[amsat-bb] Re: Eagle and emergency traffic

George Henry ka3hsw at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 24 21:32:24 PDT 2006

You need to go back and re-read my previous posts, because you have missed, 
and mis-interpreted, several of my points...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Robertson" <broberts at mta.ca>
To: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:47 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Eagle and emergency traffic


> It seems to me that the best that hams can offer, and have ever offered, 
> in
> any emergency communications is redundancy. Put it another way, I'd be
> horrified if our nations' emergency services did not have the resources to
> avail themselves of the modes and means that we amateurs cobble together.

Absolutely no argument there...

> However, this is a redundancy in overwhelming depth, and that has its 
> uses.
> I imagine the Red Cross (US) cannot send out 1,000 satellite stations; but
> when
> Eagle is flying I'd expect that's around the number of digital stations we
> might have working in the US. If one of those were to be deployed in an
> emergency, its role would be to assist in bringing on-line the Red Cross'
> system, and thereafter to provide backup, but I would think this would be 
> a
> quite valued role.

I think that 1000 US stations is a very optimistic number for this mode, 
especially considering that these high-speed digital stations don't exist AT 
ALL today, and will have to be built from scratch at not-insubstantial cost, 
but see more below...

> Indeed, the argument seen on this list recently, which claims that any
> efforts of ours to provide emergency services would be pointless because 
> of

I never said that our efforts would be "pointless," only that *this 
particular application* would likely be obsolete before launch, and not 
because of the deep pockets of the professionals, but because of the deep 
pockets driving data communications (specifically, internet) technology to 
be smaller, faster, more reliable, more ubiquitous, and less expensive.  I 
challenged the statement that "...NGOs need [256 kbps on Eagle] for 
emergency data communications."  I eventually was told by the author of that 
statement that it was not, in fact, a stated need, but rather, a 
long-standing desire of the NGOs.  I then pointed out that one of those very 
NGOs had already invested heavily in an alternative mode of data 
communications in the meantime.

> the deeper pockets of the professionals, cuts against *any* amateur role 
> in
> emergency response in any mode and on any band. Given that amateurs seem 
> to

Quite the contrary!  There are, unquestionably, things that we amateurs do 
very well in emergency communications, and they are well-recognized by the 
disaster services community.  I am proud to say (contrary to Dave Guimont's 
suggestion) that I spent 5 years working with Red Cross Disaster Services in 
Scranton, PA, where I was called out for several mine collapses and a couple 
of spectacular fires.  I have been an active National Weather Service 
tornado spotter here in Illinois for over 15 years, with hundreds of hours 
in the field and in the OEM.  I am a former EMT/firefighter, and I have 
drilled extensively in all of those capacities.  Granted, I have not yet 
been involved in a full-fledged disaster situation (I missed the Plainfield 
tornado disaster out here by 1 year), but have seen action on both ends of 
numerous emergencies.  I have seen spectacular successes and dismal 
failures, both by the professionals and by us amateurs.  What I have NOT 
seen, to date, is an amateur satellite playing any role in an emergency, and 
I believe (and said) that this is simply because right now, we have other 
systems that are just better suited.  Just consider Field Day:  which 
station usually takes the longest to set up?  Satellite.  Which station has 
the lowest Q rate?  Satellite.  In fact, any one of the HF stations makes 
more Q's in 10 minutes than most satellite stations do for the whole 
weekend.  The parallels to a real disaster should not be hard to see.

> be in fact making a difference in these ventures and being appreicated for
> it, I would say there must be some fault with that argument.

 No question, what we do now, we do well, and we ARE appreciated for it. 
Witness Homeland Secuity's glowing assessment of the role of amateur radio 
in the aftermath of Katrina.

> I think there's much to allow one's imagination play over regarding 
> Eagle's
> user classes. Consider the role of the U/V text messaging in all this. A 
> 2m
> rig hooked up to the jumpkit laptop could provide an easily set-up,
> out-of-band conversation to help bootstrap the internet connection with
> info such as accurate time (needed for pointing), IP addresses, etc.

Now HERE, on U/V, you may very well find 1000 US stations active in a 
disaster, as many are already equipped for this mode.

I have tried to make myself as clear as I can in these posts.  If people 
don't get it by now, I am sorry:  I doubt that I can make it any clearer.
I am done with this thread.

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