[amsat-bb] A emergency use for Eagle's digital side

Bruce Robertson broberts at mta.ca
Fri Sep 15 09:12:43 PDT 2006

> P.S. As the power lines are the first to go down in a natural disaster
> is it not logiic to believe 
> that all the S band interference will be down as well? Considerring the
> AMSAT-NA vissonnaires why 
> they not put this in their calculus? thay have already all the ready to
> go installations for AO-40 
> up and running! Is it not what we are looking for in case of an
> emergency "easy ready to use 
> stuff"?


I hear what you're saying, but the case could be put the other way. I've
learned a great deal on this list by discussing these things with you and
others; I hope you won't mind if I present an opposing view below.

Although the vision statement and User Classes don't specify this idea, I
think we have to imagine that one important use of Eagle's high bandwidth
data channel during a crisis would be to provide an Internet link to
emergency service providers. I've outlined this in a previous letter to
this list, but I can't find it on the web, so I'll describe it again.

I believe that the best thing you can do for emergency services is to allow
them to use the communication tools with which they are most familiar:
email, chat, even web forms and the like. Yes, people are trained in other
means, but in our day-to-day interactions, TCP/IP rules. Putting this in
Luc's terms above, the 'easy to use stuff' should be easy for the emergency
folks, first and foremost; and today, easy means Internet.

If that's the case, Eagle's data link could provide a pool of Internet
connectivity within a striken area, allowing workers to do their thing as
naturally as possible. I believe 256 kbps was the max mentioned in the
recent article. A ground station with a sufficient Internet connection
(perhaps one associated with an educational institution), would provide one
end of the connection with a solid link to Eagle. The small dish station
envisaged by the Design team, connected to a wireless laptop would provide
the other end. Indeed, using a Knoppix-like boot disk, any laptop with
remotely appropriate hardware could do the job. This laptop's wireless
would act as a managed mode 802.11 hub. Then, our emergency workers just
boot up their hardware, and they're there: emailing, using online chat,
uploading photos and videos, whatever. 256 kbps could be split pretty far.

Note, however, that with this use, the station is right in the middle of
the 802.11 activity. If it were unable to hear well under such
circumstances, this use would not be possible. (QRM'ing the emergency
802.11 traffic isn't a problem: the link laptop would be configured to make
its connections on an unaffected 802.11b/g channel.) 

The world and the ham community has the right to ask us to justify our
dedicated bandwidth. I think the picture above has the virtues of being
both compelling and honest: I think Eagle could not only give us all a 
great deal of fun, but also improve some peoples' lives in hard times.

For this reason, I think we should lash up an Internet link of this sort as
soon as the digital side starts to come together, put it at either end of
the Dayton Hamvention, show it off at other events, play with it across
town as part of the QRO 802.11 links that hams are already exploring. Our
message should be this: "Eagle's mode UV will be cleaner and more fun than
any P3 bird; and Eagle's emergency capabilities will be out of this world."
In saying this, I do not mean to reject the well-thought out caveats and
concerns expressed on this list, but I do want to register my enthusiasm
for the digital vision of the Eagle series, especially as tweaked above.

Respectfully, 73,


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