New Hurricane Heading for Florida Panhandle

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by NL7W, Oct 9, 2018.

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  1. N5PZJ

    N5PZJ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not immune, but Cell Towers along the Gulf Coast in most but not all instances are built with their equipment on the ground instead of elevated above 10-15 feet off the ground, use regular heliax without hard shielding, high wind loading antennas. Scanty Battery Back up. Remember, commercial stuff is built on Economy by the order of fast, quick and cheap. Assembly line techniques. Microwave linking.

    A little Caveat: Before Katrina, Cell Phones were sold in Louisiana as that must have piece of safety equipment for Hurricanes, after the debacle of Katrina and Law Suits, Cell Phone Companies put specific emergency disclaimers in their contracts.
     
  2. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find it hard to believe that the local cell carriers are really less reliable than the local repeater -- which, by the way, can accommodate exactly one QSO at a time when it is working.

    Enjoy your emcomm career. The truth is that amateur "emcomm" has virtually no value in 2018. In 1970, amateur radio was much more on par with other communications services. Today, professional communications providers and services are far better prepared for a disaster than amateurs. They can afford the infrastructure, after all. Amateurs really can't.
     
    KA4DPO likes this.
  3. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I spent several years in trunking & radio maintenance prior to the introduction of Cellular. Considering the amount of equipment and complexity of the network, TELCOs have always had excellent reliability. They plan on the availability of circuits to handle a certain "load" of calls. When it reaches N+1, someone's call doesn't happen. When a disaster happens, everyone and his brother is calling to find out if everyone else is OK. LOTS of calls don't make it... those callers get an ATB (All Trunks Busy) fast busy signal or recording.
    Yep. ALL TELCO installations are engineered to withstand yuuge environmental conditions (most outages are human-caused).

    It's common for high traffic installations to use some form of multiplexing. I recall taking care of thousands of trunks running on a single microwave hop. I imagine today, with a yuuge increase in population, the amount has skyrocketed. And still, reliability is excellent. :)
     
    N2EY, KA4DPO, K0IDT and 1 other person like this.
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Any Port in a Storm is a help, eh?"
    Yup!

    On the positive side...
    Here in little isolated Vieques two community groups have initiated 'training' for radio operators for emergency (local-level) communications. One group is focusing on licensing new amateur radio operators and the other is oriented around MURS license-free operation. The two are not totally independent of each other and hopefully in the long run there will evolve some practical protocol of how they interact.
    The worst that could happen is that there would be a couple dozen people in the community that at least have an available piece of equipment and a bit of knowledge of how to use it. We didn't have that before.

    Just the other day the Governor visited the island (for a different reason) and visited their setup. There's a YT video of him clearly talking (as a third-party op) to a ham in Utuado which is located in the center of the main island and heavily affected and was cut off for a long while. If Vieques can communicate with Utuado then that's a grand leap forward because we both went for a month not having any communication. The people involved in these efforts are consciously working towards setting up and being clearinghouses for intergrating communications with the first-line agencies.

    Its doable. It takes people committed to the task of organization. Radios are the easy part and one ham with a Baofeng doesn't count for much.
     
    N2EY, N5PZJ and K0IDT like this.
  5. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm confused on this, are you saying a properly maintained $5k radio never fails? You said earlier that the high dollar radios failed but the ham, with possibly a $30 HT, came to the rescue? Plenty of documented failures of both types
    in the after action reports.
     
    KA4DPO likes this.
  6. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I'll agree with this. Organization and corporate effort is what makes most amateur infrastructure very different from professional ones. The latter have it and know how to use it. The former tend to not.
     
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Having been involved in the commercial FM two-way radio arena since 1965, as a technician, as a service shop manager (both when I was in college), owing the Motorola reconditioned equipment center for the south-central United States for going on 10-years, owning sales / service / light manufacturing companies for almost 10-years, and finally, since 1989, as a telecommunications consultant. I also had BICSI RCDD certification until I, basically, retired although I still do some occasional consulting. Murphy NEVER takes a vacation!

    The best maintained, top of the line, equipment can, and does, fail and, since Murphy is on the job, at the worst possible time. Systems can be built that are not likely to fail. However, having a system that is over 90% reliable is expensive, systems that are 95% reliable are really expensive, and a system that is 99% reliable costs a fortune and those are going to be like those used by the military for critical purposes. Even the Federal Government goes for a 90% system, or even less, reliability for the majority of their two-way radio systems followed by 95% reliability systems.

    Coverage is another factor that enters into the equation. Frankly, there are no known two-way systems / communications systems that are 100%. The average commercial two-way radio system covers 70% of the indicated area 70% of the time for a 49% reliability factor. As the coverage percentage goes up, so does the cost. A system that covers 80% of the area 80% of the time has a reliability factor of 64%. A really good system that covers 90% of the area 90% of the time, with a reliability factor of 81% and those start getting expensive. Going to a system that has coverage of 95% the area 95% of the time has a reliability factor of 90% and a system that covers 99% of the area 99% of the time (which is almost impossible to achieve), has a reliability factor of 98%.

    To achieve a reliability of 90%, or more, is going to involve at least 1 backup system and the higher reliability percentage the more backup systems are required. Besides the military, there are VERY few organizations (including governmental) that can even come close to being able to afford such a system.

    In the past, amateur radio did play a very important role in emergency communications. Unfortunately, today, the chances of "saving the world" using amateur radio are so remote as to be statistically zero. Yes, there are situations where amateur radio has played a first line role. However, not really so these days.

    Amateur radio often plays a definite role in health and welfare traffic but not for first responder applications. It is unfortunate, but, in the not so recent past the ARRL used emergency communications to recruit new amateur radio operators and then to gain those persons as ARRL members. The majority of those operators never really even got on the air and a significant number of those operators have to look at their license to even know their call sign.

    I am not "knocking" those operators who are volunteering with such agencies as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc. But, those operators are working with an established network and not as "walk on" participants.

    Glen, K9STH
     
    KA4DPO, N5PZJ, NL7W and 2 others like this.
  8. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    yabbut...when the professionals break down its left to the civic-minded groups. When their whizz-bang trunked digital towers blow down and fiber is disrupted and interconnectivity is broken the locals can pull out their Baofengs and re-establish some level of communication.
    Sounds kind of like doomsday/prepper stuff until it actually happens in your community.
     
    N5PZJ likes this.
  9. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    And that may be a practical solution where you are, I don't know. Around here, the amateurs have essentially no capacity nor coordination to deal with a PR-scale hurricane, or similar sized disaster. They would be in the shelters with everybody else, and their few repeaters on the ground.
     
  10. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Steve,

    Yes, Keesler survives and, to some degree thrives, due mostly to Trent Lott

    73
     
    NL7W likes this.

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