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Old 11-07-2012, 10:49 AM
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Default Electronic Design magazine article about hams and disasters

Timely article by Don Tuite, NR7X on amateur radio's role in disasters, even in today's IT-based technologies. Well worth a read.

Amateur-Radio Emergency Services and Disasters
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:07 AM
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That was an interesting article. It makes one think about getting into the ham radio hobby, and the good things they accomplish.

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Old 11-08-2012, 8:39 AM
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Interesting.
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Old 11-08-2012, 3:52 PM
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As Arte Johnson would say; verrry interesting, but shtupid. The author is living in the past, hams are NOT first responders and those who think they are we call whackers. With today's communications infrastructure hams have been pushed into the background but we still perform an essential public service handling health and welfare traffic. Think twice about getting a license to be Johnny on the spot, you'll only get in the way, those days are over. That's in no way a discouragement, we NEED persons who can handle non emergency traffic in an emergency situation, people to reach out and put people in touch with their loved ones.
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:39 AM
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Originally Posted by kb2vxa View Post
As Arte Johnson would say; verrry interesting, but shtupid. The author is living in the past, hams are NOT first responders and those who think they are we call whackers. With today's communications infrastructure hams have been pushed into the background but we still perform an essential public service handling health and welfare traffic. Think twice about getting a license to be Johnny on the spot, you'll only get in the way, those days are over. That's in no way a discouragement, we NEED persons who can handle non emergency traffic in an emergency situation, people to reach out and put people in touch with their loved ones.
I agree with some of your points and disagree on others. You bet, hams should NEVER self-deploy, but DHS' AUX-COMM program encourages partnerships between the responder community and their local amateur radio community. In other words, there would be a pre-established rapport where the locals know exactly what and who to expect from the amateur community and they will work together in a space that's carved out for hams. It's a little more hands-on than simply starting a net (which remains EXTREMELY important, but is only important if there is someone in the affected area getting messages into and out of it - a Hurricane Sandy net on non-linked repeater in Salt Lake City is ridiculous). Nothing I said should be construed as giving the amateur community a license to put lights on their cars, come up on frequencies they're not authorized for, or show up at some incident and just start talking on the radio.
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:56 AM
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The 'whacker' tag is unnecessary, demeaning and diminishes us all when it's used. Plus, what do the Served Agencies think when we call each other vaguely obscene names? I know that's the goal of the 'just a hobby' people: to minimize EmComm, but those who hold the 'just a hobby' position need to reread the Purpose of the Service as defined in the Rules. Then, if you can't bear to accept the premise, at least keep silent and don't make a mess.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:27 PM
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My experience plus communication with other hams says the whacker tag IS necessary to separate the sheep from the goats but I'm not looking for an argument over trivia. My point is when working with emergency services and the Red Cross be prepared to WORK and be a gofer, they rely on their command structure and not us for communication. When it comes to health and welfare traffic they rely on us because they're too busy handling the emergency which is where the AUX-COM program and others come into play. The key word in that acronym is auxiliary, not primary. We work with their liaison officers where that's concerned, otherwise simply as volunteers in a Red Cross shelter as an example.

Oh and BTW the Hurricane Net is on HF and not repeaters for rather obvious reasons. Also the FCC reserves segments of various bands for emergency communications when an emergency is declared and sends out bulletins laying them out so hams can avoid them and not interfere with their everyday traffic.

That brings me around to my adventure in a shelter where I hooked up with a volunteer who was in AF MARS and we had some interesting conversations about Collins equipment and communications. You meet some interesting people in a hurricane.
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Old 11-09-2012, 3:20 PM
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The 'whacker' tag is unnecessary, demeaning and diminishes us all when it's used.
You bet it is. There are amateurs, however, who earn the title. And the same can be said for firefighters, EMTs, and even police officers. For most people, it's a question of maturity. Some grow out of it. I did (or maybe more appropriately all of the toys out-priced me once my wife and I began to have children).

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Plus, what do the Served Agencies think when we call each other vaguely obscene names?
Having worked in a "served agency," you should hear what we each called ourselves. Or maybe not.

The biggest take-away needs to be this: a pre-established rapport.

In 1999, when we were still discussing Y2K, the FBI field office which served my region hosted a big "Y'all come!" barbecue/dog and pony show. So, what was the point? We all got together. We were made to sit at different tables from people we knew or worked with. There were silly games and raffles for little prizes. It was fun. And why? Because after the event, we knew names, faces, capabilities, and recognized the other guy/gal as a cooperator and not "them." "They" didn't truck in these resources that they obviously never had, only to disappoint. "They" were no longer a name and phone number on a directory or in a plan. "They" became Frank, or Jill, or Pete. Someone you knew and they knew you. You could pick up the phone and call them. It was an icebreaker to remove the formal B.S. that might prevent effective cooperation. Superbly done by the Bureau!

Over the years later, we were able to work together across agency and jurisdictional boundaries and political barriers because if we weren't friends, we at least knew of each other. Fires, ice storms, epidemics that never came, federal grants, all had a residual effect from this shindig.

My point is, if no one knows you, if you don't know them, if you're just meeting for the first time at an incident and you have no official affiliation, and no one called you, then no one trusts you or knows what capabilities you have or do not have. You will either be turned away, placed in the back of a police car for your own safety and so no one will have to watch you, or ignored. If you get injured, you are essentially on your own. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it's ALL about rapport.

Hey Warren - are you high and dry? I read you had to do mandatory evacuation. Hope you're okay. My mother (south of you) says she got 5 feet of water and sand in the house. Pretty much had to get everything put out by the curb. Hmmm... I'm ex AF MARS in NJ. Remember who the Collins fan was?
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Old 11-09-2012, 3:41 PM
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902, we're going to need to agree to disagree. I personally won't be shutting up on the subject until that word is driven from the lexicon with fire and sword. No place for it. No place for the opinion that breeds it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 3:55 PM
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902, we're going to need to agree to disagree. I personally won't be shutting up on the subject until that word is driven from the lexicon with fire and sword. No place for it. No place for the opinion that breeds it.
I respect that. Hopefully you are also taking the opportunity to guide others by example. 73!
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Old 11-12-2012, 8:03 PM
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"Hey Warren - are you high and dry? I read you had to do mandatory evacuation. Hope you're okay."
Just fine now that things a bit farther inland are back to normal. High is dry, a few feet make all the difference between water in the basement and wipeout.

"My mother (south of you) says she got 5 feet of water and sand in the house. Pretty much had to get everything put out by the curb."
That's not all, her house surely was declared uninhabitable until the water damage and resulting health hazard from mold have been fixed. JCP&L will not restore power until electrical systems have been replaced and inspected, sorry to say she has a long way to go.

"Hmmm... I'm ex AF MARS in NJ. Remember who the Collins fan was?"
All I know is his name is Don, about 5-10, middle aged, bald and wears glasses. He was the smartest one of the bunch who put me in touch with those who could help me get out of there and a constant contact in the last days. As I left I thanked him and said I hope I never see you again, he smiled and waved goodbye.

By a strange coincidence he looks a bit like Don S. Davis who played General Hammond in Stargate SG-1.
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Old 11-13-2012, 5:04 AM
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...but DHS' AUX-COMM program encourages partnerships between the responder community and their local amateur radio community.
I took one of those courses earlier this year. When the instructor got to the part about physical appearance and mentioned how we should show up, when deployed to an incident, wearing something along the lines of a plain polo shirt, we all looked at the one guy in the class who was wearing a white button-down uniform shirt with epaulets and patches.

Yes, there are whackers at all levels of amateur radio.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:20 AM
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Just fine now that things a bit farther inland are back to normal. High is dry, a few feet make all the difference between water in the basement and wipeout.
(snip)
That's not all, her house surely was declared uninhabitable until the water damage and resulting health hazard from mold have been fixed. JCP&L will not restore power until electrical systems have been replaced and inspected, sorry to say she has a long way to go.
(snip)
By a strange coincidence he looks a bit like Don S. Davis who played General Hammond in Stargate SG-1.
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LOL, I'm an SG1 fan, too. That is Don Davis. Well, I'd have to imagine the Dr. Davis look-alike with more hair and maybe thinner since my MARS days were 3 decades ago. Then again, he'd have to imagine me with dark hair and thinner, too. I'm glad you're okay and I'm glad he was there to help.

Things are going to be challenging for my mother and her shore house. I'm not sure what she and her significant other will do about it. I think they're still in shock over the damage. They would spend a few weeks north and a few weeks south as they pleased since her retirement. She's fortunate to have kept her place up north, although its roof was damaged. Seems every community has been affected.

My older daughter (an extra class ham) wanted to go up and help. I would, too, if I could leave work and still have a job to come back to. But with so much going on up there, we would be a strain on family there. We'll wait for things to settle first. There will be plenty to do. As for her, she really wants to do something when these things happen, so she's been looking at joining the National Guard. We live on a barrier island that's a lot like LBI, and it's a very real possibility that what happened in NJ and NY could happen here.
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Old 11-13-2012, 3:13 PM
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"902, we're going to need to agree to disagree."
That shows respect well earned, I'm sure it will be returned in kind.

"I personally won't be shutting up on the subject until that word is driven from the lexicon with fire and sword."
Sort of two faced isn't it? Here's the reasoning, the more attention you give the opposition the stronger they become. If you don't toss coal on the fire it will eventually go out, trouble is others not so smart will continue to toss. At least if you stand back you won't get burned.

"We'll wait for things to settle first. There will be plenty to do."
When things are settled there will be reconstruction, plenty of work for tradesmen.

"As for her, she really wants to do something when these things happen, so she's been looking at joining the National Guard."
That's an excellent way to help in any sort of emergency, that's what the Guard does best from an armed military point of view. My neighbor who works in the local supermarket was called up, aside from escort duties I heard they arrested hundreds of looters. I saw him back at work the other day, their job is over.

"We live on a barrier island that's a lot like LBI, and it's a very real possibility that what happened in NJ and NY could happen here."
Yup, Mother Nature plays with Earth, Wind & Fire and I don't mean she's a member of the band. There's no safe place on Earth, depending on where you live sooner or later one will get you. That's life, that's what all the people say, riding high in April, shot down in May............

Sorry Frank but Halloween was just a bit more frightening this year.
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