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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. W4AUE

    W4AUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ARRL and ARC got sucked into a void which should have been filled by Local Gov & FEMA. The mission changed from H&W to supplying local tactical comm, almost the instant they hit the ground. A very bad case of Mission Creep!! The ARRL and ARC leadership were not prepared to deal with the scope of the need nor the politics of FEMA that they were faced with. Apparently there were some leadership issues on the ground within the ARRL contingent ... something that seems to be inevitable in every event I have been involved with for the last 50 years.

    The volunteers should be commended for their efforts. The question is, should the leadership have anticipated the failure of local gov. and FEMA? Given the severity of the storm, that this was the third FEMA deployment in a very short period, and given PR's financial/gov/infra difficulties leading up to the storm .... it's not unrealistic to have expected some major problems on the ground. (20/20 hind site)

    Intentions were good ... no excellent..., but management & leadership experience and competence was lacking for the circumstances.

    Lastly ... Amateur Radio needs to move into the 21st Century with regards to Ecomm. We need experience with and rapid deployment of high speed, dedicated digital links (not common carrier WINLINK - they have other traffic to handle). We have all the technology we need, but lack the will to use it! A reminder - the ARRL radiogram has not changed in nearly 100 years!! SAD! ;) dit dit.
    AI7PM likes this.
  2. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    FYI - the NSØS bio on QRZ has not only interesting personal info about Jeremy but also a link to a publication titled "Redditnet Guide to Extreme EmComm", which he apparently whipped out after returning from his service in Puerto Rico.

    This PDF doc is extraordinarily well composed. It contains all the pertinent info of the video and more, and I found it much easier and faster to read it then watch. It should be required for all involved in EMCOMM at ARRL or elsewhere.

    If you're primarily interested in the aggravating issues he encountered, use the search feature, Control-F, and look for the second instance of the word WinLink. This is at the beginning of the section titled "What didn't work for me", which is about 75% toward the end.

    73 de John WØPV
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    KX4O, NS0S and KG7LEA like this.
  3. N8PVW

    N8PVW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very unfortunate but you hit the nail on the head. I have been involved in SAR/DR for over 5 decades both as a paid professional and a volunteer. The amateur radio community did some great service in this case and not all of it was just with a microphone. But the government and NGO's failed miserably especially in support of their volunteers. I straddle both sides of the fence. I am one of "those government guy's ". In this case the feds were totally unprepared and still running to catch up. As I stated I see things from the inside and don't like what I have seen. On the other side you can't expect volunteers no matter how well trained to be a factor without proper support. And they just didn't get it. Their were some bad actors among the ham ops sent to PR but a tiny minority. I am proud to be a member of the amateur radio fraternity. From that "government guy" to you I want to let you know that the people of Puerto Rico are well aware of what you did and are still trying to do and are very thankful. But the communications situation on the island is still dire. Thousands still have no way to summon medical assistance and the medical professionals still have virtually no internal communications ability no matter what the government is telling you. I am getting my info from other professionals returning from the scene. The need for every kind of assistance is still there.
    KG7LEA, NS0S and W1YW like this.
  4. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    What screening would preclude an issue such as this in the future?
  5. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is there more information about this?
  6. W4AUE

    W4AUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Officer Candidate School (military), Overseas Deployment experience (5 years), EMT & Firefighter certification and experience, or 2000 hrs pilot in command! It takes honest and real experience to deal effectively with a real crisis like PR. An if you haven't had a team member die in your arms, you should probably stay at home for something like MARIA!
    AI7PM likes this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think anyone will get the allusion;-)

    Twenty years of working with those type of give your respect early. Their BS tolerance is understandably low.

    Apologies for calling NS0S 'Richard'...he prefers 'Jeremy'. The only thing he shares in common with 'arrows', broken or other wise, is that he's a straight shooter.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    NS0S, AI7PM and KG7LEA like this.
  8. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The final screening and selection was made by the ARC, who no doubt weighted their criteria more then the ARRL's who may have just forwarded the data they collected.

    The fault in the search and qualifying process was it being so ACCELERATED. No face to face interview, simply a telephone interrogation by the ARC running down a check list again. Was the stipulated background check even done, if so, to what quality, ie, credit check, DL/NCIC, FBI fingerprints.

    Most of all there was no requirement for verified personal references of trusted quality to vouch for their interpersonal abilities and team-player characteristics.

    NSØS comes off as a poster-boy candidate, no question why he was selected. His qualities are probably fairly rare, although not perfect. IMO his recount is indicative of relatively low HF prop experience, a gap that may have tilted his opinion of WinLink a bit more negative.

    Why the heck doesn't the ARRL ARES/RACES maintain a national database of WELL VETTED, QUALIFIED, TRAINED and/or EQUIPPED volunteer candidates, like Jeremy or Mike. Prescreened to be drafted for possible deployments like these.

    I have always assumed that was the business they were in. Why was it necessary to put out a bulletin pulling in even non-member new volunteers out of the blue? I hear ARES practice nets on VHF every week. What else are they doing all the time.
    WA5VHU and AI7PM like this.
  9. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would a reference from an ARES Emergency Coordinator or a Comm-L serve this purpose? Chris Doe from Dover volunteers. The recruiting agency checks with the Dover ARES emergency coordinator for a thumbs up or thumbs down. Like any background check the response is confidential.

    A national database requires constant updating.

    As for fingerprints and credit check, what does that show? My credit is locked down due to the recent data breach.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey, why send W0PV when we can send a 19 year old with seasoned, proven leadership qualities?

    KG7LEA, AI7PM, W0PV and 1 other person like this.

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