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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-31-2011, 12:14 AM
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Default USA TODAY: Ham Radio Operators Concerned About Losing Band

Ham radio operators concerned about losing band - USATODAY.com

Ham radio enthusiasts nationwide are concerned about a bill in Congress that they say would limit their ability to help in disasters and emergencies.

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, introduced legislation last month aimed at enhancing emergency communications for first responders by reallocating certain frequencies exclusively for public safety.

To offset lost revenue from that change, the bill includes a provision that would allow the 420-440 MHz frequencies currently provided free to amateur radio to be auctioned off.

Those frequencies are used not just by hobbyists but also by hundreds of thousands of Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers and severe-weather spotters working with National Weather Service

....(continued at link)
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Old 03-31-2011, 9:30 AM
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Old news, coupled with the fact that what this bill proposes usurps the mission and duties of the FCC.
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Old 03-31-2011, 9:46 AM
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It's funny how the media finds no value in ham radio untill it is the only means of communications into a disaster area...
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:30 AM
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How so, Congress sets law when it comes to the use of radio frequencies governed by the FCC. Congress tomorrow could take away all frequencies from everybody but Public Safety and get away with it. There is no constitutional amendment that allows the public to have any radio spectrum. Pretty scary if you think about it legally.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:57 AM
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If spectrum is such a precious resource, then maybe the FCC should 'price' it accordingly.
Including all levels of government.

Something really needs to be done to curb the hoarding of spectrum that's now taking place and replace it with a system that encourages conservation, sharing, and reuse.

What I find fishy is that the wireless providers are using 'lack of spectrum' as an excuse for poor service. Apparently they've conveniently forgotten that 'cells' can be divided into smaller 'cells' when they reach capacity. (1980's).
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Old 03-31-2011, 1:37 PM
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I believe they have already reached down to the smallest size they can go on each cell, about 1/4 mile. This is more about releasing the "D" block. I agree there are a lot of frequency hording, especially in the major metro areas. That won't change, in fact it will get worse if the licensee has to pay for it, then according to the rules they can sit on them as long as they like and or sell them for a higher price. Just think about all the old IMTS channels, in the NYC area the asking price for 1 channel is a million dollars, and I know they didn't pay much for them. The whole VHF IMTS block can be had for 7 million. That includes the channels between the channels. Those are the type of operations I would like to see the channels reclaimed for non use, but since they were bought at auction, they can sit forever unused.
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Old 03-31-2011, 2:38 PM
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Pull old news out of a dead thread, put it in a different one and it's new again. The horse rises again to be beaten one more time, how easily you forget.
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Old 03-31-2011, 4:13 PM
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I have zero doubt that the parts of the spectrum currently reserved for hams will be taken away, it's more a matter of when than if.

I know some think it's a great hobby, but in reality there are a lot more important things that could be done with that slice of spectrum than the rag chewing that happens there 99.9% of the time, where people talk about their aches and pains, weather, and of course, their radio equipment.

You always hear the old fallback that it's the only reliable means of communication following a disaster. However I have yet to see anyone post links to stories where hams with their HT's saved the day in any of the most recent disasters.

After Ike, people I know on the ground there told me that emergency responders had radio service thanks to a robust emergency backup plan and proper system planning. From what I understand hams at the most helped coordinate some food / water supply points, though the Red Cross which has it's own radio equipment was already doing that right off the bat as well. So even there the actual value of their services comes into question. I have searched, but never really found a single concrete example / source that shows that hams played any significant role in disaster relief in recent times, and ham radios have zero value to emergency responders who have far more robust equipment / systems / backup systems in place.

The hard reality is that ham radio is largely a vehicle for rag chewing and gadget play, and as spectrum becomes more precious it's going to go away, along with GMRS / FRS, since almost nobody in today's world uses such things other than a very small group (percentage-wise) of mostly older die-hards.

Nothing against ham operators here, but it is what it is.
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Last edited by PHOENIX_SCANNER; 03-31-2011 at 4:18 PM..
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Old 03-31-2011, 4:27 PM
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Uh, Phoenix_Scanner .... just because you don't read about it in the paper or online doesn't mean it didn't happen. You have no first hand knowledge of what you speak and thus the majority of your post is hearsay.

After Katrina, the majority of the communication from the coast to the capital was via linked ham repeaters that utilize the spectrum in question. For most hospitals as well as for emergency services the backup is amateur radio. Additionally, the frequencies in use by the Red Cross during emergency response are in the amateur bands.

Until you have been through it and have first hand knowledge, please refrain from relaying merely what you have heard.
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Old 03-31-2011, 4:55 PM
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PHOENIX_SCANNER,

You have no clue what your speaking of. Ham radio has done way more in emergencies then what you were so called told. 2007 wind storm here in Oregon took down power poles, and phone service to north part of the state, and Ham radio was main communication in and out of the area hit by the storm.

here article-
http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...myName=storage

What Congress is doing is wrong. But most of the Congress if not all, know none thing about what ham radio (ARES) does.

Last edited by Baker845; 03-31-2011 at 5:05 PM..
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Old 03-31-2011, 4:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHOENIX_SCANNER View Post
However I have yet to see anyone post links to stories where hams with their HT's saved the day in any of the most recent disasters.

I have searched, but never really found a single concrete example / source that shows that hams played any significant role in disaster relief in recent times, and ham radios have zero value to emergency responders who have far more robust equipment / systems / backup systems in place.
Perhaps if you search a bit harder (or smarter) next time you may come up with something like the three below. I'm not sure you'll give much credibility to the Bush Administration, but they were the top US Government agency at the time of the Huricane Katrina disaster. Their report indicates that ham operators could communicate when local agencies couldn't.

One --> Hams to the rescue - Technology & science - Wireless - msnbc.com
Two --> Old Technology Still Needed - CBS News
Three --> White House Katrina Report Praises Radio Amateurs

Quote:
The Bush Administration's Katrina report has an appendix called what went right, with praise for Amateur Radio: Other organizations worked tirelessly to assist emergency responders that, due to the storm, did not have the equipment and means to effectively carry out their duties. Amateur Radio Operators from both the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the American Radio Relay League, monitored distress calls and rerouted emergency requests for assistance throughout the U.S. until messages were received by emergency response personnel.
How did things go so wrong with all of the "robust emergency backup plan and proper system planning" that the public service systems have? Read this to see how things can go from "OK with a few problems" to a total disaster in only a few short days TUSA Consulting and from the FCC http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/docs/advisor...nts/ma_com.pdf

Quote:
All public safety radio systems operated by St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson Parish and State Police Troop B (Bridge City) failed during the passage of Hurricane Katrina. The only radio system operable during and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the City of New Orleans Tier-I Radio Network (EDACS ProVoice). The system did, however, drop off the air late Monday due to a prime-site generator failure and did not resume operation until late Thursday night. The necessary repair, a small hole in a generator radiator caused by flying debris, could have been completed within hours. Yet, an unexplainable failure of Louisiana State Police field officers to allow unimpeded passage of City-permitted repair technicians back into New Orleans delayed this simple, but urgently needed repair.
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Old 03-31-2011, 5:33 PM
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Default Ban listening to ALL Public Safety communications, ENCRYPTION!!!!

There should be an amendment to this bill. ALL Public Safety communications of ALL types should be 100% ENCRYPTED. NO EXCUSES!!! There should NOT be any monitoring allowed by ANYONE who is NOT in Public Safety field. All agencies involved in the safety and protection of the public, FIRE, EMS and Law Enforcement from the smallest to largest MUST be required to use the highest level of encryption, PERIOD!
There is NO NEED for anyone to own a radio that can "listen in" to Public Safety comm's. Personally what they do is none of the public's business. Absolutely, positively the general public HAS NO need to own a radio with that capability.

Pretty intense and absurd, RIGHT? Well, HOW would you all react if THIS was the proposal that these bozo's were demanding about those who's HOBBY, scanning, was
an enjoyment, a diversion something you had fun with, experimenting with antennas, computer interfacing and so on?

To some of you amateur radio operators losing a few megs of frequency "real estate" is meaningless. BUT, those of us who are in the HAM radio hobby, it is a BAD OMEN. It happened many years ago when part of the 220 Mhz band was hacked off, for the proposed use by a new technology called ACSB. The owners of our Radio Shop were all on board this new tech and we even had some of these radios and were courting users. It became a bust.
Just because there is NOT a users in your specific area, THIS SPECTRUM is of USE and VALUE to many others. EME, weak signal, satellite, experimentation and much more. Ham radio HAS contributed a lot to the world of electronics and communications. Yes, it IS a HOBBY. But, it has lead to many of us going into the professional aspect of this world.

If this happens, what becomes of Amateur Satellites in orbit that use UHF downlinks? That is just ONE major aspect that would be affected.

Hey, I see a LOT of misuse, waste and abuse of freq's by the guise of Public Safety. The lobbyists have DEEP POCKETS and those who make the decisions are, well, easily bought off. Let's face it, IT IS A FACT. It's the way business is done.

So, don't sit on your hands. Contact your government rep's and let em know your concerned and want them to know your watching there decisions. What are they GOING to GO AFTER NEXT???

Everything is a TARGET now a days if there is money to be made BY SOMEONE!

Just my opinion. As I said it HAS HAPPENED before. And it will happen, AGAIN. Let's give em a fight and LET THEM HEAR from us.

Just MAYBE the whole 100% ENCRYPTION OF ALL FREQ'S should be seriously considered and proposed? If you can AFFORD the radio's THEN get the encryption. Hmmmmm. Oh, LOBBYISTS here is another money making idea...........

For your consideration. Thanks for reading my ramblings.
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Old 03-31-2011, 6:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
There should be an amendment to this bill. ALL Public Safety communications of ALL types should be 100% ENCRYPTED. NO EXCUSES!!! There should NOT be any monitoring allowed by ANYONE who is NOT in Public Safety field. All agencies involved in the safety and protection of the public, FIRE, EMS and Law Enforcement from the smallest to largest MUST be required to use the highest level of encryption, PERIOD!
There is NO NEED for anyone to own a radio that can "listen in" to Public Safety comm's. Personally what they do is none of the public's business. Absolutely, positively the general public HAS NO need to own a radio with that capability.

Pretty intense and absurd, RIGHT? Well, HOW would you all react if THIS was the proposal that these bozo's were demanding about those who's HOBBY, scanning, was
an enjoyment, a diversion something you had fun with, experimenting with antennas, computer interfacing and so on?

To some of you amateur radio operators losing a few megs of frequency "real estate" is meaningless. BUT, those of us who are in the HAM radio hobby, it is a BAD OMEN. It happened many years ago when part of the 220 Mhz band was hacked off, for the proposed use by a new technology called ACSB. The owners of our Radio Shop were all on board this new tech and we even had some of these radios and were courting users. It became a bust.
Just because there is NOT a users in your specific area, THIS SPECTRUM is of USE and VALUE to many others. EME, weak signal, satellite, experimentation and much more. Ham radio HAS contributed a lot to the world of electronics and communications. Yes, it IS a HOBBY. But, it has lead to many of us going into the professional aspect of this world.

If this happens, what becomes of Amateur Satellites in orbit that use UHF downlinks? That is just ONE major aspect that would be affected.

Hey, I see a LOT of misuse, waste and abuse of freq's by the guise of Public Safety. The lobbyists have DEEP POCKETS and those who make the decisions are, well, easily bought off. Let's face it, IT IS A FACT. It's the way business is done.

So, don't sit on your hands. Contact your government rep's and let em know your concerned and want them to know your watching there decisions. What are they GOING to GO AFTER NEXT???

Everything is a TARGET now a days if there is money to be made BY SOMEONE!

Just my opinion. As I said it HAS HAPPENED before. And it will happen, AGAIN. Let's give em a fight and LET THEM HEAR from us.

Just MAYBE the whole 100% ENCRYPTION OF ALL FREQ'S should be seriously considered and proposed? If you can AFFORD the radio's THEN get the encryption. Hmmmmm. Oh, LOBBYISTS here is another money making idea...........

For your consideration. Thanks for reading my ramblings.
Relax,take a deep breath and don't worry. It's NOT going to happen.

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Old 03-31-2011, 6:23 PM
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I know for a fact (and I know a lot of you hams do too) that the military and hams have a network together for emergency comms. It is based out of Arizona. If hams are so useless, then why did the military engage them in the comm chain??
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Old 03-31-2011, 6:37 PM
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I know for a fact (and I know a lot of you hams do too) that the military and hams have a network together for emergency comms. It is based out of Arizona. If hams are so useless, then why did the military engage them in the comm chain??
Exactly. There are many more reasons like this too. The 70 centimeter band is not going anywhere.

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Old 03-31-2011, 7:00 PM
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If anyone was to read the full proposed bill by Rep. Peter King R-NY, then they would see that this bill is NOT JUST ABOUT HAM'S. This bill http://homeland.house.gov/sites/home...s/HR%20607.PDF, states in section 207(a)(1) "Not later than 8 years after the date of enactment of the Act, each public safety entities shall end their use of radio spectrum above 420 megahertz and below 512 megahertz and begin to use alternative radio spectrum licensed to public safety services in the 700 megahertz and 800 mega hertz bands." This clearly states EVERYONE from 420MHz to 512MHz will be have to relocate. ONLY in D.C. can something like this be proposed.
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Old 03-31-2011, 7:02 PM
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Default Your right. Really can care less. Over reacted. Disregard the concern. He knows

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Originally Posted by gewecke View Post
Relax,take a deep breath and don't worry. It's NOT going to happen.

73
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Exactly what was said when they snatched some of the 220 segment. It will NOT happen. ARRL won't let it! Oh, well.

Glad your so confident and have the inside track. Whatever.

And NO I don't need to relax. Cause I ain't worked up, just trying to make a point for those on the fence to consider. SORRY. If it happens it happens.
BFD! Right?

It's just a HOBBY, right? What me worry?

Heck, I really do not care after all, you know. Thanks!

Guess I'll just become a full on advocate for the TOTAL ENCRYPTION bandwagon now.

THERE is WHERE THE money is.

Thanks. You redirected me.
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Old 03-31-2011, 7:09 PM
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It all boils down to if the government wants to do it, they are going to do it. Moan, groan, whine, cry and complain all you want. If you don't like the way the government is doing things, A) vote & B) remember what politician screwed you over.
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Old 03-31-2011, 9:08 PM
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What's next? Look at Lightsquared. They leased spectrum from Inmarsat and want to install 40,000 base stations across the country for their new wholesale LTE service. Problem is, they will be adjacent to the GPS freqs and their base stations will be located at cell sites, which are just one of many users of GPS.

The FCC has totally abdicated their mandated mission of spectrum planning and management. The auctions are a prime example. You don't sell something if you can lease it and have a recurring income from it.
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Old 03-31-2011, 9:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post


Exactly what was said when they snatched some of the 220 segment. It will NOT happen. ARRL won't let it! Oh, well.

Glad your so confident and have the inside track. Whatever.

And NO I don't need to relax. Cause I ain't worked up, just trying to make a point for those on the fence to consider. SORRY. If it happens it happens.
BFD! Right?

It's just a HOBBY, right? What me worry?

Heck, I really do not care after all, you know. Thanks!

Guess I'll just become a full on advocate for the TOTAL ENCRYPTION bandwagon now.

THERE is WHERE THE money is.

Thanks. You redirected me.
Great. I'm glad you're redirected now...Relax!
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