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U.S.Navy Wireless System Backs Up Olympic Security

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W4LOU, Feb 22, 2002.

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  1. N3WJL

    N3WJL Ham Member QRZ Page

    A fewe years back FEMA had a drill here in Pittsburgh PA. along with the local EMS and Police. FEMA brough in a portable VHF repeater to use but it didn't work! Unlike the FEMA reapeater that sits around for a year or more unused in a warehouse our HAM repeaters are used everyday. Even if one of our HAM repeaters was down there are other that can cover the same area. We don't have that single point of failure.

    Most agencies such as the Red Cross and county/local EMS, Fire and Police don't have the money to create a moblie communications center such as the Navy one.

    Our roll may be reduced but I still think there is a use for HAMS.

  2. K7AEC

    K7AEC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    High-tech also means "high-dollar" and you won't find the Navy providing these to communities and, you will certainly not find communities jumping on the bandwagon to buy them!  In fact, savvy, experienced emergency management people understand the viability of basic point-to-point communications (that's us) during emergencies.  

    This was a good test for this equipment but, it is designed for critical situations including combat or overseas military actions, not for disaster situations.  By the time this piece of equipment is made available and is transported to the site, an emergency is well under control and it's services won't be needed any longer.  

    Don't sing the "doomsday" song for ham radio any too soon.  The new 800MHz system will take years to put in place and not all areas are going to fork over taxpayer $$$ to do that until forced into it.  Even then, all that does is means the federal agencies can communicate with state and local agencies, much as they do now except less efficiently.

    Bottom line is that ham radio volunteers, however fewer their numbers may be, are still their best bargain. Money doesn't just 'happen' for emergency management and preparedness and mitigation usually take a back seat to other needs in local government.  Mandating 'high-tech' doesn't work because the fed's don't control local revenue. [​IMG]
  3. ornurse362

    ornurse362 QRZ Member QRZ Page

    Not meaning to start a flame war here, but .....

    For example, in this situation, the US NAVY has the expertise, the resources, and the ability to station one or more communications teams in Salt Lake City for emergency communications.  

    Again as I said, almost anything is possible when there is seven years to plan, virtually unlimited resources, and failure is not an option.

    How many amateurs could have afforded to take just the 17 days of the actual Olympics (not to mention pre- and post-Olympic needs) off work?

    Right off the top of my head, I can name about 20 amateurs who were deeply involved in SLC 2002 planning, starting more than year ago.  During the Olympics, there were approximately 125 amateur operators working at the venues, 24/7.

    Not I!  And probably not you, either.
    You are correct.  I myself only worked 12 of the 17 days.

  4. W8JSA

    W8JSA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to do that kind of EMCOMM work when I was in the military. Most of it was to show that we had the resources but we cerntainly did have the manpower to handle a long term situation like WTC towers, etc. Many of you probably didn't hear that the USAF is beefing up the HF circuits. The fear is that satellites can be taken out as well as the ground stations.

    Gentlemen (and Ladies) I don't see anything to worry about. I just wish I could have been there to see the latest in comms toys.
  5. AC2UD

    AC2UD Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (KC7MAW @ Feb. 22 2002,21:19)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Well, the Amateur Community will never be able to compete with that kind of capability. However, the Navy isn't going put one of those in every community either.

    Fine Job by the Government for putting some resources at the games. I don't think your standard group of ACS/RACES guys with their 2M circuits are going to be much good to 70,000 people in such a concentrated area if a crisis hits.

    It's a tough one for Hams though. Society is becoming increasingly more reliant on technology and in an emergency will need it to function. As amateurs, we need to be able to fill that need. When all the Lans go down, how can we help restore some connectivity. I'm not a whiz at Lan's or wireless data transfer, but it appears that we need to be able to establish some kind of wireless Local Area Network (I.P. based) with work stations at each ECC in your typical county. And perhaps be able to link one of those stations with the internet in the nearest un-affected area. Now we're talking expertise and financial resources beyond many of your typical hams.

    Very Tough Problem.


    Mike[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    With the price of wireless networking gear at such an affordable level (with prices still dropping), and 2.4ghz antennae so inexpensive and simple to homebrew; The restoration of network connectivity at least is well within our reach. Many non-hams responded in just this very manner during 911. see for more info.

    -73 de KC2HCL
  6. N2QGV

    N2QGV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    """I am suggesting for discussion that this is a "handrighting on the wall" event."""


    I believe the "handrighting" is that everyone wanted to get involved in a World Wide High Profile One Time Event that began and ended at specific times. Navy had to do something and someone found some budgeted funds. Not many bases and ships in those mountains. That Navy Humvee is now sitting around in a navy yard. Vehicle will soon be hauling garbage or something, and equipment will be installed back into fixed building it was borrowed from. If lucky, some Recruiter may have it for a while to Wow some people into signing up. This type of equipment or concept is not new to armed forces. Don't think National Guard has the budget to supply and maintain enough equipment to be of much use in unplanned emergency. Heck, the N.G. was lying about weekend personnel training numbers to keep the funds flowing.

    I have two questions to throw into the mix.
    1. How many Humvees would be needed for Federal, State, Local government agency support, along with all the humanitarian associations when the next hurricane Andrew roars across Florida? (Remember every town, city, county agency has lost communication ability, buildings, equipment, and even some personnel. There is no work place to go to even if workers had transportation and were able to get there.)

    2. Assuming that every government entity had their own Navy Humvee, how many technicians and support personnel would the Navy have to supply?

    I believe you may see that any Humvee's will only show up at high profile (lots of media) locations and perform it's primary and only function, to support Federal agencies. You know the Governor may need one, wonder if he belongs to the correct political party?

    Bottom line, there are many different types of communication needs based on the type and size of a disaster. ARES/RACES is written into almost every state and local disaster plan. There will always be more need than the available supply of ARES/RACES assistance and licensed operators.
    GET INVOLVED, you may enjoy it.

  7. ornurse362

    ornurse362 QRZ Member QRZ Page

    Just some more fuel for the fire .........

    At the Utah VHF Society annual meeting on March 2, I spoke with a local ham who had been involved in the technical planning for comm support at the SLC Winter Olympic Games.  He was also on a traveling tech team.  He had some familiarity with this HMMWV-mounted comm unit:

    (1)  As configured, it did not work and needed some "tweaking" to get it operational (I have no further info on this).

    (2)  As configured, this unit was not intended to be a replacement for a general public cellphone site.  It was/is intended to support relatively few cellphones for emergency ops in a fairly well delineated area.  There were options for connectivity to POTS though.

    (3)  The wide area and multiple venues of the SLC Winter Olympics really required several of these units.

    My additional, primarily gratuitous comments:

    (1)  Is this a solution looking for a problem to solve?

    (2)  IF (big 'if' there) this HMMWV-mounted comm site is to be included in local emergency ops, there needs to be a "concept of operations" on what it can or will do.

    (3)  Will this drive standardzation between frequencies and systems across the country?  I recall my GLCM time in Germany (1985+)...we AF folks could not directly communicate with Army units in the field except through SATCOMM or just by driving down the road for a face-to-face.

    (4)  There are a myriad other problems associated with using a non-standard vehicle.  I mean, who is going to drive it, and safely I might add.  HMMWVs are more difficult to turn over, but it can be done and IS done fairly frequently.  Also, WHEN there is a mechanical failure, who will fix it and with what parts?

    I don't disagree that this technology can be great in a major operation (national security event, natural disaster, "unnatural" disaster), where local, state, and federal resources are mobilized for an event of relatively long duration.  It cannot, though, be just dropped off so to speak; prior integration with local resources is mandatory. (Duh!  I do have a flair for stating the obvious.)

    There are no insurmountable problems with integrating ANYTHING into local emergency ops, but ya gotta have the time, money, resources, and most importantly, the will to do it.   If this is to be the future, I think the most logical place to preposition these assets would be with a state's National Guard unit(s).  I do not know how politically or economically palatable that would be though.

  8. W4AWM

    W4AWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wait until the terrorists come up with a neutron device. Only the boatanchor collectors will be able to get on the air. Why do you think the Russians still use tubes in some of their communications gear? It is not because they don't have the technology!

    73, W4AWM
  9. KB5YQH

    KB5YQH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think (hope) the future of ARES/RACES/MARS, etc is bright. The rage these days seems to be homeland defense. This poses significant challenges to the military - most of which are legal. We in the USA are not ready (nor should we be) for our soldiers to be policing our streets. Civilain agencies are the american way - the troops should be reserved for operations outside the borders (my opinion). The trouble is that we NEED to integrate our internal (civilian) security with our external (military) security to combat this sophisticated, global threat. The recent tragedy at Fort Bragg, NC proves it's broken. MAJ Bob Butts, US Army - KB5YQH
  10. KC7RAF

    KC7RAF Ham Member QRZ Page

    As a Ham VOLUNTEER to the UOPSC (Utah Olympic Public Safety Command) as a Communications Specialist (I do possess other credentials besides being a Ham) I would like to add a comment or two.
    The InfraLynx van and personnel appeared in the Utah area a week or so prior to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. The staff offered the services of the van should the need arise. As far as I know, no one in the UOPSC requested nor funded bringing the van and personnel to 'play' during the games. A situation arose in the Park City area that pointed up a need to beef up the communications at one of the non-competition venue sites. This required providing interoperability between the local law enforcement dispatch using the statewide 800 MHz trunked radio system, the temporary network of perimeter protection officers using VHF DoD analog radios and several Federal law enforcement special management teams using VHF digital radios. Knowing beforehand that the InfraLynx van had a JPS ACU-1000 interoperability box aboard, my UOPSC boss inquired if the InfraLynx personnel would like to 'play' rather than just cooling their heels in an area parking lot. They, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

    The InfraLynx van is an impressive collection of communications equipment but this particular application was not a good fit for its capabilities. The only VHF radio available in the van suffered a failure during programming for operation on one of the required frequencies. The 800 MHz trunkable radio was not 'registered' into the statewide law enforcement trunked radio system and to do so would have required removing the custom mounted radio, taking it to Salt Lake City and returning it to the Park City area (about a 120 mile round trip) and a batch of paper work. Portable radios and JPS cables were provided by the various agencies and these were connected to the JPS ACU-1000 in the van. Ultimately, the van was used but only as an expensive house for 3 portable radios and a JPS interoperability box that had to be unracked in order to attach the different radios. We could as easily have taken one of our 5 spare ACU-1000 units on hand and placed it and the portable radios in the Park City office building and saved several days of diesel fuel burned by the van during it's 'inservice' period. Hopefully however, the personnel gained some insight as to possible uses and improvements that would make the van more flexible.

    My point in all the above rambling is that the InfraLynx van has a LOT of capability but not as much flexibility as this particular need required.

    On the Ham side, I would also add that approximately 200 Utah Ham volunteers provided their time and capabilities to all of the Olympic competition and non competition venue sites as well as various special management and agency command centers fulfilling many duties within the command centers at the request of Federal and State law enforcement agencies. They also stood by to provide back up communication should the various agency communication systems have been catastrophically interrupted. We also served side by side on technical support teams with Secret Service and military technicians. This was part of the overall security communications plan from its inception. For the Ham community to have been asked to fill such a role by Secret Service, FBI and military personnel was precedence setting to say the least, We hope we made the most of that opportunity. Management level personnel of the FBI, the Secret Service, the DoD, the Utah State Department of Public Safety and venue security commanders have gone out of their way to personally thank the Hams for our participation and assistance. We have been told that our presence contributed to the overall success of providing a safe and secure theater for the 2002 Olympic Winter games.

    Is amateur radio a dying breed, as some in this thread have indicated? It will be if we sit back and wring our hands and atrophy by not embracing new technologies while honing the skills we have learned over the years. Only by being professional in our capabilities and continuing to demonstrate and offer our services and skills will we, as a community of communicators, be able to make a difference when emergencies arise.

    Thanks for the loan of the soap box.
    73 to all de KC7RAF
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