation.  Besides the Pactor III/IV Red Cross message traffic, ARRL led us to believe that the group was doing a lot of VHF/UHF short haul relaying of hospital and other needs.

SHAred HF RESources....or at least it used to be.  Perhaps the best situation would be to float or airlift some of FEMA's Atlanta-based satellite trucks to PR.  Propagation not a factor with those.
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K5BBC
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2017, 09:36:21 PM »

Interesting Ham Radio Now episode on that, and more shenanigans. Shares is mentioned at the end, and "replaced" may not be the correct term.

It's a long one, but I believe well worth the watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=56&v=ID4uK8AKq4w
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KG7LEA
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 12:54:12 AM »

The Force of 22 was deployed as a Red Cross asset and apparently the Red Cross declined to renew after three weeks. One thing we did not hear about was the activation of any ARES hams from PR. They were reportedly operational on their own repeaters as soon as the storm passed.

After the Force of Fifty was revealed to be a Force of 22 I am dubious about the press releases.
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KB2WIG
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 06:45:04 AM »





Force.



Force.


Force.



And these people want to be taken seriously? How about amateur radio volunteers?

KLC
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K5BBC
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Posts: 99




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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2017, 04:59:28 PM »





Force.



Force.


Force.



And these people want to be taken seriously? How about amateur radio volunteers?

KLC

Must use WizzBang words and phrases for the press releases and self gloss. "Force of", Going Rogue", "Broken Arrow", When all else....." Anything that Bruce Willis would have said to be manly.  Some of them speak Q Code at the dinner table.
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KG7LEA
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 09:30:18 AM »

So, all of the local coordination provided by ARRL's group, largely on VHF and UHF, will be replaced with less than half as many HF-only operators using government equipment on government frequencies? 

Most of the Force's work was done on HF because that was the equipment they were deployed with in response to the Red Cross's original mission.

The Force later deployed with Red Cross Reunification Teams with their own HTs and 50-watt mobiles provided by the Red Cross.
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W6EM
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2017, 02:54:44 PM »

So, all of the local coordination provided by ARRL's group, largely on VHF and UHF, will be replaced with less than half as many HF-only operators using government equipment on government frequencies? 

Most of the Force's work was done on HF because that was the equipment they were deployed with in response to the Red Cross's original mission.

The Force later deployed with Red Cross Reunification Teams with their own HTs and 50-watt mobiles provided by the Red Cross.
While in terms of message traffic, you probably are exactly right.  But, that value to the League's publicity seemed less than the other recovery and rescue operations that followed.  To me (and apparently to the League as well]) it seemed sending some HF relay FEMA employees to replace the group probably left a gaping hole in some very important needs of the people in distress and in need....
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KC9PWT
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2017, 06:42:28 AM »

one of the shares operators has two threads on arf.com,  he has some interesting observations and a report on what worked and what did not.

https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoors/Survival-related-observations-from-Puerto-Rico/17-690950/

https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoors/Heading-to-Puerto-Rico-with-my-radio-Wish-me-luck-/22-690608/

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KC2QYM
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 08:08:31 AM »

The ARRL is known for exaggerating amateur radio's value in emergency communications.  Certainly this drop ship of 50 hams into hell episode was more of a publicity stunt than any functional help that could be provided.  The military and  government agencies had a hard enough time organizing relief efforts on a grand scale and with tax payer resources.  In sweeps in ham radio volunteers with their ARRL/ARES flags, radios, and emergency generators to do what?  OK, so maybe a few guys were able to get messages back and forth to let some families know the circumstances of their family members down there but did they get any MREs to people in the interior of the island?  In my opinion these are good intentions on the part of the ARRL and certainly the volunteers so I am not knocking that; but the puffery on the part of the ARRL is truly annoying.  Constant grand standing by the ARRL with shallow viability make little if any positive difference during such disasters.  Government agencies have all the commercial/military grade communication gear they need, not to mention professional operations teams to drop into a disaster.  Just another case of hams getting under foot in the midst of a disaster and the ARRL full timers trying to substantiate their existence on behalf of the noble ham radio service, hobby, etc.
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KG7LEA
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2017, 03:24:29 PM »

I have been studying this matter for several weeks including email and phone contact with FoF volunteers and local hams in Puerto Rico. Some clarifications of points made above.

-SHARES is made up of federal employees who volunteer with their own equipment and are detailed by their parent agencies.
-SHARES did not replace FoF volunteers. SHARES had other missions.
-Although ARRL announced it deployed solar panels and generators, this did not happen. FoF volunteers "lived off the land" using local power where available.
-Local hams activated, as best as they could, to municipalities, PREMA offices, etc. under RACES, not ARES. They had a few surviving repeaters and restored more during the recovery.
-A SHARES volunteer offers some of his experiences at https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/force-of-two-in-depth-stories-from-2-puerto-rico-volunteers-on-hamradionow.586192/page-24#post-4476539.
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