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[Ham-80211] Re: Emergency Wireless Internet (Mark Miller)

Fri Oct 7 13:35:01 UTC 2005

As I sit at my desk, listening to the activity in Beaumont, Pt. Arthur,
Orange, Vidor and the surrounding area in the Golden Triangle of Texas via
the Armadillo Linked Repeater System (part of the Cactus System), and being
the head of the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief Incident Command Unit at
Kelly-USA, I think I have a pretty good feel for how emergency or rather
disaster relief and recovery communications is going and perhaps amateur
radio's roll in it.

First emergency communications is generally applicable to first
responders...that is generally not the roll that amateur radio operators
(aro) plays...it can and does, and generally if this is the case, it is done
using local repeaters and/or other V/UHF communications.  And, this is not
to say that HF communications does not enter the picture...it does.

But the major part of ARO communications comes in the disaster relief and
restoration stages and predominately in the relief stage.

While FEMA and all communications that fall under the Dept. of Homeland
Security (DHS) are employed during disaster relief, even with satellite
communications, these assets cannot keep up with the amount of
communications services needed or desired nor can the be at every location
that needs disaster relief (DR) communications.

Another point that both the ARRL President and COO have made to Congress is
that there is not formal infrastructure for ARO to follow making them useful
and able to fit into (augment) almost any communications requirement.
Additionally, since AROs generally use their "emergency" equipment
regularly, it is generally in better condition that radio equipment used by
units under DHS.

Added to that that AROs generally have a deeper understanding of the
technical aspects of their equipment, their ability to adapt to various
situations is much greater than communications under DHS.  The only resource
that comes close to that level of expertise if military communications.

I believe that it is in the best interest of ARO to have a strong local
cadre of AROs that practice DR communications as much as EComm at a local
level.  Local groups be it ARES or other "association" should network with
other area groups and build ad hoc networks be they HF, V/UHF or 802.11b,
etc.  Then expand into working a state network plan and practicing it.

What we might call experimentation could better be called practicing for
various scenarios.  Providing communications for parades, bike rides,
marathons, or any other similar type event helps us hone our capabilities
and prepare for real-world DR communications.

The bottom line is that I believe that there will always be a place for
amateur radio communications in Disaster Relief and Disaster Restoration
communications.  We just need to keep employing newer technology and not
pushing out the door old technology that has proven itself over time until
newer technology can prove it can replace previously used methods/modes.

Currently in the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief communications plan, our
first and last system to deploy is HF voice, then V/UHF linked systems and
simplex operations and finally satellite Internet operations based on home
satellite Internet equipment...that is deploying your home or RV system out
into the disaster area.  More on that at a later time.

What do we need in the way of technology?  From my position I would like to
see a very robust and fast HF data mode that can broadcast to many
stations...a mode that will have a throughput that can produce 2 to 3 pages
of text that is 99% error free and you can copy at or below the noise level
even if you are only running a 100 watt SSB type transmitter. I want to see
digital voice on HF that is robust enough to operate at or below the noise
level if you are only running a 100 watt SSB transceiver.  I want to see
digital voice and 128 KBPS data on the 70cm and 23cm bands and DV on 2M.  I
would like to see linked UHF systems using DV and data.  Do this and I will
be a happy camper.

Thanks and 73,

Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief
Mobile Incident Command Unit

-----Original Message-----
From: ham-80211-bounces at lists.tapr.org
[mailto:ham-80211-bounces at lists.tapr.org]On Behalf Of KC2MMi
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 6:05 PM
To: bwebster at wirelessmapping.com; TAPR Mailing List for Ham Radio Use of
Subject: Re: [Ham-80211] Re: Emergency Wireless Internet (Mark Miller)

Thank you, Brian. There's always more than the Nooze bothers to tell us.

<<Ham radio really needs to step up with this technology and learn how to
quickly deploy this same architecture and offer up the same services we

I'm not sure how interested ARRL/ARES is, in taking a national leadership
"control" role in emcomm, as opposed to the local feifdoms and variations
ARES has traditionally had. I'm not knocking either...but in this day and
and considering that folks are finally "getting it" that disaster planning
to be done in a uniform and reliable manner...

Who knows. Maybe Newington will express some leadership. Or (haha) maybe the
states and the fed will remember that "civil defense" already has a legal
infrastructure, and tradition. It was called "The Militia" before the first
National Guard designation was ever applied. It's a civil and government
function, and hams per se shouldn't need to do anything special, beyond
their skills to their local commands. When the members of a society
their government functions, and these things get taken care of. As one
author has remarked "We need more lions and tigers and bears oh my! On the
streets, every day, to cull the herd."

As if that's going to happen. (Not holding my breath--for the lions and
OR the societal responses.)

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