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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 04-23-2017, 11:10 AM
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..... But then each place is different........
Absolutely! I've experienced both ends of the spectrum.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:35 AM
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Instead of offensively pushing Ecomm/Emcomm to recruit people, they should be trying to get younger individuals interested in amateur radio.

I believe the Emcomm push has resulted in an initial numbers boost, but after 6mo-1yr most members lose interest and drop out or are put off by the fanatical fringe in Emcomm that cast a shadow:
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:43 PM
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[QUOTE=RayAir;2754673]Instead of offensively pushing Ecomm/Emcomm to recruit people, they should be trying to get younger individuals interested in amateur radio.

I believe the Emcomm push has resulted in an initial numbers boost, but after 6mo-1yr most members lose interest and drop out or are put off by the fanatical fringe in Emcomm that cast a shadow:[/QUOTE

Not sure what that picture proves as all SUVS have brake lights.
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Old 04-24-2017, 5:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
System owners and users may find it insulting, but I think that is because they are sold a bill of goods from Harris, Motorola, Tait et-all that these wiz bang networks will never fail, or get over loaded.

They feel insulted, until that network fails, and they have no way to effectively communicate. They are stuck with Sat phones, and runners.

Been there done that. Our local group has had to provide the conduit for EM officials communicate with a disaster zone 300km away from where provincial emergency managers were.

Does it happen every time? Nope. But everything can fail, and failing to plan is planning to fail.
Being fair, the PS systems have been made more robust, at least since Katrina. That lowers the chances of needing backup comms.

The systems do busy out. During a tornado event, a few years ago, the network managers were actively kicking TGs off towers in the affected area, if the TG had no use in that area. Just a few weeks ago, we had a major wind event, and it took over about two minutes to get a channel grant, so I could give my brief initial report, at a commercial structure fire.

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Old 04-24-2017, 2:42 PM
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Being fair, the PS systems have been made more robust, at least since Katrina. That lowers the chances of needing backup comms.

The systems do busy out. During a tornado event, a few years ago, the network managers were actively kicking TGs off towers in the affected area, if the TG had no use in that area. Just a few weeks ago, we had a major wind event, and it took over about two minutes to get a channel grant, so I could give my brief initial report, at a commercial structure fire.

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We do a lot of that. The VHF side of the system averages 5 channels per site, 3 sites per county. The 800 MHz sites have between 15 and 28 channels per site. So TG are always being optimized for affiliation.

I think we have 5 classes right now. Site wide, county wide, region wide, band wide (VHF and 800) and then system wide.

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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2017, 7:48 PM
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We do a lot of that. The VHF side of the system averages 5 channels per site, 3 sites per county. The 800 MHz sites have between 15 and 28 channels per site. So TG are always being optimized for affiliation.

I think we have 5 classes right now. Site wide, county wide, region wide, band wide (VHF and 800) and then system wide.

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Our P25 phase 1 network is mostly 700MHz with a splattering of single channel VHF sites. It will/is used by first responders and non first responder government users(transit, power companies ectera)

Rural sites are 4 RF channels. Only the urban sites, or sites near urban centres are more than 4 channels. I have a feeling that the first major disaster is going to be an eye opener. It will be a major eye opener if the disaster happens in an area that only has a single channel VHF site for coverage.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Our P25 phase 1 network is mostly 700MHz with a splattering of single channel VHF sites. It will/is used by first responders and non first responder government users(transit, power companies ectera)

Rural sites are 4 RF channels. Only the urban sites, or sites near urban centres are more than 4 channels. I have a feeling that the first major disaster is going to be an eye opener. It will be a major eye opener if the disaster happens in an area that only has a single channel VHF site for coverage.
Kayn - Sounds like you're in the business, that's awesome and would like to get an idea of possibilities. Possibilities that they have "planned" for or not. . Not to get into OpSec for where you know this information from, hypothetically speaking of course. What do you think will or can happen in a time of need?
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
...Rural sites are 4 RF channels. Only the urban sites, or sites near urban centres are more than 4 channels. I have a feeling that the first major disaster is going to be an eye opener. It will be a major eye opener if the disaster happens in an area that only has a single channel VHF site for coverage.
You've run into one of the fiscal realities that the political entities that fund these systems has to deal with. The technical and engineering types will jump up and down saying they need bandwidth and capacity, and the bean counters are jumping up and down saying it's too expensive. What gets built is somewhere in the middle of what's needed, and what's affordable.

Hopefully, it's at least a calculated risk, and those single channel sites won't be co-located with the next headlining disaster. You pays your money, and you takes your chances.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RayAir View Post
...Not trying to offend anyone, but this whole ARES/RACES/Emcomm gig is out of control.
Left unchecked, their reputation and the public's view of all amateur radio operators as a whole will be affected. The regular amateur radio operator will be lumped in the same category as the whacker by the public.

I'm sure others share this opinion.
To some degree, I share that opinion. Some organizations and the individuals that make them up are almost embarrassing, if you just lump them into the general category of ham radio operator. But...

...I prefer to think of amateur radio as just another tool in the toolbox for when the shtf. I've seen ARES/RACES organizations train their members to think of themselves as a replacement for the public safety system if a disaster takes it out. That's seriously misguided. For the most part, public safety is redundant, protected, and fairly robust.

What is needed is to sell amateur radio as an additional tool for auxiliary functions that are not necessarily life saving (although it can be) but are more a means of handling communications that are not important enough for a safety of life system and personnel, but are too important to just ignore. Ordering up 100 sandwiches and cases of water for the firemen saving actual lives, and the lives they just saved, comes to mind... that sort of thing.

There's a lot to ham radio to attract people, and there really is something for everyone. Emergency communications is just one small part of it. We're doing ourselves a disservice if we look down our noses at people who come into the hobby with that in mind. We should be showing them what else they can do with that license, and gently leaning them away from the mindset that locks us all in some negative stereotype.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:26 AM
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.

...I prefer to think of amateur radio as just another tool in the toolbox for when the shtf. I've seen ARES/RACES organizations train their members to think of themselves as a replacement for the public safety system if a disaster takes it out. That's seriously misguided. For the most part, public safety is redundant, protected, and fairly robust.

What is needed is to sell amateur radio as an additional tool for auxiliary functions that are not necessarily life saving (although it can be) but are more a means of handling communications that are not important enough for a safety of life system and personnel, but are too important to just ignore. Ordering up 100 sandwiches and cases of water for the firemen saving actual lives, and the lives they just saved, comes to mind... that sort of thing.

There's a lot to ham radio to attract people, and there really is something for everyone. Emergency communications is just one small part of it. We're doing ourselves a disservice if we look down our noses at people who come into the hobby with that in mind. We should be showing them what else they can do with that license, and gently leaning them away from the mindset that locks us all in some negative stereotype.
Out of all the posts about this... I must commend you for saying something that was very well said and explained.

I couldn't agree with anymore! %agreed
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Old 04-25-2017, 1:13 AM
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As much as I'd like to add something, I think y'all have covered most of the key points (poor organization, whackers, etc)

I would say that a large majority of the people that attend the local meetings do it just because there is not a bingo club meeting on the same night.

Now this is not a total blanket statement. There have actually been some very talented people that have come through the volunteer groups, but were quickly burned out (myself included).

Fortunately, these people usually get picked up by agencies and organizations that value, support and allow them to pursue their talents skills

I think if the whacker culture was willing to tone it down a bit, take their respective seats and be open to trying new things (P25, VOIP, etc.) instead of doing the same old (and often inefficient and pointless) crap, people would take amateur communications much more seriously and start to see them as more of an asset rather than a liability.

Just my $.02 cents
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2017, 8:38 AM
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Originally Posted by krokus View Post
Being fair, the PS systems have been made more robust, at least since Katrina. That lowers the chances of needing backup comms.

The systems do busy out. During a tornado event, a few years ago, the network managers were actively kicking TGs off towers in the affected area, if the TG had no use in that area. Just a few weeks ago, we had a major wind event, and it took over about two minutes to get a channel grant, so I could give my brief initial report, at a commercial structure fire.

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Agreed. The system busies are going to be an issue. Hopefully there are some really smart folks that will be able to keep a lid on the system busies in the event of a disaster. I am, how ever, not going to hold my breath. This is a new concept for majority of the network operators. What is really scary is that the back haul is a mix of commercial infrastructure and satellite links.Even with redundant network paths to each site, I fear what will happen if there is a major outage on the commercial infrastructure side because we all know how robust the Telco networks are.

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Kayn - Sounds like you're in the business, that's awesome and would like to get an idea of possibilities. Possibilities that they have "planned" for or not. . Not to get into OpSec for where you know this information from, hypothetically speaking of course. What do you think will or can happen in a time of need?
No I am not in the business. I just happen to understand what happens when there is a major disaster. EVERYONE wants to talk at the same time. The four channel sites really only have 3 voice paths... We have multiple law enforcement agencies that will/are using the system (RCMP, By-Law enforcement, Sheriffs, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Fish Cops) plus EMS Fire and other government agencies that are eligble to migrate. It will take nothing to busy out a 4 channel site out once you add in Emergency management.

These agencies are going to have to get used to talking to each other and get used to figuring out where the local, regional and provincial mutual aid talk groups are in their radios.

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Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
You've run into one of the fiscal realities that the political entities that fund these systems has to deal with... What gets built is somewhere in the middle of what's needed, and what's affordable.

Hopefully, it's at least a calculated risk, and those single channel sites won't be co-located with the next headlining disaster. You pays your money, and you takes your chances.
Thankfully the single channel sites are in really isolated, low population areas.

To give you an idea of the difference between want and reality... about a billion dollars, 95/95 Portable coverage versus 95/95 Primary and secondary highway Mobile coverage. The latter, which is what the bean counters settled on is around 350 Million dollars and somewhere between 350-450 million dollars spent to this point so far. The province has stated that if the municipalities want better coverage they have to pay to improve it.

Will this network work for average day to day operations? most likely. this is not the first kick at the cat for Harris. There are many examples of well made P25 systems from Harris and the network compliant radios are from everybody that makes 700MHz P25 phase one radios. Tait, Harris, Motorola, Kenwood/EFJ ect. so there is options for agencies.

What is sad is that those that want portable coverage are going to make Futurecom/Motorola salesmen happy, as I predict there will be a **** ton of mobile repeaters used on this network.
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2017, 10:07 AM
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I will only regard amateur radio as a hobby. In my area, also, the so called emcomm boys are a bunch of whackers. I have no respect for them whatsoever. I won't go on a rant. Just saying I prefer to keep the hobby a hobby.

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Old 04-25-2017, 12:08 PM
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Folks, the topic of this thread is whether or not "emergency communications" is driving the increase in licensed amateur radio operators.

Bashing amateur radio emcomm "whackers" is not on topic for this thread.

The configuration of public safety radio systems is not on topic for this thread.

Please stay on topic.
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Old 04-25-2017, 2:27 PM
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I will only regard amateur radio as a hobby.
Yep
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:14 PM
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I think if the whacker culture was willing to tone it down a bit, take their respective seats and be open to trying new things (P25, VOIP, etc.) instead of doing the same old (and often inefficient and pointless) crap...
I have a very strong opinion about this, particularly the part about P25 and VOIP. In considering ham radio as an emergency communications resource, one of the most useful aspects about it is that it brings a completely different set of toys to the party.

Public safety is using P25, and it's really not "all that and a bag of chips". It allows some functionality that's difficult or impossible to implement in analog, and narrower bandwidth at the cost of audio fidelity and intelligibility. VOIP depends on fixed infrastructure that might not be functional in an emergency.

Both are well worthy of amateur experimentation, but not at the expense of the single most valuable asset ham radio has, which is, we do things differently and separately from the "big boys". That diversity of technologies is the asset needing to be exploited.
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Old 04-26-2017, 4:00 AM
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I am surprised that no one has mentioned the times when commercial comms were down, and hams provided comms for PD and FD sites. I could see someone wanting to be a part of that aspect getting their ham license, but might lose interest, and/or let their license lapse, due to the infrequent activation. (Routine comms loss drills might help, and would be good practice.)

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by krokus View Post
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the times when commercial comms were down, and hams provided comms for PD and FD sites. I could see someone wanting to be a part of that aspect getting their ham license, but might lose interest, and/or let their license lapse, due to the infrequent activation. (Routine comms loss drills might help, and would be good practice.)

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That would be a location dependent thing. Around here there are so many other options if one repeater goes down. We have agreements to switch to a county sheriffs office secondary channel for our PD dispatch. Our officers can even switch to our relatively quiet fire dispatch channel if needed.
Add in all the simplex interoperability channels they have in their radios, and there really isn't much of a need to use amateur radio operators for something the officers can easily handle by changing channels on their radio.
At one time, this role for amateur radio may have been logical. It still probably is in some locations, but the need for this has really be reduced, even eliminated, in some areas.

I think amateurs need to find a different role they can fill, and not expect to be pressed into service as public safety dispatchers. Maybe getting beyond just being radio operators would be a good idea.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by K6IRM View Post
I think if the whacker culture was willing to tone it down a bit, take their respective seats and be open to trying new things (P25, VOIP, etc.) instead of doing the same old (and often inefficient and pointless) crap, people would take amateur communications much more seriously and start to see them as more of an asset rather than a liability.

Just my $.02 cents
I see your $.02 cents and raise you a nickel.

The need for amateur radio operators to replace a two way voice radio system has disappeared in many areas. Agreements between departments to share resources, multi channel radios, redundancy, etc. have all solved many of the issues.

Where I could see amateurs filling a role is to build out mesh networks. Most public safety radio data systems are "one deep". Little redundancy in most cases. In most cases what is needed is bandwidth for data. It's easy enough for a relatively untrained user to set up a satellite phone call. Even HF systems are becoming one button operations with ALE. The need for a dedicated person (or persons) to simply be a "radio operator" is very old thinking. That may have made sense in the days of tube radios, single channel radios, etc, but not any longer.

Where I would see a role is to quickly build out a data mesh network, with WiFi access points. While it would require a rule change, being able to provide bandwidth for the general public in a disaster would be something I'd value. With many cell phones being able to do "WiFi calling", send text messages via WiFi, even checking in with loved ones via e-mail, this would be something of tangible value.
We know that cellular systems quickly collapse in disasters. Either from physical damage or simply from being overloaded.
Time to get off the "public safety" trip and become "public service". We don't need more whackers. We don't need more people trying to be heroes.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:46 AM
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I am surprised that no one has mentioned the times when commercial comms were down, and hams provided comms for PD and FD sites. I could see someone wanting to be a part of that aspect getting their ham license, but might lose interest, and/or let their license lapse, due to the infrequent activation. (Routine comms loss drills might help, and would be good practice.)

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You are beginning to see that less and less though. The disasters over the last 16 years have been real wake-up calls for a lot of agencies. The need for auxiliary communications help of mission critical information is greatly decreased in many areas and often these amateur will generally be pushed off to secondary or tertiary roles.
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