Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by shaman, Apr 26, 2016.
Impressive. Now, how does that answer the OP's questions?
I'm more-or-less at the same point-of-perspective. I have the GROL, an "old law" 20 WPM Extra, and have assisted at public service events such as Tall Ships, simulated medical emergencies, and I've been a dispatcher for the National Park System.
I agree that the amateur radio community is not as well trained in IC teamwork as most professionals would like. That, however, is a side issue. The OP wanted to know how others would use ham radio as part of preparing for a major catastrophe, so I would appreciate others' answers to these questions:
Do you feel that all disaster relief efforts will follow the ICS?
Would [anyone but ham operators] perform better as communicators in all cases? Why?
Given the change to field-programmable P.25 radios and instakit repeaters, have hams outlived their usefulness in disaster response?
What roles can ham operators perform better than other communicators, and why would you seek them out?
Nope, the. .Gov still needs Hams... It still takes a GOOD Radio Tech, to make all the technology work, especially in an Emergency... Most Radio Techs, of any Note, are, or have been Hams...
As long as there are any government resources involved in a disaster response (in short, anything short of WROL) the ICS/NIIMS framework will be used. It is mandated by law for all federal responses and any multi jurisdictional response that involves federal funds. AFAIK, it is mandated by most if not all States, as well.
It has been my experience that except for natural disasters in far off countries where ham reports may be all the information that is available, almost ANYONE is a better communicator than a ham. Talking on a radio that is already installed is pretty simple: Think about what you are going to say, push the button on the microphone and say it, let go of the button and listen. It does not require any special training, and when poorly trained and inexperienced people try to 'act like a communicator' it detracts from communications. In most CPs these days, we have networked computers running various programs that include email and chat functions, so voice communications are decreasing.
Field communications are short and clear text - with tactical callsigns.
I would say that hams that cannot adapt to other communications paradigms (digital radios, non-ham frequencies, etc) are obsolescent, if not obsolete. Many cannot operate their OWN equipment. Most cannot install exterior antennas, or understand why their radios aren't transmitting....
The use for hams is in a strictly ham environment, mostly on HF long haul circuits. When there is a disaster in some third-world country the second reports out are usually hams...but the quality of the information they provide is poor: The ham operator can only report on what he sees and hears, and does not necessarily reflect any reality beyond that. This is both understandable, and somewhat unavoidable, and is not strictly speaking a problem just in third world countries. But this is the only role I see for (just) hams, and it's mainly because of licensing restrictions about people using ham frequencies.
Other than that, when a ham shows up at my incident, I have to wonder if their presence will be a net plus or minus....
And in a true disaster WROL, what is the typical ham going to do for me? Anyone can listen to a receiver, and listening is more than twice as important as talking. Without the repeater infrastructure how many hams can tell me what is going on 50 miles away? How many actually have anything more than a handheld? How many have a way of charging the batteries without a wall wart? How many have an HF radio at all, or even better, can build one? For those that have an HF rig of some sort, how many know what NVIS is, or have the ability to build an NVIS antenna to find out what is going on 50-300 miles away?
More confirming William Warrens post
The government will take people and make them radio techs...the last time hams were any particular asset in a national emergency was WWII, when voice radios were still somewhat new. It would be nice if hams would find a true reason to justify their existence.
The DoD's best field communicators, the Joint Communications Unit, doesn't require ham operators. Now, people who are highly proficient communicators may already be hams, but if it was such an asset they would require it.
And when I was in the sandbox(es) (Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan) the comm guys you wanted were the ones that could get you internet, or maintaining the sat phones....
listen yes x mit why to who i have no friends well one but he not going to get a radio no listening when i had no power and heat if you dont have a radio to listen too you sit in a silent room no where for you mind to go years later i get this fancy smartphone 10 years most not even radio going months at a time witout any conversation starts to become hard to talk to people at least with radio you get to think about the lies the transmit there
The actual .Gov does' have enough Trained Personel, to even keep a Listening Watch, on the International Distress Frequecies, let alone on all the possible Comm Channels used by the Covert Crowd... I know, because I used to be One Of those Guys.... The best we could do, was record the 10 MHz Bankdwidth in question on 1" VideoTape, and the play that back into our Spectrum Analyzer, to recover the Intelligence, in Post Processing.... Now days it is all done in the Digital Domain, but you still have to have Humans doing the listening, in the Post Processing of the Digital Domain, then analyzing the recovered intelligence...this is a very tricky deal, as the FBI found out in Oregon... It was much easyer to plant HUMIT into the crowd... Although they did monitor all the unsophisticated Comms, methods Yahoos were using... (FRS/CB/Cellphones)... You think that 10 meter Mobile Dish was for watching DirecTv?
Uh....Just from recent history....
Joplin Missouri Tornado
Not too long ago here(less than a month), the National Weather Service refused to issue a warning(or even a watch) after a spotter reported a descending funnel cloud. Shortly after the report was made(and the NWS refusal), an EF1 went through a nearby small town. Yay for government. I know this because I listened to ALL of it. A week later, we had another round of tornadoes. Oddly enough, NWS issued a tornado warning immediately upon the first report of a descending funnel.
I also doubt that anyone, anywhere, has any need to justify their existence to you.
Yeah, I said national....while those had national economic repercussions, they were local events.
But even assuming you were correct, who are the government radio operators that were snatched up from the HAM community following those events?
So, keep justifying and rationalizing.
Each State HomeLand Security Office, and State Emergency Management Office has a Ham Radio Leiason with the local CERT Teams..... This is where all these Radio Ops come from... Also many States have a State Militia, who recruit local CERT Trained Hams to operate the State Militia Comms Systems. When I was an FCC Resident Field Agent, one of my jobs was to interoperable with such State sponsored Folks, as well as the USCG, and CAP...
So you contend that ham radio is completely unnecessary to life as we know it, either locally or nationally. And, dot gov will make all the operators it needs (when it needs them) out of burger flippers and ex mil. Well, OK then, if ham radio is so uninteresting to you, why are you here? Perhaps your time would be better spent teaching burger flippers so there's a reasonable pool of operators when the need arises. I really do not see why the negative approach to the original poster's question.
I was wondering the same thing. Why not come back with some beneficial advice to assist in creating a better marriage of experience operating the equipment... and the mission at hand? Would it not be better to provide guidance on what the issues have been, in your experience, and how to fix it, so there is an overall benefit creating a great working operation....
Negativity gains no success, to gathering folks that want to help.
I want to respond, however all the mental dialoge right now is negative..
So, I have not dog in this fight, but the Op related to why bother with comm's and wS answered quite well..
I am not a ham, YET, but even as slow as this old guy is , I know the value of comm's in an emergency, even one that extends way beyond expectations..
Good luck in shacking your comm guys out of the hills, especialy if your high tech comm's gear wont work...
Ham's have their place.. Ignore possible assets at.. Never mind!
I could also ask "why learn how to farm and use farm equipment" as currently I have no knowledge of how to farm (other than planting seeds).
CURRENTLY, I have no need for farming, as other people and machines do that for me. However, if the SHTF those farming skills (and equipment) would be very handy (life-sustaining, no less). But currently I have no need for those skills -- so should i just ignore that?
I agree that there are dozens if not hundreds of skills that I would need to support myself and my family. As of now, I have obtained some of those skills, one of which is knowing how to operate (and maybe repair or modify) ham radio equipment. Amateur radio is not the only form of communication, but it is one to keep in my toolbox. With the right training and equipment, one can communicate locally or worldwide, depending on your choice.
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