Islandia casino operators won’t allow ham radio antenna on the roof

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mmckenna

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I agree with all this.

"threat to public safety communications during disasters" shows me one of a couple of scenarios:
1. Complete misunderstanding by the amateur radio community as to what public safety communications systems are.
2. Complete ignorance to how far public safety communications have progressed. Even looking at the changes since 9-11-2001, things have come a long way.
3. An overinflated ego is getting in the way. Thinking that they are "public safety" triggers the whacker alarms.

I agree with what the others have said. 40 years ago technology was a lot different. Attitudes were different. A public safety radio system might fail, and the amateurs would be able to come in and set up a temporary system. It wasn't much, a couple of guys with mobile/portable radios and could pass some basic radio traffic.
Now, public safety systems cover a lot more area. They are built much better than the amateur radio systems I've seen. Redundancy, better planning, fall back systems, etc are all in place. I've been in the industry for almost 30 years now, and I've never seen any point where amateur radio operators came in and "saved the day". I've been there when they were put on a few street corners when phones were down, but then they were replacing the public telephone systems, not the public safety radios systems.

I've got a local amateur group trying to install equipment on top of one of our buildings right now.
They have absolutely zero understanding of grounding. No understanding of the NEC, building codes, basic structural design, etc. I'm having to walk them through all of this, things they should understand. They want to throw an antenna up on the roof weighed down with cinder blocks, which isn't so bad. They didn't want to do any grounding, I've had to walk them through that and quote sections of the NEC.
From their other installs I've seen, there is no battery backup. It's a pair of 30 year old Motorola mobile radios lashed together and sitting on a shelf.

Public safety, my å$$.

Amateur radio needs to up their game. Not by buying more Chinese radios, but by cooperating more with each other and with other community support groups. Rather than having 20 different repeaters covering the same general area because Club A can't get along with Club B, maybe club a and b need to combine and build one really good repeater site, back up battery plant, generator, maybe digital (come on, agree on a standard digital mode already!!!). Build a reliable system that can be used for public service. Stop trying to be police, fire and EMT's. Be radio guys. Set up the radios and get the *&#% out of the way of the professionals.
 
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Thunderknight

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I think there are three ways (or more) of ham radio support for emergency/public safety comms:

1) All else fails - this is probably (now) mainly the domain of HF and simplex operations. As has been pointed out in this thread, public safety LMR is probably as robust if not more robust than most ham repeaters. If public safety LMR is down, the ham repeaters may be too. Although that isn't always true - sometimes an outage may effect one without affecting the other (tower failure, IT issue, etc). But many public safety LMR solutions have backup plans in place (use of another system, interoperability agreements).

2) Additional capacity - being able to handle health and welfare traffic that is not "mission critical". Both from a RF capacity standpoint and extra operators. This is traffic that needs to be passed, but would likely not be on public safety LMR in a large scale incident. Support of shelters, etc.

3) Non public safety comms. Meaning support for marathons, road races, etc. Operations that would not otherwise occur on public safety channels but have a public benefit. This has probably become less "substantial" given the proliferation of cell phones. This is probably of the most value in areas without cell service or with major APRS tracking projects (track all SAG vehicles, etc).

Something that fits between 1 and 2 is the "911 outage" scenario, where ham operators are stationed at public assembly points to pass emergency service requests from the public. Most fire houses etc have radios, but this could be additional locations like senior centers, nursing homes, etc.

Being both a ham and a professional, I see both sides of the picture. Public safety comms have become much more professional, secured, hardened, with SOPs, training, etc. If hams want to assist, then our (as hams) approach needs to be on par. A bunch of "wackers" showing up without any training and trying to step in won't cut it - and if they have an attitude, it only hurts all of us. But a subset of hams are a technical, innovative and resourceful group - they can be of huge benefit to mission critical comms.
 

TheSpaceMann

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Long Island is relatively flat. Would it be that difficult for the owners to find another building that would let them set up their repeater and antenna?
 

RFBOSS

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I think there are three ways (or more) of ham radio support for emergency/public safety comms:

1) All else fails - this is probably (now) mainly the domain of HF and simplex operations. As has been pointed out in this thread, public safety LMR is probably as robust if not more robust than most ham repeaters. If public safety LMR is down, the ham repeaters may be too. Although that isn't always true - sometimes an outage may effect one without affecting the other (tower failure, IT issue, etc). But many public safety LMR solutions have backup plans in place (use of another system, interoperability agreements).

2) Additional capacity - being able to handle health and welfare traffic that is not "mission critical". Both from a RF capacity standpoint and extra operators. This is traffic that needs to be passed, but would likely not be on public safety LMR in a large scale incident. Support of shelters, etc.

3) Non public safety comms. Meaning support for marathons, road races, etc. Operations that would not otherwise occur on public safety channels but have a public benefit. This has probably become less "substantial" given the proliferation of cell phones. This is probably of the most value in areas without cell service or with major APRS tracking projects (track all SAG vehicles, etc).

Something that fits between 1 and 2 is the "911 outage" scenario, where ham operators are stationed at public assembly points to pass emergency service requests from the public. Most fire houses etc have radios, but this could be additional locations like senior centers, nursing homes, etc.

Being both a ham and a professional, I see both sides of the picture. Public safety comms have become much more professional, secured, hardened, with SOPs, training, etc. If hams want to assist, then our (as hams) approach needs to be on par. A bunch of "wackers" showing up without any training and trying to step in won't cut it - and if they have an attitude, it only hurts all of us. But a subset of hams are a technical, innovative and resourceful group - they can be of huge benefit to mission critical comms.
Exactly.

Excellent post.
 

robertmac

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And when one puts all their eggs in one basket thinking all hens have been covered, there will always be a fox finding a way to disrupt this thinking.
 

JPSan

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My experiences.....YMMV

Having been involved as a amateur UHF repeater owner in obtaining a prime, virgin site i can say first hand the experience I had.
Located a virgin commercial roof on a 6 story roof on high ground with a commanding view.

I approached the prime management company with my written proposal indicating
who I was, what I represented and what equipment I was proposing to install.

After the partners agreed to consider my proposal, I then asked to have access to the roof and map out where and how the antenna, equipment go be installed and how the necessary electrical access would be required. Provided them with photos of the Motorola repeater equipt rack and drawings of my proposed antenna location, ground scheme and electrical work and who was going to do this work.

They had there attorney review and then received feedback. I had to agree to submit a list of names of those who would have access, since I would be given keys for 24/7 access. I had to submit detailed drawings shown how the mast, antenna and rack were to be mounted AND I had to have a insurance policy in affect before any work would commence show n that the management was beneficiary for any damages to any aspect of there property as long as our equipment was on there property. The policy demanded was a yearly 1 MILLION DOLLAR policy! (State Farm worked a great deal!)
It turns out that they had other Amateur repeaters installed on other properties AND had some really serious problems with damages, failure to pay rent/ utility bills, etc.
We had to have a bonded & licensed union electrician do the electrical, including all grounding , Poly Phasers, cad welded. All work had to be inspected by building engineer and city inspectors.

We were mounting a 32 foot Phelps Dodge UHF Super Station Master, ordered to freq,. a 20 foot piece of well casing pipe and 48 foot of 7/8" Heliax. Mounted to a vertical I-beam using 4 - Phelps Dodge mounting brackets.

We had to get the antenna and mast up 6 stories on our own after business hours.
Some scary good fun. We did it without a scratch to the facade of the new building.

We had a 4 1/2 year happy relationship, till Motorola showed up and made the management company a deal they couldn't live without. I was suddenly told that we would be paying rent to Moto......it was a non negotiable deal....Moto wanted $350.00 a month and they wanted me to reduce my 1/4 K amp to 25 WATTS ERP! Roof access was going to be restricted, which meant access to the penthouse where my stuff was limited to calling Moto's representative and make an appt in advance.
They could care less it was a HAM RADIO REPEATER used in a SKYWARN system. It was state of the art Motorola repeater. They didn't care.. I was told, you're a HAM RADIO OPERATOR....Never mind I held a First Class ticket AND WORKED for an established Moto shop!!!....... A M A T E U R R A D I O....HAMS..... We don't care ............ I left in 60 days....... Building management stopped talking to me the day Motorola took over.

Motorola signed a 5 year base contract.....they never ever installed a single piece of anything up there, EVER.....They lost the site when new owners bought the building.
Found out much later they were paying $5,000 a month.

I've heard enough horror stories from various property owners / property management companies about amateur repeater groups who are so demanding in there demands to let them install stuff, cause darn it we're hams we do good stuff for the community and expect that space because we just deserve that roof space without restrictions, super low rent to no rent or utility charges. Shoddy installations and as some put it a whole gang of people running around there roof.
They come on way to intense at times and some cop some real attitudes that makes there case look really bad.
Twice I personally sat in on negotiations on behalf of management companies and saw some really bad representations and poor social skills / behavior. All they wanted was that space, it was there, we expected it.

So go in with a really good game plan, in writing. You have to prove your cause in plain language. Don't go in with B/S em attitude. Being a tech bully, don't go in trying to dazzle em with techno jargon, bragging etc.
Remember they DO NOT OWE YOU ANYTHING because your a poor HAM providing a community service. That is meaningless to the management if they don't know a 2-way radio from a brick. Mobile phones is all they know. They control the property and everything that generates a dollar to there bottom line is what they live by a business to run. AND maybe they just don't want unknown people running around there property (roof) unsupervised, period.


Note from the Moderator: This was posted as a separate thread, but I believe it belongs here as the information is very applicable to the topic of this thread.
 
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SCPD

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Reading some of the comments, I find the sense of entitlement expressed - Entertaining- for lack of a better word. Like others have said, this is no longer the era of your grandfather's repeaters......
Lets face it; look at the roof tops of any city-scape, any commercial radio towers- and notice the antennas that festoon them -- the majority are cellular systems.... And now equate those companies with big $$'s.... and- even if these entities are sympathetic to radio hams, the risk-to-benefits so outweigh the hobbyist sharing their sites that it isn't worth it to them (think: liability, disruption of services, ___________fill in the blanks- and the revenue loss's involved.) Forget convincing a property owner who has leased his roof to a Tel-Comm... he's getting thousands while all you can ask for is gratis. Besides, he no doubt has a contract that spells this out, in no uncertain terms.
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Ok, story time- one of my anecdotes--
.

Every year, I get the honour of meeting with our civilian contractors to discuss up-coming projects. The vast majority will involve temporary-to semi permanent (RF) installations on some of our remote radio sites. My bosses think I love this-why I have no idea--and it has fallen by default, to me (it used to be worthwhile when they'd send the corporate Gulf Stream to fly me down to one of their private resorts in the Marquesa Islands to discuss....Just Kidding!!....;) Geez.)
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We meet with them in a too-small conference room-- and we provide the refreshments.
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I never meet with these cowboys and girls alone- these wearers of Suits (if you are familiar with the South West you know no one wears suits unless they are FBI,-- or in our case- serious business contractors...;) ) I meet them with my attorney friend from the legal department, and my favorite engineer (she still keeps hoping for that junket to the the Marquessa's.) The contractors- their Point People, actually, --come with all their Ducks in a line. They have their technical parameters and requests, all the insurance papers, security clearences, bonds, prepayment of utilities--- etc.; They are all so in order it is scary. Yet we still have some issues that have to be worked out.
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My point is: I am fairly easy going. These contractors are on the same side as us. Yet there are things that leave us, the grantors, open for problems. We have things to resolve. Now, if you will- magnify that.
.

.... Let's say you are Verizon and Joey Ham wants to put his CB Hobby Radio (sorry guys, but that what they think of Ham's) up next to your million dollar 'Cel.... what will be your answer? What would you expect reasonable *me* to say?? What would the property owner giving the lease have to do?
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So, don't get mad- get creative. There are plenty of other options in theses changing repeater environments. I like the suggestion to pardner with an existing-friendly- site owner. But before you approach them- have your house in order- get your lawyer, your engineer, your PR -friends on board as your Point People- and make a professional pitch for your repeater... nothing Amateur-ish, and nothing emotional. Wear that itchy suit.
........You'd certainly win the points with me-- even if it doesn't involve a tropical island paradise....:)
.
................................CF
 
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RFI-EMI-GUY

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Folks tend to under estimate the risks involved in installing any repeater in a building. There is of course the risk of a tower rigger (or ham) falling to his death. Then there is lightning damage - a bigger probability. Then there is fire damage, a real and very catastrophic possibility. Back in about 1981 I was starting out doing audits on rooftops in Chicago and one of my new co workers took me to one of the top floor equipment rooms of the Sears tower. Upon opening the door I saw soot and smoke damage all over the walls. It was explained to me that some months before a 1/4 kilowatt NOAA weather transmitter had caught fire and burned itself out in the room. Fortunately the fire didn't spread but other transmitters were damaged by the soot. This was the Sears tower of all places. Imagine what could have happened.
 

MTS2000des

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Most ham clubs don't have the resources to have a the high dollar commercial liability policy needed to even have equipment properly vetted, let alone the lease rate.

The typical rooftop/mountain top/tower is managed by professional management firms like Crown-Castle, American Tower, etc. These companies are accustomed to dealing with cellular carriers, broadcasters, LMR system operators and government entities, keyword here is professional not amateur hobbyists.

About the only way to get a low-cost/no-cost site is to be affiliated with a government entity and ride on their coat tails. But be prepared to have something to offer the community, that is, the public at large. A real, quantifiable benefit, not this garbage whacker mantra of "ham radio saves lives". Governments cannot and should not cater to individuals, as this opens a pandora's box (if you let him than you can't deny her scenario).

This means one is a part of a bona fide organization that is legally licensed to conduct business, has insurance, and vetted volunteers with skill sets beyond jockeying a microphone and donning ARES vests while showing up at hospitals and EOCs with a snot-nosed holier than thou attitude.

Then one might have a chance...
 

dlwtrunked

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...Most public safety agencies have as pointed out, generators and fuel for times of need...
When I reported to a Country shelter as a hurricane hit carrying my back-up power, I was told it was not needed as they had a back-up generator. Twenty minutes later, I had power and they did not. The next day at a different location, I saw a ham's generator giving the Red Cross power. Agencies having generators and fuel does not mean they will work and my experience is that they likely will not.
 

SteveC0625

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When I reported to a Country shelter as a hurricane hit carrying my back-up power, I was told it was not needed as they had a back-up generator. Twenty minutes later, I had power and they did not. The next day at a different location, I saw a ham's generator giving the Red Cross power. Agencies having generators and fuel does not mean they will work and my experience is that they likely will not.
Shelters are not manned or capable to the same degree that public safety dispatch operations are. Unfair comparison to say the least. Our whole-building generator is tested weekly and maintenance checked by the vendor quarterly. The same goes for our transmitter and receiver sites.

Yeah some shelters have old crappy generators. Your experience with non-functional power systems is atypical at best. There are a number of other pros here in this conversation who have already expressed strong confidence in the modern era pubic safety systems and their power supplies..

Our local shelter is in our school district's main building. They're installing a whole-building generator this year along with an independent fuel supply that is backed up by town's fuel supply which is also on a separate generator. Somehow, I'm just not envisioning a ham's 2K Honda saving the day against a system like that.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Since Hams are loosing access to high sites, this is an opportunity to be creative with low sites or repeaters at own home.

1) Try networking multiple smaller sites using DMR and Internet (IPSC) . DMR allows 2 time slots so local and wide area needs can be accommodated simultaneously.

2) Like DMR, P25 can now be networked using IP protocols.

3) Analog repeaters at low sites can easily enhance portable talk back by co locating multiple receivers and a voter for antenna diversity. Experiment with multiple receivers and cross polarization. Talk back from a 5 watt portable can be balanced with coverage of a 50 watt repeater.

4) Analog repeaters can be networked.

5) Use software to plan repeater sites for best performance. Radio Mobile software can be used to choose most effective low sites and plan fill in sites.

6) Analog repeaters can be voted and simulcast using RTCM ALLSTAR.
 

Rred

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By the way, the Islandia Marriott is not a "casino" in any usual sense of the word. It is an Off Track Betting (OTB) parlor, video terminals for the lottery and horse racing.

Marriott itself is an unusual company. Founded by devout Mormons and run on that ethic, one might think they would be very interested in "community" and "preparedness". But they also do some very tricky business dealings with the chain. For instance, the elevators in your local Marriott are probably not owned or operated by the hotel. They are instead LEASED from an elevator company, which also shields the hotel from liability issues. Things are not as simple as they may appear to be, with Marriott. Not necessarily better or worse--just not what you might assume.
 

N9NRA

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I say coperation is the solution here.

Read this thread, and while i can understand what`s going on from a ham`s prospective i say they should try to work together to find some useful compromise that`s workable to both ends. We had a sittuation that is much like this happen here in Central WI (Marshfield area), the local two meter machine was on the local hospital, which was a high site giving the repeater stellar coverage, i could hit it from here with a J-pole antenna and a 5 watt HT, it got moved to a lower, and less favorable site (after it was kicked off the hospital) that covered just the city (and didn`t do that very well), just recently they got it moved back to a higher site and the coverage is from what i`ve heard now greatly improved. My point is, the hams in that area should give the casino owners a chance, and work with them to come up with a workable solution, i`m sure something can be worked out just like in the sittuation i mentioned from this state. Might take a long while, but at least they`ll have a repeater on the air, mabey not at THAT site, but at a site just the same. N9NRA
 

Cameron314

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Well it shows the unfortunate reality the casino is there to get inyo the people's wallets and could really care less about the greater community around them, as long as they make money , they don't care about the community, spread the word to other operators and their families TO NOT VISIT THE ESTABLISHMENT, a lack of community support will drive them out of town to somewhere they can make money, no community wants someone who is not willing to help out especially when all we are talking is an antenna, it shows the companies lack of real care about the host community , enough bad PR will turn them from destination to designation to avoid, that is the loudest message we can send them , effect their chances of success at making money and they might just change there tune , be sure to attend town/city council meetings and make it known they are a greedy , profiteering corporation who cares only about the bottom line and themselves, I once lived near a casino that acted similarly we got the message across to them by tuning into there security comms and letting customers "over hear" the behind the scenes action, of course this was before encryption hut it got the message across, join the community or lose its support ,because truth be known it's not the tourist from out of town that supports most casinos it's the local towns people who they count on to say I got "five extra bucks let's hit the casino" people rarely exercise self control and overspend in hopes that they will get lucky and hit that elusive jackpot . Good luck with getting thru to them .

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^^^ And this is probably the reason they don't want them up there^^^
I negotiate roof/site/tower leases as part of my job and this is 100% the wrong way to go about any of it. Let's say you go ahead and throw a big ugly public tantrum because you can't get the deal you want. OK fine, now what? Guess who isn't going to be returning any of your calls? ANY other site manager. Why would they? They will be thinking they don't want to get within a mile of you and your group because you will drag them through the mud as well.I know it's called Amateur radio but in some ways you atleast need to act like a professional.
 

robertmac

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^^^ And this is probably the reason they don't want them up there^^^
I negotiate roof/site/tower leases as part of my job and this is 100% the wrong way to go about any of it. Let's say you go ahead and throw a big ugly public tantrum because you can't get the deal you want. OK fine, now what? Guess who isn't going to be returning any of your calls? ANY other site manager. Why would they? They will be thinking they don't want to get within a mile of you and your group because you will drag them through the mud as well.I know it's called Amateur radio but in some ways you atleast need to act like a professional.
From my limited experience over the last 20 years, most amateur radio operators approach installations of amateur radio repeaters in a professional way. After all, in their daily lives and jobs, they are professionals.
 

jim202

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Most ham clubs don't have the resources to have a the high dollar commercial liability policy needed to even have equipment properly vetted, let alone the lease rate.

The typical rooftop/mountain top/tower is managed by professional management firms like Crown-Castle, American Tower, etc. These companies are accustomed to dealing with cellular carriers, broadcasters, LMR system operators and government entities, keyword here is professional not amateur hobbyists.
I guess you haven't had to deal with Crown Castle recently. They are about the worst, do nothing, know nothing and don't want to get off their lower butt for anything but a large cellular package. Have had to deal with them sales folks and will go way out of my way to avoid them at all costs in the future. Was in the middle of a Public Safety lease at several of their tower sites. It took over 9 months for a simple lease to be put in place. That was after rocking the boat with several emails to a couple of the VP's of the company. Boy did that spur some action. But those people at Crown just don't give a rats butt to the small folks. They just want the fat commission for doing as little as possible.

In many cases, the Public Safety agency can build their own tower and be ahead of the cost game in less than 10 years rather than have to deal with several of these stupid tower leasing companies. You would end up with your own site, your own tower, control with minimal problems the maintenance and have your own back up power generator with out having to deal with a know nothing person on the other end of a long distance phone call. Too bad the CEO of Crown doesn't care what his sales force is doing. He would have a fit if he knew what he was loosing in revenue that his lazy sales force was costing the company.
 
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