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FCC May Revise Rules Concerning Disruption to Comms During Disasters

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N1FM, Sep 27, 2021.

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  1. KB8VUL

    KB8VUL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Need to add to what I said before. There is another option.
    DON'T SHOW UP.
    And while this would seem contrary to logical thought, if YOU ain't there and they actually need you, they will miss you and try to find you.
    BUT be warned.... if you are part of the ones that try to force their way in. Are a solution looking for a problem they don't have to begin with. Or have just made them mad in some way, and they are glad to be rid of you. You will need to face the fact that YOU were not bringing anything useful to the table to begin with and they will be just fine without you there.

    That is sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but in the end it actually further your position with them.
    At some point they MAY need you, and then they will need to reevaluate their stance on ARES and hams in general.
    But just because they don't need you doesn't mean that you stop. You find another box to check for someone else.
    I have said this before as well, we are SUPPOSE to be technically minded problem solvers. NOT coffee makers, people counters or any of the rest of the crap that Joe Average off the street can do. And if that is all that you are doing, either take off the vest and put the radios away, or go home and take care of your family.
     
  2. K7IWW

    K7IWW Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    In one Oregon County a few years ago, a very well trained group of highly competent ARES/RACES volunteers with a long and close relationship with County Emergency Management, was tasked with writing the portion of a Dept. of Homeland Security grant application listing line items for communications equipment and accessory items to fully support interoperable, interagency emergency communications, damage reports, etc. as well as tactical coms, and so on, with justification for each item and reference to Emergency Response Plan and MOU sections, etc. A small committee of experienced technicians, operators and responders collectively expended hundreds of hours producing a compliant document that was submnitted to the grant writer, who had been hired and terminated as new County Emergency Manager (under the Sheriffs) by two other counties over previous months, having put together grant requests for those counties, also.

    The grant application was funded in full by USDOHS.

    The Sheriff (the statutory head of disaster response in Oregon Counties unless the role is delegated to a county Emergency Manager) was very pleased by this.

    The grant money was received, but not one of the line items supplied by the emcomm committee was purchased. The sheriff used the grant money to buy a new fleet of cars. The Emergency Manager was then terminated, and moved on to facilitate the same scam for another sheriff.

    Who says hams aren't useful?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  3. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    What does this have to do with Ham Radio?
     
  4. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dunno, what was described is a crime. If true, let the media hounds loose. They love stuff like this.
     
    KA2FIR likes this.
  5. K2PHD

    K2PHD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that the real value of amateur radio in emergency service, if properly used, is to relieve first responders and other emergency service providers of the routine communications tasks so that they can concentrate on rescue and recovery. As a former fire/rescue service chief officer and professional communications disaster recovery expert I can see and have seen amateur radio operators and amateur equipment play an important role in the continuity of operations and recovery of disaster impacted communities and areas. I think that it has been said above that each disaster situation may require a different amateur radio response scenario. Planning for various scenarios is important, but being adaptable to the ever changing needs of emergency response and interoperating with various radio/communications services (ie, REACT, GMRS and etc.) will prove ham radio’s true value.
     
  6. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a first responder. I carry a P25, 800Mhz digital trunked radio with me. I use it to communicate with dispatch, and my colleagues. I don't see how a ham is going to help me with this. My ability to air a scene size-up, request additional units (or cancel them), relay assignments, etc., is because I have this tool. My radio can communicate with any other radio on the system - statewide if needed via interoperability channels.

    Hams can (and do) help with establishing comms between fixed facilities - evacuation shelters, hospitals, EOC's, etc. A first responder wouldn't be assigned to this task. But more and more, these connections are digital - smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., sending pictures, video, and yes, audio. People communicate with txt's, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You would better serve a shelter by providing cell phone chargers and WiFi these days. Most of the hams who help out in this area bring manpower to leverage the systems that are already there - issue cache radios, setup a 8TAC92 repeater, etc. It's not very often that they actually leverage ham frequencies and radios.
     
    N0TZU likes this.
  7. K2PHD

    K2PHD Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is most probably correct where you are located. However, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Vermont, Rhode Island there are very real possibilities where commercial equipment is either inoperable or lack backup power to maintain operation. In Louisiana, for example, just recently the first responder comms were completely inoperable. So, from your local perspective perhaps hams radio may not ever be needed, BUT that does not necessarily make it so all across the US.
     
  8. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, but if the commercial equipment lacks power, the same problem exists for the ham equipment. How can hams replace first responder comms? You can't put a ham with every first responder, and even if you could - the ham infrastructure isn't magically immune to the same things that affect the public safety infrastructure.

    40 years ago, ham infrastructure looked a lot like the public safety / commercial infrastructure - mostly FM standalone repeaters. The capabilities were similar. One could step in for the other. Now, it's vastly different. BTW, 8000+ P25 radios in my county are programmed with analog simplex/duplex frequencies - 8CALL/8TAC. They can communicate locally over simplex, or access analog repeaters if needed. There are fixed repeaters, and trailers with repeaters that can be deployed.

    The more practical thing would be for hams to be involved with helping keep the existing infrastructure operational, and/or deploying the backup assets, like portable repeaters. That's what they do here, and it's effective.
     
    K7JEM and N0TZU like this.
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would hope that is not a requirement.

    We would have very few posts. :rolleyes:
     
  10. K1FRC

    K1FRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, I could read every response in this thread and come to the same conclusion: The snark factor here is off the scale. But for a good reason.

    When I got into this hobby in 1988, I started as a novice then quickly got my tech, so I could work the 2m repeaters. Since at that point I was working 60 hour weeks, my weekends and evenings were spent volunteering for every ham radio event I could find. 6 years in a row doing amateur communications for the Boston Marathon. Several years running nets on what was then the Templeton (mass) repeater, and always getting into the 146.91 repeater nets on Mt. Greylock. I have awards in this shack for passing tornado warnings and observations from spotters to the National Weather Service in Taunton MA during the outbreak of 1997. I say this not to brag, but to show that I'm quite familiar with how ham radio always WAS that first line of communications... at least with Severe Weather.

    Today, not so much. And its not the 'system'. Sure, there's all sorts of comms available now that there weren't 20 years ago. Our local Emergency Manager just put up a GMRS repeater in my hometown here in CT for emergency comms... I'm pissed. Why not put up a 440 machine and encourage hams to join EMS? Because they have little use for us. They have little use for us because here in southern CT, there's few weather nets, almost no emergency nets - at least not on VHF/UHF... and the hams around here don't seem interested.

    JUST LIKE THE ATTITUDE ON HF WHERE EVERYONE WANTS TO SIT ON ONE FREQUENCY IN EACH HF BAND AND DO FT8... then they bitch that there's talk that the FCC will take away our spectrum... well, dammit, USE IT! Don't sit there on FT8 all day on one frequency then wonder why the government might think we don't need our band allocations! Its the same damned attitude. You people (not all of you reading, just the ones I'm addressing), you people need to start volunteering to help out. Those of you with experience running nets, need to start organizing emergency communications drills. Participate in ARRL sponsored events. My GOD, people! You're willing to read this news item and post your snarky comments here, but most of you have little interest in getting off facebook or twitter and actually doing some real operating on the ham bands.

    Tell me I'm wrong.

    And we wonder why cities and Emergency Managers have little use for ham operators. We've lost our edge and our members lost interest in being volunteers during emergency drills and real emergencies.

    I'll relay this one bit of info then I'm done. To illustrate the severe lack of interest here in CT, last Summer, during one of the SEVEN tornado outbreaks we had here, in a state where up till 2018 it was extremely rare to get one tornado every 10 years, I spotted a twister dropping only a mile from where I live. I got on a local 440 repeater, which I know does a weather net on Sunday nights (this was during the week) and was shouting, "i am watching a tornado form right in front of me, I need to make a tornado report, is there anyone on frquency who can relay?"... I said that 4 times and got no response whatsoever. That, while we were under a tornado watch and the threat was clearly there... and nothing but crickets - as if it didn't matter to anyone.

    You know, with that attitude, I won't be surprised if one day, the FCC makes the Amateur Radio service just a 3rd tier hobby with severe restrictions on bands, power and antennas. Hell, they might even get rid of the license structure and let it turn into the CB bands. Because half the licensed hams out there don't care. Don't believe me? Check out the revolutionary talk on 75/80 meter sideband at night... folks that sound like they'd have participated in Jan 6 if they could have and would again. That's the shit that's going to get our service shut down.

    I LOVE being a ham. This is much more than a hobby to me, and I want to volunteer around here, but there's very little to volunteer for, and the few nets down here, you have to be in the 'click'. that's bull ----. I'm NOT soured on Ham Radio because thank God, I have HF and don't have to worry about not being in the club to work guys on VHF/UHF. But it's little wonder why our service isn't regarded more highly. We used to be. And the only way we will be again is for operators to get back on the bands and start practicing their emergency communications skills. Not sitting on 14.074 on FT8.

    73 de K1FRC
     
  11. WA0DTH

    WA0DTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Man my head is spinning from trying to decode all the acronym soup in this posting.
    My feeling is there is still an important place for amateurs in emergency communications.
    We also can use our talents to assist in other modes of communications.

    73, Terry, WA0DTH
     
  12. KC3TEC

    KC3TEC Ham Member QRZ Page

    as one being new to ham radio Ive been dealing with the covid isolation scares and the fact that many ve's do not want to come out of hiding (for the past year and more).
    Ive finally found a site where im scheduling my test online available.
    and yes we have a lot of curmudgeons out there who are not only grouchy but very hard headed as well! BUT that is not all of us.
    as a first responder I can tell you that ham radio has a very good place in emergency communication, Not just the fact our radios can broadcast on frequencies outside the norm for regular communication, But our licensing allows us to use more powerful radios. as a ham operator we are a backup and a damn powerful one.
    police and fire frequencies are generally not open to the public for tactical reasons they are a restricted band ( while they can be programmed into a scanner you cannot transmit on them with exception of a life or death emergency)
    add to that fact that we learn specialized knowledge into the workings of radios, cabling, and antennas! In many instances some of us carry a ready box of parts and can even quickly build and tune antenna systems that will perform up to the task.

    police and fire service personnel are trained to use their radios But are they trained to repair them? most likely not.

    that being said we've had blackouts that took out communications, have been in places where cell service is out and our fire/police radios couldn't reach anyone, (mountainous regions) and storms that took out cell communications and severely limited a lot of police radios so yes were damn glad to have ham radios.
     
  13. KI7SS

    KI7SS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Our ECC here in Thurston County Washington has a radio room manned by ARES volunteers and used whenever called upon. There's no CB's in the room but there is HF, VHF, and Winlink equipment up and running and the ARES community actively practices message traffic in all formats. The CERT community uses FRS within areas, linking to the ECC on ham frequencies. The ARES community is very active and appreciated. However, not enough of the more than 1000 hams in Thurston County take the time to be ARES-trained volunteers, a serious issue. If trained hams are not available in sufficient numbers to be responsive in an incident, other approaches to communications must be considered. Still, untrained CB or FRS volunteers are of little use both because of their ineptness and the range of their equipment. Its a big problem.
     
  14. KD7YVV

    KD7YVV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not for me. I'd be glad not to show up, but it is my belief that as a ham, and I hope a decent human being, that
    I SHOULD answer the call if needed. As I said in a previous post, when I was a part of my local ARES group before
    I moved, we were activated once in 10 years. However, I tend to like the Country Cousin's motto (look up that net)
    Service and help to all mankind, when in need, call a country cousin.
    Wy mother who recently passed away always taught me to be a kind and caring individual.
    During times of "disaster" such as a storm, or a power outage, I make sure my family and I are safe,
    I check on a few elderly neighbors, see if they need anything. I believe doing that little bit makes
    me and the people around my little area something the professional responders don't have to worry about.
    For me, ham radio and the knowledge it has brought me is a great gift, and the best way to show my appreciation
    for that gift is to give of myself and help where needed when I can.

    The professionals are not going to come looking for you if you don't show up.
    As far as they're concerned, unless they know you and you have trained with them,
    and have an agreement to show up if called, you should honor that agreement.
    Know what they will be doing instead of waiting for you?
    They'll be too busy handling whatever calamity has happened as they are trained to do.
    We hams are an inventive lot, we can get a station up and running with a piece of wire, a radio, and a battery.
    We have a lot to offer, and while things are vastly improved since the 1950's with technologies hams of that
    era couild only dream of, it is my belief that there will always be a need for simple, radio to radio voice
    communications. No starlink, internet, winlink or other felgercarb.
    To quote a great engineer, the more they complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
    Me and my station will always be ready to serve if needed. That's what the SERVICE part of the
    Amateur Radio Service means. Be kind to your fellow humans, and that in itself is its own reward.


    73,
    --KD7YVV
     
  15. KD7YVV

    KD7YVV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your EOC doesn't have a CB radio? Odd, I would think being near the highways one tuned to channel 9
    would be a good idea. The EOC in Kirkland had one when I was last there 3 years ago, along with a few
    FRS radios too. While not as popular as it was in the 70's it is still a good communications tool if needed.

    73,
    --KD7YVV
     

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