[amsat-bb] Re: Amateur Satellites and the emergency on tornadoin Oklahoma and Texas

R Oler orbitjet at hotmail.com
Wed May 22 21:22:25 PDT 2013

See if this gets on the board

The Repeater/amateur group that I am a part of here in Houston has tagged up with FEMA...we have gotten some money from them, access to various towers through them...and as someone who is interested in amateur radio satellites when the topic comes up there is this almost quiet giggle that most of the people have.  If we had an HEO that was available for reasonable times a day well maybe.

During IKE, our repeater was one of the few in Southern Houston/Galveston that stayed up.  All our sites have emergency power and the system is pretty robust.  We had in place before the hurricane an agreement with FEMA And NWS (and the FCC) where if necessary FEMA/ETC could come on our links and use them as fi they were their own.  Their FEMA's repeater is on the same "stick" as ours, but it went down because the antenna mechanical connections failed.  So they came over to our 2 and 70 CM machine

I keep a pretty good electronic log of how the machines are used.  The 2 meter normally "plays" for an average of about 12 minutes an hour (that includes nighttime hours) and during the 18 or so hours FEMA was up on ours it was playing at about an average of 22 minutes an hour.  they even used the phone patch an average of 5 times an hour!

Ike was actually pretty "benign" in terms of infrastructure damage (the cell sites stayed up)...so we never got a solid test of our packet link to FEMA HQ outside of Houston...

But it is hard to see a role for a satellite that flies over for a few minutes and is not "there" most of the day...or even three or four of them.

After the hurricane FEMA cut lose with some more money for our site...they are not keen on amateur satellites but they like TACSAT 4...one of the reasons a group I am part of got an SBIR to play on Tacsat 4 was because of FEMA helping.  

We get an HEO (or had AO-10 or 40 or even Arsene) well maybe things change until then not so much Robert WB5MZO

> From: w1pa at hotmail.com
> To: wageners at gmail.com; domenico.i8cvs at tin.it
> Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 21:10:45 -0400
> CC: amsat-bb at amsat.org
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Amateur Satellites and the emergency on tornadoin Oklahoma and Texas
> Yep, I was going to raise the same point and link. They list the following "benefits":
> - providing Satellite based Amateur Radio 
> 						Services/meet 
> 						the long felt need for the Amateur Radio Operators of 
> 						South Asian region (especially a mode B bird)
> - bring Satellite 
> 						Services within the reach of the common man and 
> 						popularize Space Technology among the masses.
> - stimulation of technical interest and 
> 						awareness among the younger generation by providing them 
> 						with an opportunity to develop their technological 
> 						projects
> - providing a low 
> 						cost readily accessible reliable means of communication 
> 						during emergencies and calamities like flood, 
> 						earthquakes, etc.
> I never said the last one is a "falsehood". I am suggesting it does not hold anywhere near the same weight as the first three.
> I have never been in a tornado. But I would suggest that those hams in the impact zone no longer have access to any working equipment, which means hams in the surrounding areas are coming in to help, and have the choice. If I was going into the impact zone and had the choice of what communications I might bring, it would be 
> - a portable cell site
> - mobile/HT VHF/UHF
> - mobile HF
> ...in that order. A portable satellite station would be a distant fourth.
> If you read the summaries in the aftermath of Joplin, amateur radio (VHF/UHF) played a critical role in the minutes leading up to, and the hours after the tornado tore through. Then mobile phone, mobile date, and social media took over when the mobile cell sites came on line. 
> Back to prepping my FD station,
> Bill W1PA
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