Force of Two: In Depth stories from 2 Puerto Rico volunteers on HamRadioNow

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K4AAQ, Oct 28, 2017.

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  1. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats on this scoop.

    I generally don't enjoy most of your videos appearing in Zed News for being click-baited, irrelevant, and boring, however despite its unedited length, this one offers solid content. Ever since seeing his Reddit post I have been hoping someone would interview Jeremy NSØS.

    However, Gary, I do take issue with an opinion of yours. Somewhere you wrote or stated words to the effect that there are inevitably two types of viewers, those for the ARRL and those against it. This is unnecessarily polarizing and divisive, and in error.

    Many of us who are ARRL members, therefore in favor of the organization, recognize its not perfect and push for change from within. If comments are made that are negative about some aspect of the organization, its not the same as wanting it to be abolished.

    From the info presented in the video it seems any aggravations for ham volunteers were not so much caused by their "customers" like the Red Cross, FEMA or especially in locally served groups, ie, public service, utilities, and hospitals. Rather they came from within the hastily formed group, and/or from the distraction and ineffectiveness of ARES HQ and incident management in this case.

    This is very disappointing, especially for an org that uses 'When All Else Fails" as a byline, they sure were not prepared for that to actually happen somewhere large, isolated or lesser developed, which obviously is where amateur radio could have the biggest impact for EMCOMM.

    Those problems originate from within the ARRL / ARES and members need to call for a determination of solutions, fast. The ARRL BOD should hold a special meeting to plan how to make that happen.

    I have great respect and kudos for Jeremy NSØS and Mike N5TGL for their generous hands-on initiative. and also for the hard work of those native KP4's that are still in the struggle.

    73 de John - WØPV
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    KX4O, WJ0B, W1SRR and 3 others like this.
  2. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Chip, you're spot on of course.

    Americans need to also realize just how importantly the economy of Puerto Rico contributes not just to itself but to everyone else's health and welfare too.

    My YL is a clinical pharmacist and has troubling first hand stories of the significant costly extra work and unfortunate medical compromises being caused by the supply chain gap resulting from production and shipment disruptions in PR.

    There have been many others, but here is an example report,

    I hate to interject politics, but if Congress gets busy with the tax code, perhaps the shelter provision for PR that helped establish that industry there ought to be restored again for awhile too.

    73, John WØPV
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    W1YW likes this.
  3. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Red Cross requested 50 hams for H&W traffic, they got 22. Someone put a 19 year old in charge of the ham contingent which is okay IF he reported to someone in the ARC who should have been responsible for deployment in PR. Once on the ground the H&W went out the window and it's still unclear who
    should have been responsible for the reassignment of the hams, it would logically be the ARC since they requested the hams.

    It looks like out of the 22 at least 5 took up their own interests instead of deploying around the island(s). Why did one individual self appoint as the PR person?
    Hams don't need a PR rep under those conditions, if they are doing good work the press will find them without help. Why did certain parties get upset when NS0S spoke direct to Sen. Rubio? I don't know about anyone else but if a Senator wants to talk to me I'm not going to wait for authorization from some organization. This sure looks like the recent dust up with HQ and someone replying to a request from FEMA........we're in charge and don't you forget it.......again this was under the emcomm blanket. Why is ARRL even in the emcomm buisness? Go kits and needed supplies I can understand but after that they need to get out of the way and let those on the ground handle it. Anyone that's been in the military will tell you the smart officers will tell their Sargent's or Chief's what needs done then get the hell out of the way!

    It was interesting what worked and what didn't for the radio side. Winlink worked great, as long as there was a telnet connection so what's the point if you have
    telnet available. There are those that will use this as justification for higher speeds on HF but if it doesn't work that well now how is more speed going to help?
    The real need on the ground was V/UHF, could have seen this one coming and provided handhelds and mobiles, it would have added maybe one or two transit boxes. There's one big lesson in there, if you suffer an event of this scale all the trained and equipped locals won't be available and anyone from outside will
    have a different level of training and equipment standards among the emcomm faithful beyond maybe ICS forms.

    I watched the entire video and the other one that was posted in another thread. This one was pretty good in detailing some of the problems and NS0S is putting together a paper to help others in similar situations. The other video was more like "how I spent my summer deployment" and was pretty telling in who and what was left out. If you can find some honest commentary on the last Cascadia Rising event there was infighting among the various ham groups to see who was in charge and that was planned for months in advance.
    KX4O, K5WW, KA0HCP and 6 others like this.
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I suspect that they were limited by availability on the plane. They certainly got many more ham volunteers that weren't chosen.... W0PV for one.
  5. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    This was very useful, because it an the unfiltered view from these communicators, instead of the SPAM ARRL photo-op pieces. The ARRL politiking was experienced here during Cascadia Rising and during the PNW fires and matches what these people described.
    AI7PM and W1SRR like this.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find it hard to deeply fault the ARRL OR ham radio. There are very valuable lessons to be learned, and Jeremy is kindly providing some of that already.

    Did you know that DOZENS of NEW HAMS are expected to be 'born' in KP4 IN THE COMING WEEKS?? Yep. It's true. Watch.

    Why? Because these KP4-QTH volunteers NOW SEE THE VALUE of enablement via ham radio DURING emergencies. (and guess where they learned this...)It could very well be that PR will have amongst the highest ham populations in the future, per population density.

    Ham radio isn't 'when all else fails': The new phrase is: 'HAM RADIO IS INDISPENSIBLE'
    KA0HCP, W1SRR and W0PV like this.
  7. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Totally agree that radio works (BT&DT) when infrastructure fails. It's the non-spun reporting of what they saw and how they saw it that is very valuable. Too many fluff pieces by Public Relations Officers get in the way of valuable after action reports and change in methods. I'd like to see Field Day become 'disaster practical', not just another contest.
    KG7LEA, N7NIT, K9GLS and 2 others like this.
  8. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Individuals can make a difference as long as organizations don't get in the way.
    WB8CXO, W1SRR, W4POT and 1 other person like this.
  9. N9NQ

    N9NQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used Winlink extensively both with Winmor and Pactor. The Red Cross needs to invest into some SCS PTC pactor modems. There is no comparison in the ability of a PTC modem to Winmor. I have both set up in my Hummer along with robust packet. Packet is still up with a handful of stations in South Florida and is great for local access to Winlink. The PTC modems are expensive but they will connect when there is not even an audible signal for Winmor. A good friend on mine has a trimode running. He had a few regulars that were connecting with Winmor from Puerto Rico with one sending up to 30 messages per day. If the Red Cross even had just one, it could be setup as a trimode and provide a great link out of the affected area. A few of us are also trying to build up a Broadband-Hamnet network. All this has a place in communications and could be a great asset A dipole screwdriver would also be another great way to get comms up in a hurry. There are so many ways to "skin a cat" but there needs to be a standing comm plan to prevent this kind of issues in the future. These hams did a great job, proving we can get things done, but we need to get the Red Cross to understand the needs before another deployment like this again. The ARRL and Red Cross both failed miserably by not having a comm plan that each understood prior to this deployment.

    From what I see in ecom for South Florida, the ARES / RACES groups see Winlink as a joke and not used. That is one of the most absurd ignorant comments I have ever heard. To ignore any mode of communications is just stupid. We have different modes for a reason...not all work all the time. Try winlink. Load all the message forms and learn to use them. If you can afford it get a PTC modem. I found a great deal for a used one on the internet. They sell fast so you will have to put some effort into finding one as they sell fast.

    . The biggest thing I see here is the lack of a comm plan by the Red Cross and guidance from the ARRL. I see this as an issue in

    This mess reminds me of the invasion of Grenada. I was in the 10th SFGA during that and we had the same issues with miscommunications between different service branches. The after action report was classified. If you could read it, you would see the similarities' of the age old comment. The "six P's"...


    W1YW and KG7LEA like this.
  10. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Upgrading Field Day to a more realistic disaster response exercise is an EXCELLENT idea!

    During the early stages of the hurricane Maria response, before the "Faux of Fifty" was deployed, considerable outgoing EMCOMM traffic was handled on HF by indigenous KP4 hams through SATERN or via ad hoc nets directly to any mainland station that could help.

    Band conditions were rough, QRN and DQRM was at times daunting, and some of the most effective at doing that task or helping enable it though being NCS were experienced and well equipped Radio Sport CONTESTERS.

    The ARRL already holds so called Simulated Emergency Tests (SET) once a year. These are drills that have a slightly competive nature but are not very challenging and seem to be primarily for testing very basic EMCOMM between county EOC's within each ARRL section. Not a very large group of prospective "Fo50" type volunteers.

    Why not have the SET run concurrently with FD? Make FD QSO's with EOC's worth more points, possibly include a special QSO exchange to be valid.

    Also since an important focus for emergency preparedness strategy with ARRL ARES / RACES seems to be the skills for setting up and operating using WinLink, this should be incorporated into FD as well. Simulated "safe & well" traffic successfully passed between WinLink accounts over-the-air (not TELNET) should carry score value higher then just the typical QSO exchange of class and section.

    However, here's the issue with that. Recently I suggested to ARRL Contest Manager Bart W9JJ modification of the ARRL 10 Meter contest to incorporate the new FT8 mode. He pointed out to make a change with any ARRL contest there is a long bureaucratic process to follow which requires the ARRL BOD to submit any change requests to the Programs and Services Committee which then delegates it to the Contest Advisory Committee etc etc etc, ad nauseum.

    It's that ole entrenched HQ chain-of-command problem again, stifling innovation ...

    And the Director of my SE Division didn't even face an election.

    Why should he care what I think ?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
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