HamRadioNow: Eclipsing ARES

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KN4AQ, Aug 7, 2017.

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  1. KN4AQ

    KN4AQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    The upcoming total eclipse is generating a lot of interest among hams. We'll have a big QSO Party and the propagation studies and Special Event stations will all be fun.

    Overlooked is the ARES/EmComm component.

    But consider that millions of people are expected to flood into the relatively narrow 70-mile wide zone of totality. It will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, and cover a few metro areas. Most of it will be rural, or very rural. No one can accurately predict what will happen because this Eclipse is unprecedented in a century. Officials are confident that urban areas will experience gridlock, and probably cell phone overload. Small towns are expecting their populations to quadruple or more... and cell phone overload. Very rural areas are harder to predict. They already don't have much cell phone coverage.

    There will be emergencies. And emergencies + limited communications = Amateur Radio.

    HRN 340 POSTER Square.jpg

    In two recent HamRadioNow episodes, co-host David Goldenberg W0DHG and I have looked into the ARES/EmComm aspect of the Eclipse. Episode 340 began as an off-line Skype conversation about lack of any EmComm related Eclipse publicity , until we realized there was 'episode fodder' going to waste. I pushed the Facebook Live button, and later made it a real episode. The video quality, pulled from Facebook, isn't our usual high-def image, but it's good enough.

    We got immediate feedback from several viewers that there was indeed some preparation happening in local ARES groups. So we rushed Episode 341 into production with Dan Reid W7DMR and Besty Reid K7BTS, EC and AEC for Benton County OR, just inland from where the Eclipse will make initial 'landfall'. They will have an ARES/RACES net running, as will hams in many other areas of the country in the Eclipse path.

    HRN 341 POSTER Don Betsy CU 250.jpg

    We added the HamKID, 13-year-old Sam Reynolds KM4WDK. Sam and family are a good example of people who will travel into the Eclipse Zone from a few hours away. Lots of hams will be among them, and some may encounter emergency situations. We wondered if those hams will be prepared with knowledge of ARES frequencies nets, because that information isn't widely available.

    Since this was a hurry-up show, some of the hams we invited weren't able to participate. So we're planning one more pre-Eclipse show for next weekend, and I expect we'll do a post-Eclipse show afterward to see how things went. Maybe we'll get some of the QSO Party hams involved in that one, too.

    If you're ARES/EmComm group is going to be active during the Eclipse, and you want to be part of next weekend's show, please drop David a line: W0DHG@arrl.net will get to him. You'll need Skype video. We don't have a specific time, but the last one was at 4 PM Eastern, 1 PM Pacific on Sunday, and that's a likely target. There are a lot of moving pieces in bringing people together for shows like this.

    73, Gary KN4AQ

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  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't get it.

    MOST of the alleged 'problems' will be traffic related. Comms may be a small problem, but we've weathered traffic jams before. Think Woodstock or Watkins Glen, for example.

    So what, exactly, doe ARES do 'when all else fails'? Hams have no bead on getting from point A to point B to report and aid, any more than the people IN the traffic jams. Are you suggesting that those STUCK in the traffic jams, who happen to have HT's or VHF mobile, use the repeaters in a concerted way?


    Little late to coordinate that...

    Again, what exactly is being coordinated, that requires ham radio?

    I will be in one of those alleged 'rural' areas in southern Kentucky. IF there is coordination tell me NOW so I know to bring an HT or mobile. Otherwise I will not: 2M is a cesspool usually.
    KB0HAZ, NU4R, AD5KO and 2 others like this.
  3. KM4KGN

    KM4KGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sure there will be some minor problems, but I think they are over-estimating things quite a bit...
    KB0HAZ, KA0KA, KX4O and 3 others like this.
  4. K9GLS

    K9GLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    AD5KO, KB0HAZ, WB4WHJ and 7 others like this.
  5. N6QIC

    N6QIC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree with you, I don't get it either, its just an eclipse. I have not heard anyone talking about it at work or on the street. The only people that are talking about it are a few on ham radio, and those that are trying to make money from it.

    Looks like some in ham radio just want to make an emergency out of nothing. Maybe it makes them feel important, Im not sure cause I don't get it. Long, long ago I had my Red Cross badge, went to the meetings and all that, what a joke. It has been 30 years now and I still have not seen the big emergency.

    Its just another day, it will get dark then light again, no emergency unless you make it one.
    W4WAL and KA0KA like this.
  6. N6ONC

    N6ONC Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. K9JDN

    K9JDN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't see this event as being on the level of a Cat 3 or greater hurricane, earthquake or blizzard where communications might be affected for some extended period of time. Granted, there may be short term problems with cell towers, PS radio communications and traffic jams, but probably nothing that's going to last longer than 24 hours.

    Sorry Gary, I think these episodes verge a little bit on the "chicken little" side of things! It might be a blessing that you won't have any communications capabilities in Wyoming, so you can enjoy the experience of the solar eclipse totality!
    AD5KO, KA0KA and N6QIC like this.
  8. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why do we need nets for a couple of minutes of the moon passing in front of the sun? The sun sets every night providing full darkness, unlike this event which will provide a dusk like situation for a couple of minutes. This isn't a natural disaster, it's an eclipse.
    N6SPP, AD5KO, KA0KA and 1 other person like this.
  9. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed. A solution in search of a problem, perhaps?

    When I watch the evening news, I see that this trend extends beyond hams. People seem to need drama and calamity. Perhaps it's boredom. Perhaps it's lack of other meaningful life challenges. Perhaps people just need to anticipate calamity to add some purpose or excitement to their lives. After all, dystopia and natural disasters are both popular genres in literature. CBS is currently running a new series about a killer asteroid headed towards the Earth. There have been several movies made on that subject alone.

    Maybe some people just need some "emergency" in their lives, whether real or perceived, to make it interesting.
    AD5KO, KA0KA, NS8N and 1 other person like this.
  10. G3SEA

    G3SEA Ham Member QRZ Page

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