JS8Call for Emergency Communications

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KM4ACK, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. KX4O

    KX4O Ham Member QRZ Page

    The peer to peer nature of JS8 appears to enable individual self-assistance in the form of loose confederation as opposed to some form of strict, top down discipline. In such environments, nature quickly sorts out the winning and losing schemes... including "top down." The winner of the KISS award evolves over time.

    The tie to APRS-IS I didn't know about making this even more interesting. If nothing else, JS8 shows fresh, out of the box thinking unique to the ham world. That this is perceived by some as a threat to the EMCOMM status quo suggests JS8 and other efforts like it are on the right track.

    "Nobody ever understands what a pioneer is doing."
    ― Timothy Leary

    “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”

    ― Albert Einstein

    “Critics are loud, but success is louder.”

    ― Matshona Dhliwayo

    “Don't be a prisoner of the past, become a pioneer of the future.”

    ― Farshad Asl​

    If we are honest, the need for top-down EMCOMM is questionable except for, maybe, select events. Even then we hams can take care of ourselves to some degree with the bands available for our use to organize our interests and personal needs. If we take care of ourselves, authorities have less to worry about. That any of this helps the general public is a bonus, not a requirement.


    Please stay out of the way of our pioneers.
    KN4EBW, KK4HPY, W8APP and 1 other person like this.
  2. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just use CW
    VE7YE likes this.
  3. KD7YVV

    KD7YVV Ham Member QRZ Page

    First off, when I first joined my ARES group, the number one rule was never ever ever self-deploy.
    During an emergency or disaster, the list I followed was:

    1. Assess myself. Was I injured, or otherwise incapacitated?
    2. Assess my family. Were they injured, or otherwise incapacitated?
    3. Assess my domicile. Was my apartment still habitable?
    4. Check on neighbors, elderly or not to see if they needed anything.
    5. Use radio to see if the ARES net has been activated, and if so, inform them
    of the findings of 1-4. Now, that's one neighborhood/apartment complex they
    don't need to worry about.

    6. If indeed activated, deploy to my assigned fire station (a few blocks away)
    and activate the radio equipment there, and remain there to await further
    instructions, or deactivation.

    7. If sent to a shelter, do what that shelter (served agency) requires.
    I don't care if it's setting up cots, folding blankets, or lugging bottles of water.
    I'm there to serve that agency and that is what my training has taught me.

    Note, radio is not #1 on the list. I can't help anyone if I don't help myself first,
    and sitting there yakking on an HT unless requesting supplies/aid or sending the
    status of the area I am in, isn't going to help anyone.

    During one snowstorm in Kirkland, a few of the hams were on the repeater just talking
    about what things were like in their neighborhood. The EC came on the air, and while
    there was no activation, the informal chatter become somewhat more formal as various
    ARES members provided reports for their neighborhood while the rest of the hams on
    the repeater were kind enough to wait until the ARES members submitted informal information.
    Based on those informal reports, it was determined that no activation was needed and we didn't
    get that much snow, but it just goes to show you, even when you're just chatting on your local
    repeater one can still be of service. I have the training the City of Kirkland requires of me, and my
    station is always ready to serve if needed. Do I eat, sleep, and breathe emcomm every second of every
    day? No, I do not, but the knowledge and experience is good to have and my life is richer for it.
    Humans are a vocal species, and voice communication is one of the quickest ways to communicate.
    It's just my opinion (not worth anything these days) but as Scotty said in Star Trek III The Search For Spock,
    "The more they complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain" and introducing all these digital
    modes can slow things down. Something happens, and you have to "set up" your digital station.
    The KISS principle works. Unless you're transmitting a long list of supplies, in my opinion, voice works best.
    Whenever I go out, I always have my HT with me. Most of the time, it's off, but sometimes I turn it on and send my call.
    Now, if something happens that I become aware of, I'd turn the HT on and just listen.
    I have yet to mess with any of the digital modes to any extent, but in an emergency? Not the time to learn digital modes.
    As for me, I'm just a ham that the City of Kirkland knows about that they can rely on in the remote chance I'm needed.
    It's nice to learn new things, and being involved in ARES has taught me a lot, but I'd rather just have a good old ragchew.
    If ham radio became a job, then it wouldn't be fun anymore and I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I do.
    As far as emergencies go, see #1. :)
    KW4WL and K0UO like this.
  4. K6ETA

    K6ETA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been involved with ACS, RACES and ARES and regularly use WL2K and FLDigi for more regional comms (which is rarely our mission, we mostly provide local comms to EOCs, shelters, etc).

    One of the organizations I support (Marin RACES) is very encouraging of coordinated experimentation with the latest modes, tools and equipment. Until recently, the leadership of the other organization (Sonoma ACS, of which I'm a sworn-in active member) used the KISS doctrine with volunteers only really needing Push-To-Talk VHF skills. Thankfully Sonoma ACS now encourages use of WL2K, Packet, APRS and experimentation with HF digital modes. It took a few old curmudgeons stepping down to bring this about.

    Thankfully, the dogma of only using PTT on VHF or HF is finally falling away and many new capabilities are being tested, adopted and used in actual deployments. We don't need an actual emergency such as the fires we had here in Sonoma to put these capabilities to the test. We have multiple marathons, bicycle events and group hikes/runs to support in the field every year. At these events we do indeed use VHF and UHF voice repeaters as our primary tool – BUT we also use APRS, Packet Radio, Extended WIFI/Mesh, WL2K, and FLDigi to overcome many challenges where voice repeaters fail us.

    Lately Marin RACES has been looking closely at JS8Call as it even allows 'dead' bands to connect us in rugged terrain using ground wave and multi-path. You would be amazed at what 2M SSB or even the 'dead' 6M, 10M and other higher HF bands can do with JS8Call. If the repeaters were down, we could in theory very quickly have check-ins on JS8Call and then direct these stations to a simplex VHF or HF voice net, etc. Using @RACES call groups, we can automatically store and forward brief instructions of that nature to any member. We can also build a list of who is standing an their brief disposition. These are some things we are looking into.

    In the end JS8Call is just another arrow in the quiver – and is definitely worthy of testing, planning and possibly deployment as, YES, an EMCOMM tool. Should it replace voice, CW and faster digital modes? Heck no! Could it augment EMCOMM capabilities in several disaster or emergency scenarios? Absolutely.

    Steve K6ETA
    K0AN, W8APP, KF7VUT and 1 other person like this.
  5. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another good video,

    One of the aspects I like with JS8 is that it quickly creates a roster of who is in contact with whom. This means there is ZERO need for using time and power for long and unproductive roll calls. I don't have that kind of time or patience on a good day, and certainly not during difficult times. Naturally, all this is 'radio-apostasy' because I'm a Morse man, but if you won't tell anyone that I said something nice about a digital mode, I won't either ha ha

    73 de Ray ..._ ._
    KK4HPY, W8APP, KX4O and 1 other person like this.
  6. W8APP

    W8APP Ham Member QRZ Page

    And we wonder why it's difficult to get young people into the Amateur Radio Service. What astonishing arrogance on display.

    Could one share his opinion without doing so in such a condescending manner? What I hear is not the tone of a real leader but the tone of an individual who feels better about himself only after belittling another. Not a real leader and certainly not one represents this service very well.

    Now if you could humble yourself and take a real sober look at JS8Call and it's capabilities you might be able to see it's value in the Amateur Radio service. I suspect this is not about JS8Call or any other means of communication. It's really about someone other than you offering up an idea that doesn't fit in your tiny box.

    And yes, I have provided emergency communications using digital modes when the poor band conditions didn't allow for phone transmissions to get through and guess what? I didn't have to throw any credentials around either.

    I encourage KM4ACK and the many, many other ops who are true innovative leaders, to continue to explore and develop effective ways to serve their families, communities and the Amateur Radio service. It is this posture that will provide a bright future for Amateur Radio.
    KN4EBW, W2WF, KI4VEU and 7 others like this.
  7. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur radio has no place in emergency communications anymore. That died a long time ago. Today just rag chew, go over the obituaries of the day, and I am sicker than you is all I hear.
    N7ZDR likes this.
  8. KG5RBF

    KG5RBF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, NU4R simmer down my man.

    You undoubtedly probably have some valuable experience that we could learn from but your arrogance is astounding. Personally i cant look past it pick up any information you might have to offer.

    I have friends that im really trying to bring in this hobby. Frankly, attitudes like the one displayed do nothing to further the hobby or the service we can provide to the community. It certainly provides a sour taste to new comers.

    KM4ack Good video on js8call. By far my favorite mode with much potential. Once i get my HF set up running again i hope to be figuring out the nuances again.
    KK4HPY likes this.
  9. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well his bio says he works for NTSB and is VERY busy. That should scare all of us.
  10. N5KIR

    N5KIR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think JS8 has potential it reminds me of early Packet days sending messages to friends in my local area. JS8 learning curve is easier than Fldigi.
    Just to communicate like FT8 can reach out but being able to send messages that are not pre set is fun to me. It may not be the best for
    Emergencies but to just get a message someone is ok could mean a lot almost like trying to call someone your worried about.
    JS8 is just fun as many other modes. I hope it here to stay.

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