The biggest lie in ham radio

trentbob

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I think harsh truths and opposing opinions are being misinterpreted as hateful.
I kind of think this thread is somewhat civil compared to some that you've seen here on RR. Not only do you have strong opposing opinions but strong personalities of people with experience and age which contributes to those opinions. What's important is everybody has a right to their own opinion and nobody is necessarily correct because... It's only opinion.
 
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mmckenna

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What's important is everybody has a right to their own opinion and nobody is necessarily correct because... It's only opinion.
Nailed it.

Society in general would benefit from that understanding being a lot more pervasive.

Back on topic...
Amateur radio certainly has its place, and one of those places can absolutely be in disaster response. It's not the only place it can be, and it's not the only radio service available in a disaster.
 

12dbsinad

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There has been cases that amateur repeaters have backed up public safety communications. Not everyone lives in high density areas like California and Atlanta GA that have large systems and multiple resources at their fingertips. Go to rural America with small Volly dept's who have nothing for budgets and a small county wide scabbed together repeater on a telephone pole out in the middle of nowhere. These areas have used Amateur repeaters, I know, I've been to some of these places.

With that said, no doubt hams do attract the special group for some reason. All you need to do is go to a hamfest and look at the vehicles in the parking lot.
 

W5lz

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JUG, you're right. The -best- tool always is better than something else, otherwise it wouldn't be a 'best' tool. If you don't have that 'best' tool then use what'cha got. When ham radio is the 'best' option then you know the SHTF has happened! ;)
 

bill4long

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For Katrina and other hurricanes, ham radio has been very much an asset. Localized events, not so much. Although a fair number of hams around here are involved in things like parade and marathon assistance. At any rate, EmCom and service comms aren't the only purpose for ham radio.

97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in
the following principles:
(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication
service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication
and technical phases of the art.
(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
 

N4GIX

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Here Is my response to the Finnish amateur's opinion piece:

Try explaining to the people in Puerto Rico who lost every single cell tower during last years' hurricane, not forgetting that the entire electrical grid was destroyed. Were it not for the ARRL mobilizing many amateur volunteers and sending them down there they would have had nearly *NO* communications capability at all.That doesn't even account for the hundreds of amateur operators who volunteered their time and equipment setting up and maintaining an HF hurricane net. You evidently slept through Maria. See: https://www.hamradio.me/emcomm/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-hams-helped.html

You are quite correct that amateur radio volunteers are *NOT* "first responders" or other emergency personnel. However, that isn't the true purpose of amateur radio, who's true purpose is to help unburden the professionals by taking care of and handling non-emergency communications, such as health and welfare inquiries, etc

I will however grant you that there *ARE* some poorly trained groups who do cast a bad light on amateur radio as a whole.
 

trentbob

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For Katrina and other hurricanes, ham radio has been very much an asset. Localized events, not so much. Although a fair number of hams around here are involved in things like parade and marathon assistance. At any rate, EmCom and service comms aren't the only purpose for ham radio.

97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in
the following principles:
(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication
service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication
and technical phases of the art.
(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
I think how an individual interprets their role in part (a) is significant and I do think it's interpreted differently by different ham operators.
 

KK4JUG

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I was in Pearl River County, MS, during Katrina. I was handling communications for personnel going door to door on SAR missions. They had substantial wind damage but no water damage. Most of the time was spent in Poplarville and Picayune. I don't recall ever using the ham radio during the detail. That said, our mobile command vehicle had 6 satellite phone lines, UHF, VHF, etc, as well as ham capabilities.
 

Pete_uk

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Reading some of his YouTube replies and such, the Finnish dude seems to be an angry anti-American.
His video and replies seem self-serving and just plain snarky and asinine. Yawn.
He's welcome to stay in Finland. Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
The one thing us Europeans sometimes forget is how big and extreme north America is. Britain for example, gets the odd earthquake, tornado, forest fire or large storm (mostly localised flooding) but NOTHING like what is found the other side of the pond. One day the west coast is going to be hit by a humungous earthquake at which point any non safety of life messages taken off the city systems will be very welcome.
 

vagrant

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The one thing us Europeans sometimes forget is how big and extreme north America is. Britain for example, gets the odd earthquake, tornado, forest fire or large storm (mostly localised flooding) but NOTHING like what is found the other side of the pond. One day the west coast is going to be hit by a humungous earthquake at which point any non safety of life messages taken off the city systems will be very welcome.
Of course there are times when additional communication options may not make a difference. Consider the 2003 heat wave across Europe where tens of thousands died. Not to worry, a meteor will get us all one day. Problem solved.
 

TailGator911

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The fact of the matter is that when a catastrophic event does happen, and communications are totally down, resourceful people will find ways to communicate, whether they are standing on a roof with a white flag or illegally transmitting on regulated frequencies. Rules, regulations, policies, and state and federal laws will be ignored for the sake of saving lives and/or conducting welfare checks.

I read an article a couple of years ago where a federal spokesperson stated that in the event of a catastrophic event there would 'more than likely' be a moratorium or 'amnesty' for communications regulations allowing for emergency communications and usage by non-licensed civilians on federally mandated frequencies. It's going to happen anyway, so why waste time, taxpayer money, and vital resources that will be needed elsewhere? Makes perfect sense, but can you imagine the chaos?

JD
kf4anc
 

bill4long

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in the event of a catastrophic event there would 'more than likely' be a moratorium or 'amnesty' for communications regulations allowing for emergency communications and usage by non-licensed civilians on federally mandated frequencies.
It would be interesting to know what that spokesperson meant by "catastrophic".
 

hitechRadio

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mmacakenna, mts2000 and a few others hit the nail on the head. I will not echo what they said, but I can tell you from the inside looking out, that is the view 100%.

The only use for ham in my view in an emergency, is logistics. As in, get water or batteries to staging areas, command posts. In my experience this worked quite well. The problem was all the ham "mentality" that came with it.

They are of little help in my view when it comes to "communications" with the way it is now.

And the issue is not really ham's fault, it is the FCC and ARRL.
99.9% of the first responders are not licensed to use those ham frequencies.

A simple test for first responders, a type of license that give them the bare minimum in ham band access. A license class for people that have no intentions of rag chewing, or interest in radio as a hobby. A license class that is for those people that have to be reminded that you push here and talk here. A Logistics channel I could program in some radio's. AKA the water boy frequency.
 
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n8zcc

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Back in the mid-'90s, a coal-fired power plant had a massive failure taking out power to half of the country. The 911 operations switched to a smaller city that was completely overwhelmed. First responder radio systems were completely dead within an hour or so when the backup batteries ran dry. Cell phones were also out and the few towers with generators were overwhelmed making it impossible to make a timely call.

Hams were brought in and stationed in all fire, police, and hospitals in the affected area and also in scout cars. This was accomplished in less than an hour. The blackout lasted around 30 hours, with no lives lost. While this is certainly a unique situation, it does happen. This event was in an Ohio county that likely had more cows than people. An event like this in a high population area would not have worked like this, it would fail. Anybody involved with Skywarn knows the politics in Ham Radio.

I have always wondered, what is with the Walmart look at Hamfests?
 

W5lz

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There are several degrees of 'SHTF' situations, each is individual, exceptional, you can't just lump everything under one 'heading'. In a really bad 'SHTF' situation I seriously doubt if I'm going to be worrying about the consequences of how/what I have to do to get things taken care of, you know? I figure I'll worry about that when it happens.
There have been several instances of that 'SHTF' stuff happen here. I know of no life threatening instance that weren't handled in some way with no particularly later problems. Most of those instances were sort of 'blown-off' by local authorities, I have never been cited or admonished for using inappropriate or non-authorized frequencies in those instances. I think the general idea was that if it helped, then who cares. You didn't want to make a habit of using those non-authorized frequencies later, 'they' defintiely would get'cha. It amounts to doing some thinking before hand! Then whatever you think is necessary. There's contributive stuff and then there's that PITA stupid, "Get out'a here!" stuff. If you ever get lumped into that latter category then you are in trouble, you'll have to redeem yourself. Don't ask how, I have no idea.
 

TailGator911

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I have always wondered, what is with the Walmart look at Hamfests?
I'm guessing a marketing ploy to make shoppers feel more comfortable and carefree, the end result being you are okay to spend your money here. Heck, you know this place.

;)
 
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