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

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KN4AQ, Oct 28, 2017.

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  1. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regarding Jeremy's withdrawal from the hospital on Culebra: he was recalled by ARRL not Red Cross even though he was a Red Cross asset.

    Did anyone notice how important it was for photo ops in San Juan to take place in front of the ARRL banner?
    KX4O, NS0S, WA5VHU and 1 other person like this.
  2. KI4WPI

    KI4WPI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had my Winlink RMS gateway running since Irma here in South Florida and even redirected my dipole towards Puerto Rico, knowing I was close enough even in poor band conditions for them to reach my gateway. I swapped out my Pactor-3 modem with my Pactor-4 following the FCC waiver for Puerto Rico operations even. I've only had 3 hams total who on a daily basis accessing my Winlink gateway from Puerto Rico and they all only are using Winmoor. No one ever connected via Winlink using any Pactor mode from there, which I found interesting given how the ARRL had stated they were sending 5 pactor modems there on top of everything else. Pactor being able to reach further in really poor band conditions over Winmoor and even other modes. Don't know if any of the other winlink RMS gateways were seeing similar or not.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes: Jeremy NS0S did nothing wrong. Period.
    AI7PM and W1SRR like this.
  4. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a newly-minted local ARES EC. In the spirit of learning and building I have two questions:

    Recognizing that ARRL had never experienced or planned for such a request for assistance, what could ARRL have done to make the operation function better?

    What could the American Red Cross have done to make the operation better?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    W0DHG likes this.
  5. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    @KI4WPI Did your gateway show up on the Winlink list of stations? Two new packet gateways locally did not appear for many months so users had to set the call sign and frequencies manually in order to connect rather than click on a station from Winlink.

    Winlink is great.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My opinions, below----

    I don't think that is entirely true. The point is the 'leaders' obviously had not encountered this before. The ARRL has a rolling roster of voluntary points of contact, rather than a roster of full-time folks, with, say, 20 years of previous encounters, to do this. That is the downside of a volunteer-dependent non-profit.

    Management doesn't always have to have the answers at the tip of their tongue. The right answer in such ambiguous circumstances is: Don't know, will find out and resolve; one way or another will give you an update at XXX time." There was too much emphasis on 'speaking with one voice and showing resolve.' People aren't stupid. Don't treat them like second graders.

    IMO the team should have been assembled AT LEAST a day earlier so that their could be an informed leader(s) and a sense of order to execution of the mission, and a discussion of exactly the above. That didn't happen because it would have cost money....the ARRL should have put it up, IMO. They have people who will cut checks as needed, with a demonstrable need.

    Too much worrying about image. Too naive a view of what constitutes 'professionalism' and 'what leaders do'.

    Leaders inform; coordinate; task; find out what people need to do their jobs. They are honest with the people who DEPEND on them.

    I wouldn't be too tough on the ARRL. Frankly, I think the mission went very well overall, but the lessons learned must be learned.

    I am a Life Member of ARRL BTW.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    KA0HCP, W1SRR and KG7LEA like this.
  7. W4AUE

    W4AUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want to take the time to read up on the history of Amateur Radio, the ARRL., and the American Red Cross. All are over 100 years old. Plenty of opportunities handling major disasters. QST is available back to the very earliest days of ARRL. The problem is the leadership - who fail to learn from history!
    KX4O, AI7PM and W1SRR like this.
  8. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes , WINLINK (using the hardware
    Modem) far outperforms WINMOR ( soundcard based) especially for speed and during poor propagation. During various hurricane support activities, the county EOCs WINMOR allowed me to give e-mail capability, on-demand weather chart downloads for storm track information and much more - this was with no cellphones or internet .

    Soundcard based WINMOR was developed so that hams could use the WINLINK e-mail system, without the expensive modem. However, counties and RED CROSS can afford and should budget for full-performance WINLINK modems and have hams who already know how to use them.
    KG7LEA likes this.
  9. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I totally agree with W4AUE, the assets where there and the volunteers aplenty, the issue was that ARRL should have sent a rep to lead this mission instead of letting it flounder along. Once again I do not know what were the prerequisites for the people sent on this mission but this was another failure in ARRL leadership. I can see where Jeremy is an asset to the team due to his other (not Ham related) experiences. This is where you have to take a tactical deployment and pick the VERY best and well-rounded individuals coupled with a qualified leader could have made this mission much more successful.

    As far as logistics- you don't need a radio per person- this has been bothering me since in the military we always work with a "battle-buddy" and are taught never to work alone since you always want someone to watch your 6. Teams of two with one multi-band rig could have worked almost 24 hours. Another sticking point for me is the underutilization by the ARRL of the local Ham Clubs, at minimum, the operatives could have been inserviced and help man the radios. Lastly, the equipment itself could have been donated to the clubs so they could have organized a relay system on the island to pass information between the citizens.

    This could have been a chance for the ARRL to really shine, but the ball was dropped and a lot more good could have come out of this. Once again my hats off to the team that went and did what they could despite the red tape and logistical obstacles..
    AI7PM likes this.
  10. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would suggest two of the most qualified volunteers working with the supplier either in person or telephonically. This would be an opportunity to designate a team lead.

    Allow for BYO equipment.

    Have a way to resupply teams in the field, e.g., tuners, 80m antennas, VHF radios, barrel connectors.

    As stated above, one radio setup, two hams.

    Recruit hams in pairs, existing teammates.

    Despite the initial mission the hams should be equipped to operate on all bands.

    Schedule and staff for the mandatory day off. A day or two after the first set of teams, a second set arrives to deploy and supplement.

    The Red Cross has its own commercial communications system. Use it more. Experienced hams can make this system function well.
    AI7PM and W1SRR like this.

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