Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1576 - October 26, 2007
The following is a Q-S-T. Ham radio takes on the California wildfires. Even Amateur Radio Newsline gets evacuated. Find out the details on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1576 coming your way right now.
RESCUE RADIO: THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRE STORM
A firestorm sweeps California. Even Amateur Radio Newsline it affected. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is back in the newsroom with the latest. Bill.
N6ZXJ: "We were just up at the top of the hill and looked at it. The news said its heading toward Shangri La which is on the top of a hill above Sierra and Solidad and the whole area on the West side of Sierra Highway is on fire."
That’s Todd Hitzeroth, N6ZXJ reporting in on the position of the Buckweed Fire. It started on October 21st as gale force Santana Winds hit the area. As this newscast is being prepared on the 25th , it is still burning though considered as being 100% contained.
"OK Brad. I just looked it up and they are just North of Solidad Canyon over on the East end of Canyon Country so that fire is around Sierra Highway heading South of there so its looking like they will be moving out."
"Well there's obviously one area that has not laid down because its leaving a bright glow up there, but Ill have a better look at it once we get up the hill here."
The Buckweed Fire was the blaze that caused Amateur Radio Newsline's office to be evacuated early on Tuesday morning, the 23rd . Thankfully, a well aimed water droop from a Bombadier TL-415 Super Scooper firefighting aircraft on a ridgeline about 500 feet away kept the grass from igniting and sending the fire our way. None-the-less, the Sheriff issued an immediate evacuation order and we all got out really quickly. About 12 hours later an all clear was issued but as I am recording this, the smell of smoke still permeates the air.
California tends to name its fires and the Buckweed fire burned 38,356 acres before being 100 percent contained. In this one 21 homes and 22 outbuildings were destroyed and 15 homes were damaged. Three civilians and one firefighter were injured. 874 firefighters are assigned to this incident. Hams involved in the Los Angeles Disaster Communications Service were activated to provide logistic support:
"Break 119 to net control."
"Go for net control."
"Courtlandt Way at Copper Hill at the top. I am guessing that its 20 to 30 MPH winds right now. Pretty strong. And also San Frisquito Canyon is shut off at Copperhill. Theres three CHP cars there."
They also handle health and welfare inquiries such as this:
"Net control, this is K6LDK."
"Go for net control."
"I have a request from a concerned relative on my 75 meter net about Grate Lane and Canyon Country Drive. Is that hear anything that’s in jeopardy?"
"Stand by. Ill have to go look on the map. I'm not familiar with those streets so it doesn't sound like anything is happening, but stand-by."
"QSL. He lost contact with his son. I did tell him that area is under mandatory evacuation."
Most of the communications for the Buckweed Fire took place over the W6JW 146.79 MHz repeater operated by the Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club.
The Buckweed fire is just one of a half dozen major wildfires still burning all across Southern California. And if you have been watching the T-V-news, you have seen the destruction first hand. Hardest hit is the San Diego area where a quarter of a million people have been evacuated as the Witch Fire, the Harris fire and the Poochama fires combined have scorched close to 300,000 acres. The devastation from these is staggering and hams are reported to be right in the middle of the relief efforts.
According to Pat Bunsold, WA6MHZ, in El Cajon, posting to QRZ.com, ARES and RACES are quite active and very busy. ARES is assisting the County with hams staffing the Emergency Medical Services EOC, as well as most hospitals. Several medical facilities, including Poway Pomerado Hospital have been completely evacuated requiring moving all the patients to safer ground.
Bunsold says that hams have been using the high level repeaters on Mt Palomar and Lyons Peak for traffic. He notes that considerable traffic has been passed using data modes such as WINLINK. This provides the Emergency Medical Service with a format that interfaces directly with the WEBEOC software they are using. He adds that County EMS is delighted with ARES being able to seamlessly insert itself into the WEBEOC software they are using in the disaster. Gordon West, WB6NOA, has been involved in this aspect of the operation and has more:
WB6NOA: "Its been a big day for ham radio operators especially in Orange County (California) working with the American Red Cross. Those hams were (ED: and still are) handling hundreds of messages in and out of several shelters that the Orange County American Red Cross had set up.
And ham radio operators have found a new role besides messaging back and forth between Red Cross and hams about supplies needed. We went high tech.
Ham radio operators brought in their own computers and were able to bring up those sites to let thew clients know what was happening all around them. And all around us was heavy smoke, heavy ash and heavy traffic on all of the VHF and UHF radio bands including traffic on HF too.
With the multiple fires all around us, we were handling plenty of communications to our Red Cross headquarters in Orange County while also monitoring San Diego Red Cross that had more messages than just about the hams could handle. But the hams did handle it all.
Ham radio operators were very much a part of the fire scene and handling communications expertly here in Southern California where the temperature is 90 degrees with fires all around/
Gordon West, WB6NOA, at the Orange County American Red Cross.
Meantime, out in San Bernardino County it’s the Grass Valley, Santiago and Slide fires. While smaller in size than some of the others, its been just as disastrous. We have heard that a number of ARES teams are assisting with these fires but at airtime that the situation is very fluid and little more is known. The hams are just to busy to let the world know what they are doing. Saving lives and property is their primary concern.
Obviously this story is ongoing and we will have more for you, next week.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at a very acrid smelling studio in Los Angeles.
More on this in next weeks Amateur Radio Newsline report. (See http://www.fire.ca.gov/#fires04 for the latest fire update information) (ARNewsline™)
RESCUE RADIO: NAPANEE INDIANA TORNADO
As California hams are dealing with the heat and fires and strong Santa Ana winds Northern Indiana hams are dealing with a rare fall tornado. Newsline’s Jack Parker W8ISH has this report.
Amateur radio operators in northern Indiana were kept busy last week as an EF three tornado sweep through Nappanee, Indiana and surrounding communities. Thanks to the late evening efforts of Skywarn hams, many Elkhart county residents escaped serious injuries and death as one hundred and sixty mile an hour winds raced across the Hoosier landscape under the cover of darkness.
According to the National Weather Service and amateur radio ground observers the powerful half mile wide tornado cut a path across twenty miles of northern Indiana. Emergency management officials said the storm destroyed nearly two hundred homes and 53 businesses. Normal communication links were severely damaged.
In the days following the storm, amateur radio operators continued to help with communications around the area.
Reporting for Amateur Radio Newsline, this is Jack Parker W8ISH.
Elkhart county Indiana is heavily populated with members of the Amish faith. As one observer noted during cleanup following the storm, it was interesting to see traditional labor working side by side with high tech amateur radio communications. (W8ISH)
From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the WA4B repeater serving Miami Florida.
(5 sec pause here)
BREAKING NEWS: FCC'S RILEY HOLLINGSWORTH ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT NEXT JANUARY
FCC Special Counsel, Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, has announced that he will be retiring early next year. This according to word from both the American Radio Relay League and the Quarter Century Wireless Association.
In a note to the American Radio Relay League, Hollingsworth said that he has been considering making such a change for the better part of a year and decided that Friday, January 3rd of 2008 would be the date. He also said that he loves working for the FCC and has always had great jobs, but his current one involving the Amateur Radio Service has been the most fun and he has enjoyed every day of it.
Hollingsworth says that for the past nine years he has worked with the best group of licensees on Earth. That he has enjoyed their support and tremendous FCC support which made him look forward every day to coming to work.
Hollingsworth also said that the even without him at the helm, that the Amateur Radio enforcement program will continue without missing a beat. He ends by saying that after retirement he look forward to being involved with Amateur Radio every way that he can, adding this thank-you -- and we quote:
" I thank all of you for being so dedicated and conscientious, and for the encouragement you give us every day."
At airtime no successor to run the FCC's Amateur Radio enforcement program has yet been named. More on Riley Hollingsworth's career with the FCC in next weeks Newsline report. (ARNewsline™, QCWA, ARRL)
HAM RADIO TRAINING: FCC TO CFMC - NO YOU CANT BE A VEC
A request by the Chicago F M Club to become the nations next Volunteer Examination Coordinator has been turned down by the FCC. Not because the group is not qualified. Rather, the FCC says there are already enough VEC's and no new ones are needed.
Back on April 17th , the FCC received a request from the Chicago F M Club to designate the group as a VEC. In support of its request, club president Jim Small, WA9EMY, stated that the C-F-M-C is a 250-plus member club with members in eight states, and that the club has substantial financial resources that it is willing to use to support the activities of a VEC. Small also noted that a member of the club is the former manager of another VEC, that he is willing to be the club's VEC manager.
But in its October 19th letter denying the Chicago F M Club request, the FCC says that it does not believe that additional VECs are needed at this time because the Commission currently has agreements with fourteen VECs. This says the FCC provides sufficient opportunity for individuals who want to take amateur radio operator licensing examinations to do so.
The FCC does however offer the C-F-M-C an alternative. It says that with regard to the desire of the organization to administer amateur radio operator license examinations, it says that many Volunteer Examiner teams associate with an amateur radio club. It says that this makes it convenient for individuals who wish to become amateur radio operators and to individuals who desire to upgrade their amateur radio operator privileges to take exams. The FCC suggests that members of the Chicago FM Club who are interested in becoming Volunteer Examiners contact one or more of the nations established V-E-C's and become accredited to do so. (FCC)
ENFORCEMENT: A THANK YOU FROM CANADA
Canada's Greater Vancouver Amateur Radio Council Interference Committee has words of thanks for the United States FCC and for U-S hams who assisted in locating the source of interference to the Canadian VE7RPT repeater. In a press release, the committee said it thanks to all the people who devoted countless hours tracking and identifying the source of this interference., calling it an excellent example of the tremendous spirit of cooperation that exists between Amateur Radio operators in both Canada and the US.
As recently reported here on Newsline, On September 25th the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability totaling $7,000, to James Grinton, K7VNI, of Bellingham Washington. The FCC alleges that Grinton has been the source of ongoing interference to the Canadian repeater since 2006.
This is the second of a series of interference complaints affecting repeaters in the greater Vancouver area to be brought to a conclusion. The committee says that additional interference investigations are on-going. (GVARC)
ENFORCEMENT: FCC SAYS REPEATER OUT OF CONTROL
A Minnesota ham has been told by the FCC that his repeater is out of control. At least on a technical level.
David Huston, WD8RFS, of Ely, was notified from the FCC that the agency had received a complaint concerning the operation of his repeater on 145.370 MHz. The charges include a lack of control and defective signals. The FCC also says that Huston had been previously contacted about these problems but has so far declined to address them.
WD8RFS was given 20 days from receipt of the FCC inquiry to respond and describe in detail the procedures he uses to control the repeater. He was also directed to provide the names and addresses of all of his repeaters control operators. (FCC)
ENFORCEMENT: YOU ARE OUT OF BAND
Meantime, out on the West Coast, Guy Weitl, WB6HGJ, of San Diego, California, has been sent a notice by the FCC alleging "numerous instances of out of band operation on 14.003, 14.005, 14.011 and 14.106 MHz. These are frequencies which the FCC says are not authorized to Weith under his General Class licensee. The complaint also alleges that WB6HGJ has been sent several notices about out of band operation in the past.
Weitl was given the usual 20 days from receipt of the FCC notice to respond to it. He was also directed to support his response with a signed and dated affidavit or declaration that, under penalty of perjury, verifies the truth and accuracy of the information he submits in his response. (FCC)
THE LEGAL SIDE: RAC AND THE NORMAN ESTATE
Some legal wows for Radio Amateurs of Canada. This after the Canadian national ham radio society is advised of the intention of the Norman Estate to seek a judicial determination of the late Debbie Norman's employment contract with Radio Amateurs of Canada as General Manager. This, as to whether the contractual language supports a termination payment.
Radio Amateurs of Canada says that it has retained legal counsel in relation to this matter. Unlike an action in the courts, under Canadian law the matter is expected to proceed by way of what is known as an "Application" to determine rights in a contract pursuant to Ontario's Rules of Civil Procedure.
Norman became a Silent Key on November 27, 2006. This, shortly after giving notice of her intention to retire at the end of that year. The hearing in this matter is presently scheduled for early, 2008 in Ottawa. (RAC)
RADIO LAW: FCC CHAIRMAN WANTS A LA CARTE CABLE TV FOR ALL
The chairman of the FCC still wants consumers to be able to choose the programming that they want to buy from cable TV operators. Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeff Clark, K8JAC, has the latest:
Audio report only. Hear it in the MP3 version at http://www.arnewsline.org
The cable companies are opposed to the concept of a la carte programming. They say that only through bundling certain programming services into packages and selling them at a specific price point can they keep pricing down. (Published reports)
HAM RADIO IN SPACE: AMSAT 2007 SYMPOSIUM BROADCASAT ON ECHOLINK
The 2007 AMSAT Symposium is being carried live to your home using Echolink. During the AMSAT open meeting portion of the Symposium, EchoLink was activated so people from around the globe could check in and join the gathering and in on the discussion.
If you already are an Echolink user, all you need to do is to select Conferences and then view AMSAT and double click. If you cannot connect and then time out, accept the "learn more" option to connect either through a proxy or how configure your router to allow the ports needed by Echolink.
The AMSAT Symposium activities begin on Friday, October, 26th . More is on-line at www.amsat.org (WB4GCS)
NAMES IN THE NEWS: N3MSE APPOINTED WPA SM
John Rodgers, N3MSE, of Butler, Pennsylvania, has been appointed ARRL Section Manager of the Western Pennsylvania Section. He will complete the term of office of Larry O'Toole, K3LBP, of Mount Pleasant, who stepped down due to health reasons.
Rodgers is returning to Section's top position where he served as Western Pennsylvania Section Manager from January 2000 to September 2003. He also served as an Assistant Section Manger starting in 1995. (ARRL)
THE SOCIAL SCENE: ANTARCTIC CRUISE AND DXPEDITION.
F5PFP is organizing a 4 week Antarctic cruise and DXpedition for January 2009. The trip will start in Ushuaia with stops at King George, Nelson, Greenwich, Livingstone, Decepcion and 1 or 2 more islands depending on sailing conditions. He is currently searching for 5 passengers who are preferably amateur radio operators. If you are interested and for more details, send him an E-mail at email@example.com (F5PFP)
This is ham radio news for today’s radio amateur. From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline with links to the world from our only official website at www.arnewsline.org and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur:
(5 sec pause here)
THE BPL FIGHT: SOUTH AFRICA GETS INTERIM BPL STANDARDS
The South Africa Radio League says that a government Standards Liaison Committee has approved the draft interim Power Line Telecommunications or Broadband over Powerline in that nation. One that contains some protection against Broadband over Powerline interference to that nations ham radio community.
One of the committee's recommendations is that only class B limits will apply as the minimum requirements. The class B limit for conducted disturbance is some 10dB more stringent than class A.
As you might imagine, the BPL industry had asked that class A limits apply in industrial areas and at sub-stations. This is a request that the South Africa, Radio League opposed at the committee stage,
But the SARL is however not satisfied that compulsory notching of the Amateur High Frequency bands was included in the draft standards. At the comment stage the national society says that it will submit documentation in support of its position that all amateur H-F bands must be notched and that the minimum 10dB notching level be increased to a higher value.
The interim South African interim Broadband over Powerline standards will be in force until international standards have been agreed on. (SARL)
EMERGING TECHNOLOGY: THE RADIO TOOTHBRUSH
Radio from a toothbrush? That’s the latest from a company called Oral B. Rob Topp, VK5MM, reports:
The toothbrush with "Sat-Nav."
As you clean your teeth, Oral-B's Triumph SmartGuide toothbrush transmits its
exact location to a base unit.
The unit then shows you on an LCD screen which area of your mouth has been
cleaned and a clock tells you how long you have left to brush.
The system uses technology similar to the Bluetooth system used with hands-free ear-pieces for mobile phones. The LCD display can be mounted on the bathroom mirror or held in your free hand, picking up information as you brush.
The remote display also doubles up as a bathroom clock Oral-B is hoping that the brush will be a stocking filler this Christmas and has planned its launch in Britain within weeks.
I'm Robb, VK5MM.
No information as to when this new data radio toothbrush will be available in the USA. (WIA News)
EMERGING TECHNOLOGY: HITACHI UNVEILS MEGA HARD DRIVES
If you need more space on your computer to store all those ATV images or anything else, Hitachi says its researchers have successfully shrunken a key component in hard drives to a nano-scale. This the company says will pave the way for quadrupling today's storage limits to 4 terabytes for desktop computers and 1 terabyte on laptops by 2011.
Capacities of hard drives have grown as researchers have crammed more bits of data closer together while also making the heads sensitive enough to read the data. The industry looks to new technologies every time physical limitations kick in, and giant magnetoresistance which allows for extremely thin layers of alternating metals to detect weak changes in magnetism _ was one of the breakthroughs that led to the fastest growth rate in the early 2000s, allowing hard drives to double in capacity every year.
The feat, which Hitachi presented at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference in Tokyo, revisits this technology G-M-R which itself was the basis of the work of two European scientists who won the Nobel Prize in physics last year. Its estimated that one terabyte can hold the text of roughly 1 million books, 250 hours of high-definition video, or a quarter million songs. (BC Newswire)
HAM RADIO IN SPACE: NEW ANTENNAS FOR THE COLUMBUS ISS MODULE
Two new ham radio antennas have been installed on the new International Space Station's Columbus module, set to launch later this year. Both antennas have been tested to meet flight specifications. Once on-orbit, the Columbus module ham station will provide several new modes including the first ever full color Amateur Television on orbit.
Getting the new antennas installed on the space station module was an expensive proposition. Once the project was approved it was estimated the cost would be in the area of $50,000 to $60,000 in U-S dollars. Donations from various sources covered a payment of approximately $12,000 back in March. A second payment is due this fall and at present there is a funding shortfall of about $21,000. (ANS)
WORLDBEAT - CANADA: NEW VE5 QSL MAMNAGER NAMED
Radio Amateurs of Canada has announced that effective immediately, the Incoming QSL Manager for the VA5 through VE5 region is Joe Musgrave , VA5JM. Musgrove who also holds the call VE5CEM can be reached by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (RAC)
WORLDBEAT - FINLAND: SPECTRUM OPPOSED BY NATIONAL SOCIETY
The Finnish Amateur Radio Society is opposing a possible spectrum auction. One that might include bands used for fast scan A-T-V in that nation.
According to a spokesman for the society, the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Finland recently had a hearing on the possibilities of frequency auctioning. The spokesman said that the society made clear its objections, especially as that nation already has in place a Bandwidth Payment policy that replaced its Radio License fee a couple of years back. The pricing formula has resulted in prohibitive costs, especially to Amateur Television repeaters and resulted in the closing down of several A-T-V systems.
The spokesman said that the ministry has always looked upon Radio Amateurs in a protective manner, but apparently the European Union politicians are blind to all the benefits of Amateur Radio to society. (Southgate)
WORLDBEAT _ SOUTH AFRICA: SARL - HMO BEACN PROJECT
The South African Radio League's H-M-O Beacon Project officially launched on Tuesday, October 23rd . This, when the first beacon was switched on at the National Amateur Radio Center.
During the first phase of the project there will be 30 beacons strategically placed around that nation. Each one is hosted by members of the South African Radio League and operate on 7 point 023 MHz. in Morse at about 8 words per minute.
Among other services the beacon network will provide, it will initially be used to attract newcomers to the hobby. (SARL)
ON THE AIR: CELEBRATING WRC-07
On the air, keep an ear open for the special callsign 4U1WRC to be used between October 22nd and November 16th. Activity is taking place from the International Amateur Radio Club station 4U1ITU in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference. QSL a directed by the station operator. (OPDX)
ON THE AIR: A RRL MAKES CHANGE TO QUALIFYING RUN
And word of a slight change to the December 2007 ARRL West Coast Qualifying Run schedule. The December Run will be handled by Maritime Radio Historical Society station K6KPH. This station is the same one that sends out the W1AW Field Day Bulletin for the benefit of West Coast amateurs.
Listen out for K6KPH to transmit December West Coast Qualifying Run on Saturday, December 15 at 2200z UTC. That’s 2 PM local time. The code speeds will remain at 10- to 35 Words Per Minute on 3581.5, 7047.5, 14047.5 and 21067.5 kHz.
A similar change was instituted for the October Run which has now past. Qualifying Run submissions should still be sent to the ARRL for processing. (ARRL)
In D-X, W8HC and 6 other operators will be active as from Israel as 4X0C during the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest on October 27th and 28th . They will operate as a Multi-Single entry. QSL via W8HC, direct or by the bureau.
Also on for the contest will be EA1FDI, will be active from Senagalmas 6V7G. His operating class is unknown. QSL via EA1FDI.
Lastly, W2SC, will be active from Barbados as 8P5A during the same contest. This, as Single-Ooerator all-Band entry. QSL via NN1N.
Above from various DX news sources.
THAT FINAL ITEM: AND THE WINNER IS
And finally this week, we have the name of the winner of an MFJ Model 816 SWR and Power Meter that was offered in a mailing list only drawing to raise funds to help keep these newscasts on the air. Here's our Support Fund Administrator Andy Jarema, N6TCQ.
Most of you know that we ran a contest from September 15th to October 15th for an MFJ power meter. This was to be awarded to the individual or club who donated the most to Amateur Radio Newsline during that period of time.
For obvious FCC reasons we couldn't do it over-the-air, but instead by way of a mass e-mail to over 1000 listeners and clubs.
Well, response didn't exactly blow our hair back, but we did end up with a 6-way tie for 1st place (gee, people, all you had to do was sent one more buck). We then placed the names in a basket and the lovely Judy picked the winner.
Before the drumroll, let me tell what you have won: It's an MFJ Model 816 miniature SWR Bridge / Wattmeter. It measures forward power, reflected power and SWR. The wattmeter measures power on two scales, 30 Watts and 300 Watts, and it's usable from 1.8 to 30 MHz."
Drum roll please:
Edmund Burckart, N9VTU of Glenview, IL.
Congratulations! Please contact our producer, Bill Pasternak at WA6ITF@arnewsline.org with shipping details.
I'm Andy Jarema, N6TCQ
Andy says that this promotion was so successful that we will likely hold another one before years end. But to comply with FCC rules, you will not hear a solicitation in the newscast. Rather, you have to be on the Newsline mailing list on Yahoogroups.com. To sign up simply send a blank e-mail with the words arnewsline-subscribe in the header to email@example.com. The list is self maintained and the robot system at Yahoogroups will do the rest. (ARNewsline™ Support Fund)
With thanks to Alan Labs, AMSAT, the ARRL, the CGC Communicator, CQ Magazine, the FCC, the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin, Radio Netherlands, Rain, the RSGB, the Southgate News and Australia's W-I-A News, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline™. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's™ only official website located at www.arnewsline.org. You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio Newsline™, P.O. Box 660937, Arcadia, California 91066.
For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors desk, I’m Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, saying 73 and we thank you for listening.
Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
By all reports ALL normal communications channels in Southern California remained operational during the fires. Landline phones, cell phones, FAX systems, internet etc. So the question is why was amateur radio communications needed and/or important? Maybe someone who was involved could explain that.
There are sheep. There are wolves who prey on the sheep. There are sheepdogs who protect the sheep from the wolves. God protect those of us who are sheepdogs.
I don't think you are going to get an answer.
Originally Posted by [b
There is a difference between 1). moving traffic via ham radio because it is available and the operators *like* to do so and 2). moving traffic via ham radio because it is necessary due to a communications failure.
I applaud those who move traffic via ham radio because they *like* to do so, I do that myself on the NTS.
But I don't applaud those who make such operation into a "glory story" by misleading readers that they spent days without sleep moving the traffic because it was necessary.
Kudo's to those who did yeoman's work. I have seen several stories where hams were doing stevedore jobs moving supplies and were even helping to monitor public service communications in the EOC but this isn't "ham radio" just because hams were doing the work. Give the hams their credit but don't extend it any further than that. I wouldn't expect to see any stories in CQ about amateur radio providing essential communications to the Salvation Army just because I helped in loading supplies in one of the local Salvation Army canteens.
Certainly those hams who were giving out evacuation information to other hams via the repeaters were doing a needed and valuable job. That isn't a job, however, where someone *needs* to work 48hour shifts as net control - at least not in a well run operation.
I suppose we'll find out more as time progresses. I just hope we don't shoot our reputation in the foot again by trying to glorify our operations only to be upstaged by wifi and wired internet providers as happened with Katrina as the real stories came out.
That is exactly where I was headed with my initial posting. I agree with you entirely. Volunteerism, including transporting supplies, operating non-ham radios, etc. is a good and praiseworthy thing...but it is NOT ham radio and should not be used to glorify amateur radio or the personnel involved. In too many places today hams are involved not in essential service but "make work" projects. Too many are trying to give our radio service credit for things not earned. When hams are used to provide essential communications support that's one thing. To "embellish" when we are not serving the basic purpose of our radio service is entirely another.
There are sheep. There are wolves who prey on the sheep. There are sheepdogs who protect the sheep from the wolves. God protect those of us who are sheepdogs.
Not all "reports" are correct -- especially in regard to San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Quite a bit of phone service -- both landline and cellular was lost. Lines burned. Cew ll towers felled. In fact, my next door neighbor is a telco lineman and he was dispatched from up here way out to the Eastern reaches of San Bernardino county to do telephone line repairs. Hes working 36 hrs on and 8 off.
Originally Posted by [b
As to hams being "needed" or "not." When the states Disaster Communications Service is activated -- so are the hams who are its members. It makes no difference if the phones are working or not. If the two-way systems are working or not, etc. An "activation" is an "activation" and in this case, every county in SoCal that has a DCS unit -- activated same. Most of the audio at the top of the report is from L.A. DCS which services the area I live in.
I am certain that people like WA6MHZ can give a far more in-depth explanation of how this states disaster preparedness system operates. Our job as a news service is not to question its existence, but to report on what it does or does not do in an emergency situation. And from what I have seen thus far -- DCS on a state and local level was very well prepared for this particular emergency -- as was the American Red Cross.
What we could not cover -- because info is only showing up tonight -- is the loss of ham radio repeaters in this firestorm. I know of two systems that are confirmed fire victims and I'm sure Ill be learning of others in the coming days. The N6LXX sysyem on Mt. San Miguel is a total loss and whether KR6FM / R survived has yet to be assessed.
As you say, not all "reports" are correct.
Originally Posted by [b
The State of California Office of Emergency Services has nothing to do with the LA County DCS nor did LA DCS "activate".
I will refrain from commenting further on LA County DCS "activation" and let people decide for themselves from th LA County DCS' own web site, the extent of whackerism in Southern California.
I'd give them the benefit of doubt. I had heard that at one point in time the main power lines to the area were in potential jeopardy. If so, it could make sense to have backup plans ready and in place.
The "main" power transmission lines at 500kVAC and 1500kVDC come in from the north and northeast to Sylmar, just above the San Fernando Valley. #Even if fire smokes up the insulation, no big deal. #There isn't enough fuel in the rights of way to damage the steel structures.
Originally Posted by [b
The lines coming from the 4 corners plant might have been subject to the fire and smoke, but those aren't the main interties, as those mentioned above are into the LA Basin.
SoCalEdision has lots of very, very old wood pole distribution lines that probably needed replacement anyway. #30 year book life going on 80 years.
So far, Bush has tried to play this thing as a "success story" for federal aid and get out of the "Katrina Penalty Box." #The trouble is, there's no comparison. #SoCA people were/are affluent, for the most part and could drive right out safely. #And, infrastructure in the areas surrounding the immediate fire zones was largely unaffected. So, there's a big difference.
Besides, he likes to travel to San Diego. #Remember, the day after Katrina tore New Orleans and Biloxi apart? #He got on his plane and flew from Phoenix to San Diego for a second fund raiser. #Couldn't be bothered with the details. #Oh, but on the 3rd day he did do a "fly-by" on his way back to DC.
Please take a drive out here to Santa Clarita and tell that to all the DCS folks who were called up.
Originally Posted by [b
And if you don't believe they were -- I have audio tape of them in action.
And I tend to believe my own ears long before any post on QRZ.com.
I have audio of a self-activated whacker net that was run during Loma Prieta. It's actually hilarious to listen to.
Originally Posted by [b
I'm sure some hams were on the air in Santa Clarita. That, however, is a far cry from a non-existent "state" DCS activation.
By the way, you should probably do a little more investigation there. It's not "what you read on QRZ". The comment that DCS didn't activate comes from reading DCS's own web site. That's why I included the URL.
I have no idea what sort of whacker games guys are playing down there, but a good firefighter from up here died in the '03 fires, and we're not big fans of hams taking credit they don't deserve when other people are putting their life on the line.
So, to recap: There was no communication emergency declared by the Federal, State, or County agencies. LACDCS has nothing to do with the California OES, and is not a statewide organization. It did not activate, as per its own web site.
So why don't you put your audio online somewhere, so we can all enjoy it?