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11/20/2019 5:07:11 PM
Posted: 10/31/2009 1:14:20 PM EST
...and learned a ton!

As always, thanks for looking

Just participated in my very first ARES training session and had a great time. All participants were transmitting from their home stations, which was good because I don't have a portable setup configured yet. There was a big emphasis on simplex communication. During the ice storm last year most of the repeaters were knocked off the air, hence the push for reliable simplex communication. I was stunned at the number of people who had problems programming their rigs to the simplex practice frequency. Even though the primary and alternate freqs are published clearly in the emergency communications plan, many people didn't have them programmed into their radios. A few people were unable to program their radios and had to be talked through it. Good grief.

During an emergency, I think some of these people are going to do more harm than good

Aside from that, it was an excellent session and I enjoyed it very much. It's amazing to listen to how efficiently experienced operators can handle traffic and transfer information.

I'm really looking forward to my next training session.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:14:03 PM EST
Good insights. This tracks with my experiences. It's quite frightening how many hams are just "button pushers" and don't really understand how stuff works and perhaps more frightening that many are not even that good at button pushing.

Can you give us any insight into what ARES would actually be doing in, say, another ice storm of the magnitude we had last year? I mean *really* doing, not just deploying "in case". My scanner showed that none of the Hillsborough County dispatch centers went off the air. Wireline phone and internet also stayed up even while power was down in my neck of the woods. Cellular only got a little wacky for about 2 hours in the morning. You could make calls but it often took 10 tries. Our infrastructure is more robust than many fear (or sometimes hope, it seems) it will be.

Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:40:56 PM EST
Good job! Glad to see you getting involved. As an Assistant Emergency Coordinator I'm not the least bit surprised people struggled and/or didn't have their radios programmed. We do simplex nets just for this reason. Too many people don't even know what's in their manual or how to find what they need to get the basics programmed. Earlier this year I did a presentation on this and I know that it was the first time for many to have even cracked their manuals open. It was disappointing.

aa, we don't have ice storms down here but if I attacked it like a hurricane we'd be at key points of interest shadowing police and fire. For example, we staff Red Cross hurricane shelters and pass traffic between the shelters and the EOC. We work with local police and fire so everyone knows about road closures and other incidents like that. That's important for us because we have bridges everywhere and we need to know when they're closed for high winds. We also staff area hospitals and pass the same transport info that dispatch is passing for ambulances so the ERs have redundant sources of info and can be prepared for patient numbers and types.

I don't know how much different it would be for an ice storm but I would assume it would be fairly similar.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:30:56 PM EST
THIS is important:


This is a Powerpoint presentation, Getting Started With Traffic Handling:

www.arrl.org/FandES/field/NTS.ppt


Traffic handling:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/pdf/index.html

This used to be in the old ARRL Net Operations manual (not sure of the exact title) no longer in print. Now you can download it as pdf files.


Radiogram forms:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/RADIOGRM.pdf

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/radiogram2.pdf Printer friendly, less black.

You can also buy these "Message Pads" from ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1320#top

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1310#top

The Form 1320 pad above should be at every station easily accessible.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:00:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By A_Free_Man:
THIS is important:

Not so sure for ARES. I can say that in the 3 years I've been an AEC we've never used NTS or NTS messages for ARES. This includes both drills and actual activations.

I still think it's important for folks to know and encourage participation in your regional phone nets but I don't know anybody using this for message handling in our district.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:05:36 AM EST
If you classified traffic during a real––not simulated––emergency into three categories:

1. Shadow/back-up/practice traffic.
2. Traffic from locations that are not ordinarily equipped with radio communications.
3. Traffic from locations that ARE ordinarily equipped with radio communications (PD, Fire, EMS, EOC, GVT, etc.) but they have failed for some reason.

How many of you have actually passed traffic from category 3 as I've defined them above under actual emergency conditions? Could you offer insight into the circumstances surrounding the failure that caused a reliance on amateur radio?
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 8:37:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
3. Traffic from locations that ARE ordinarily equipped with radio communications (PD, Fire, EMS, EOC, GVT, etc.) but they have failed for some reason.

How many of you have actually passed traffic from category 3 as I've defined them above under actual emergency conditions? Could you offer insight into the circumstances surrounding the failure that caused a reliance on amateur radio?

During the Bugaboo fires of 2007 that burned up large portions of SE GA and NE FL ARES was activated to provide mutual aid to a neighboring county. Baker County is very small and this was a national media event. Due to this, the small county's infrastructure had to support local police/fire as well as probably hundreds of other regional, state, and national emergency personnel. Added to this were local, regional, and national media. Unfortunately neither the cellular or landline services could support the massive number of people trying to use them and both services completely crashed. They were unavailable for three days either completely or in a very limited capacity.

To assist with emergency communications we staffed the EOC, a local shelter, and the fire line. Our operator at the fire line would relay personnel and equipment needs back to the EOC and could provide other updates as needed. For these three days we were their primary means of communications. To be honest I don't know if they brought COWs in or were simply able to shore up the existing infrastructure to bring things back online.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:42:56 PM EST
I can understand the shelter, but didn't the EOC and the fire line already have public safety radio comm's? From the type of failure you described it would seem like the only people that were screwed out of comm's were the public and the media but you didn't say that those areas were backstopped?
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:55:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
I can understand the shelter, but didn't the EOC and the fire line already have public safety radio comm's? From the type of failure you described it would seem like the only people that were screwed out of comm's were the public and the media but you didn't say that those areas were backstopped?


do you know how many people were there? not only that but how many different radio freq's that they all had? there is NO WAY 1, 2 or even 3 EOC's could handle that much radio traffic, much less interop with each other.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:21:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By mylt1:
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
I can understand the shelter, but didn't the EOC and the fire line already have public safety radio comm's? From the type of failure you described it would seem like the only people that were screwed out of comm's were the public and the media but you didn't say that those areas were backstopped?


do you know how many people were there? not only that but how many different radio freq's that they all had? there is NO WAY 1, 2 or even 3 EOC's could handle that much radio traffic, much less interop with each other.


No, I don't know how many, do you? Obviously if it was a large forest fire a great many. But your argument is immaterial. The problem you describe is what the incident command system is for. Each sector (whether it's fire attack or some support or logistical function) communicates amongst itself and things filter up through sector and brigade commands to a single EOC. This is not the part of the problem that amateur radio solves.

Back to the original question: did not the various sectors and sector commands already have appropriate radio communications equipment? The reason I ask is because in my state every fire service has programmed a set of mutual aid/ICS/interoperability freq's that are common throughout the state. Even if their portables are not equipped there is always a way to communicate higher on a piece of apparatus. Finally, the larger towns are prepared to distribute radios to facilitate interoperability on the off chance some service shows up ill-equipped.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:42:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By A_Free_Man:
THIS is important:


This is a Powerpoint presentation, Getting Started With Traffic Handling:

www.arrl.org/FandES/field/NTS.ppt


Traffic handling:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/pdf/index.html

This used to be in the old ARRL Net Operations manual (not sure of the exact title) no longer in print. Now you can download it as pdf files.


Radiogram forms:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/RADIOGRM.pdf

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/radiogram2.pdf Printer friendly, less black.

You can also buy these "Message Pads" from ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1320#top

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1310#top

The Form 1320 pad above should be at every station easily accessible.


OOOOH, thanks, I was wondering about that.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:05:38 AM EST
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
I can understand the shelter, but didn't the EOC and the fire line already have public safety radio comm's? From the type of failure you described it would seem like the only people that were screwed out of comm's were the public and the media but you didn't say that those areas were backstopped?


I believe there were problems communicating from the fire line to the EOC via the public service radios. For some reason I'm thinking a tower was in the forest and went up in smoke. I'll see if I can't get more details. My memory is failing me.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:42:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 5:43:22 AM EST by mylt1]
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:No, I don't know how many, do you? Obviously if it was a large forest fire a great many. But your argument is immaterial. The problem you describe is what the incident command system is for. Each sector (whether it's fire attack or some support or logistical function) communicates amongst itself and things filter up through sector and brigade commands to a single EOC. This is not the part of the problem that amateur radio solves.

Back to the original question: did not the various sectors and sector commands already have appropriate radio communications equipment? The reason I ask is because in my state every fire service has programmed a set of mutual aid/ICS/interoperability freq's that are common throughout the state. Even if their portables are not equipped there is always a way to communicate higher on a piece of apparatus. Finally, the larger towns are prepared to distribute radios to facilitate interoperability on the off chance some service shows up ill-equipped.


you sound like someone that works for FEMA that has no clue about the real world dynamics of a large fire that has multiple departments responding from not only different districts but also different states. the fact is, HT's dont last as long as a shift on a fire line and most guys dont carry 2 or 3 batteries. also, unless your on a repeater its very easy to get out of reach of comms in something that large. i would like to know what state your in so i can check on the interop freq. we have a "state wide EMS" tac channel but that really only works if all the systems across the state were on VHF which there not, so its really hit or miss or pretty much useless. add to that its an EMS channel only so no go for fire PLUS with that many people on one channel i could only imagine the nightmare it would be. i know how our system is when we have 4 or 5 dept's on a single fire having 30 or 40 dept's would shut down most systems. the reason for the HAM ops dong ecomm is because they have the equipment that can be up and running for hours off what they bring to the party and they can put up a quick tower or even just string a tree and have comms that put all HT's and most mobile radios to shame.

oh, and as jax states, if a tower gets toasted there is a HUGE coverage area that you just lost. no interop or mutual aid freq is going to make up for that lost coverage area.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 10:19:37 AM EST
Ok, just got some more scoop which makes sense. The tower didn't burn up as I recalled. However, this is a very small county that was affected. They weren't prepared for the large number of emergency personnel that responded so the various agencies couldn't communicate. It took time before the tactical bridge could be brought in to tie the disparate systems together. And there was also the issue of battery life etc as mentioned above. They also brought a COW in to restore some cellular capabilities. I've also been told by police and fire personnel during other events like TS Fay that they rarely use their radios and that most rely on their cell phones.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:46:50 PM EST
State is NH. We have an excellent list of mutual aid/fireground/tactical (call it what you want) freq's. Never worked for FEMA, just my town's EMS/FD/Emergency Management dept's. This was 10 years ago. Things are even better comm-wise now, I'm sure. We never had a problem then even with a 4 or 5 town response. Certainly a 40 or 50 town response would be a problem :-) Unlikely to happen as New Englander's are pretty hardy and shrug off things like ice storms and whatnot.

However that problem is self-limiting as you say. Everyone's handhelds will die because indeed nobody is set up to go more than a shift battery-wise. Never thought about that. So that means I would assume that in the big fire scenario intra-team/intra-sector comm's were ultimately reduced to runners because no way were their enough ham's to go more than one for each sector?

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:04:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 5:05:46 PM EST by pcsutton]
Several years ago, a tornado hit Evansville, Indiana at about 1:20 AM. Killed a bunch of people. Hurt a bunch more.

I helped pass traffic from a neighboring County's 911 dispatch office via 2 meter simplex because the centers emergency generator wouldn't run. We had a guy at the dispatch office and we set up 2 staging areas where all the ambulances came for dispatch instructions. The Indiana State Police, sheriff deputies, and fire departments were also getting dispatched via our staging operations. Of course they all had radios....but dispatch didn't. We relayed it all.

In Army MARS we are set up for NVIS comms which cover up to about 500 miles. We are using MT63 and Olivia digital modes over HF for a good bit of traffic, and we can also send e-mail into and out of affected areas via Pactor over HF. Seems our served agencies like FEMA, DoD, State Ops Center and others like being able to send and receive e-mail messages with support requests, etc.

I admire anybody who makes the effort to work in emcomms, and was the County EC for ARES at one time....but most ARES members will not put forth the effort to train up to a level that is useful in most situations. Most couldn't properly format a piece of traffic...let alone pass it acurately on the air....and they got insulted if you intimated that they really should learn. Lots of wackers and wanna-bes. Not all...but a lot.

If you really want to learn emergency communications over 2 way radio....check out the MARS program. We have multiple nets daily and have training on most of them.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:10:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By pcsutton:
most ARES members will not put forth the effort to train up to a level that is useful in most situations. Most couldn't properly format a piece of traffic...let alone pass it acurately on the air....and they got insulted if you intimated that they really should learn. Lots of wackers and wanna-bes. Not all...but a lot.



We have to try and be selective of who we involve with drills/activations. We have those that show up to everything wearing their camo, those that want every ID/credential they can get, etc. However, if you look at who shows up to most events it's the same old people (and the majority are in leadership positions). Out of the almost 90 people on our roster maybe 20% are what I would consider active. We do our best to keep people trained but there are some that just want to belong to various organizations to say they belong.

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:49:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By JaxShooter:
Originally Posted By pcsutton:
most ARES members will not put forth the effort to train up to a level that is useful in most situations. Most couldn't properly format a piece of traffic...let alone pass it acurately on the air....and they got insulted if you intimated that they really should learn. Lots of wackers and wanna-bes. Not all...but a lot.



We have to try and be selective of who we involve with drills/activations. We have those that show up to everything wearing their camo, those that want every ID/credential they can get, etc. However, if you look at who shows up to most events it's the same old people (and the majority are in leadership positions). Out of the almost 90 people on our roster maybe 20% are what I would consider active. We do our best to keep people trained but there are some that just want to belong to various organizations to say they belong.


I hear ya. It's like they think being an ARES members is something you have to do to be 'ham cool'....and that's the extent of their participation...joining. Although MARS is advocating availing ourselves of ARES involvement or cooperation for drills etc...I personally don't see much benefit in making the effort. Most can't do anything useful. It's a shame.

I had a spot on a weekly 2 meter net when I was EC and I tried to teach people how to pass traffic....fewer and fewer people participated. They had no interest in learning...only in being able to claim to be an ARES member. I quit.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:14:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
State is NH. We have an excellent list of mutual aid/fireground/tactical (call it what you want) freq's. Never worked for FEMA, just my town's EMS/FD/Emergency Management dept's. This was 10 years ago. Things are even better comm-wise now, I'm sure. We never had a problem then even with a 4 or 5 town response. Certainly a 40 or 50 town response would be a problem :-) Unlikely to happen as New Englander's are pretty hardy and shrug off things like ice storms and whatnot.

However that problem is self-limiting as you say. Everyone's handhelds will die because indeed nobody is set up to go more than a shift battery-wise. Never thought about that. So that means I would assume that in the big fire scenario intra-team/intra-sector comm's were ultimately reduced to runners because no way were their enough ham's to go more than one for each sector?



i would assume(and we all know what happened when you do that) that the hams in the field were at the command post or the staging area then relaying info from there to the EOC. if there is equipment on site you would only need to get your info to the truck and the truck could relay to command then from there to the EOC via the ham link. they could have also got there info to relay back from firefighters whom were leaving the lines after then had been relieved by there replacements as they passed the command post going to the rehab area or back to staging.

in a state the size of Nh a state wide system wouldnt be that hard to put up and maintain but head to a state like Ny, Pa, Va, its hard to get a state wide system that works because of not only the initial cost but also upkeep on the equipment. even then you would have areas that didnt have coverage. most just dont have the time or resources to setup long distance comms much less interop with other responding units from more than say a county or two away, much less units from another state.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:23:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By mylt1:
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
State is NH. We have an excellent list of mutual aid/fireground/tactical (call it what you want) freq's. Never worked for FEMA, just my town's EMS/FD/Emergency Management dept's. This was 10 years ago. Things are even better comm-wise now, I'm sure. We never had a problem then even with a 4 or 5 town response. Certainly a 40 or 50 town response would be a problem :-) Unlikely to happen as New Englander's are pretty hardy and shrug off things like ice storms and whatnot.

However that problem is self-limiting as you say. Everyone's handhelds will die because indeed nobody is set up to go more than a shift battery-wise. Never thought about that. So that means I would assume that in the big fire scenario intra-team/intra-sector comm's were ultimately reduced to runners because no way were their enough ham's to go more than one for each sector?



i would assume(and we all know what happened when you do that) that the hams in the field were at the command post or the staging area then relaying info from there to the EOC. if there is equipment on site you would only need to get your info to the truck and the truck could relay to command then from there to the EOC via the ham link. they could have also got there info to relay back from firefighters whom were leaving the lines after then had been relieved by there replacements as they passed the command post going to the rehab area or back to staging.

in a state the size of Nh a state wide system wouldnt be that hard to put up and maintain but head to a state like Ny, Pa, Va, its hard to get a state wide system that works because of not only the initial cost but also upkeep on the equipment. even then you would have areas that didnt have coverage. most just dont have the time or resources to setup long distance comms much less interop with other responding units from more than say a county or two away, much less units from another state.

Try it in Texas!
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 8:47:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By pcsutton:


Try it in Texas!


i figured everyone would have gotten the point with the 3 i listed. could you imagine the system that would have to cover Alaska?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:49:44 AM EST
During the 2008 ice storm Rockingham County dispatch went off the air two days after the storm hit. Legend has it they ran out of diesel for their backup generator

Rock serves as the police, fire, and EMS dispatch center for around two dozen towns throughout the county. Two hours before they went down they advised the agencies they serve to revert to their backup dispatch centers. I wasn't a HAM at the time-I just had their their non-P25 frequencies programmed into a portable scanner. Suddenly, a whole bunch of small local agencies lost the ability to communicate with each other (Rock's repeater was down), nor could they do license, NCIC checks etc.

I don't know the details of the ARES/RACES deployment since it happened before my time as a HAM. I do know that the deployment was large, however. I don't know if the HAMs deployed at county, in the affected towns themselves, or both. My Father is the CLEO of one of the affected towns. When I see him next I'll try to get some specific details of the 2008 ice clu$terfu¢k.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 12:20:11 PM EST
CJan: That's pretty sad! However I suspect that a better solution would have been to roust some diesel over the genny rather than roust a bunch of hams out of their homes. That would have been my choice if I was king, anyways (which I'm not, of course!)
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:40:58 PM EST
Running out of fuel for the generators isn't that hard to believe. There is a finite fuel supply at the various sites around town. If they run out of fuel three things have to happen. First, somebody has to be able to get to where reserve fuel is. Second there needs to be power available to run th pumps. And finally, they need to be able to get to the tower site and refuel Depending on the nature of the event any or all of these may be difficult or impossible to accomplish.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:44:00 PM EST
You're right Jax, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. That said, even my Father's little rural safety complex has a milsurp 250 gallon fuel bowser filled with diesel fuel for their own generator. You'd think that a major county dispatch center would have better support for their emergency infrastructure.

Clearly, their emergency infrastructure isn't supported by one of us
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 3:21:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 3:22:43 PM EST by JaxShooter]


Well, you also have to take into consideration that it becomes a larger problem as your population grows. The more generators you have to keep going on an extended basis the more difficult it becomes. I think about a large-scale event (in our case most likely a hurricane) not quite like Katrina but at least approaching it in severity and I think it's highly feasible that large portions of the infrastructure would be adversely affected with limited resources available to keep things online if they can even access them. Heck, we have severe flooding with just a few days' rain. Throw a major storm our way and we'd be in a world of hurt.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 6:29:55 PM EST
If you classified traffic during a real––not simulated––emergency into three categories:

1. Shadow/back-up/practice traffic.
2. Traffic from locations that are not ordinarily equipped with radio communications.
3. Traffic from locations that ARE ordinarily equipped with radio communications (PD, Fire, EMS, EOC, GVT, etc.) but they have failed for some reason.

How many of you have actually passed traffic from category 3 as I've defined them above under actual emergency conditions? Could you offer insight into the circumstances surrounding the failure that caused a reliance on amateur radio?


Many years ago, I was given a message from a FEMA rep during a nuclear power station drill. The scenerio was already simulating full telephone outage and he said simulate failure of the county repeater site which included the state repeaters. I passed the traffic to the forward EOC on the neighboring participating county's amatuer radio repeater. Was this a likely scenerio? Not to me, but apparently, he thought it was worth doing. I also made a test transmission on a 440 repeater with one of the local municipality's firefighters (a ham) during flash flooding in case of power loss to the city repeaters. We could interop rescue and fire comms. Now there is an Pal 800 talkgroup for this.

RS
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 5:16:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By radioshooter:
Many years ago, I was given a message from a FEMA rep during a nuclear power station drill. The scenerio was already simulating full telephone outage and he said simulate failure of the county repeater site which included the state repeaters. I passed the traffic to the forward EOC on the neighboring participating county's amatuer radio repeater. Was this a likely scenerio? Not to me, but apparently, he thought it was worth doing. I also made a test transmission on a 440 repeater with one of the local municipality's firefighters (a ham) during flash flooding in case of power loss to the city repeaters. We could interop rescue and fire comms. Now there is an Pal 800 talkgroup for this.

RS


This is actually something we're starting to work on. There are 5 counties in our ARES district and, for the most part, we're fairly autonomous. We're starting to reach out to the other counties now and hope to be able to share resources in emergency situations. We already link repeaters and use Echolink but these all require both ends to be functioning. Can't very well link the repeaters if one or more are down. We're looking at NBEMS as our mechanism (most likely using 2M SSB) but NIVS might be an option as well.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 11:29:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 11:31:12 AM EST by pcsutton]

Originally Posted By JaxShooter:
Originally Posted By radioshooter:
Many years ago, I was given a message from a FEMA rep during a nuclear power station drill. The scenerio was already simulating full telephone outage and he said simulate failure of the county repeater site which included the state repeaters. I passed the traffic to the forward EOC on the neighboring participating county's amatuer radio repeater. Was this a likely scenerio? Not to me, but apparently, he thought it was worth doing. I also made a test transmission on a 440 repeater with one of the local municipality's firefighters (a ham) during flash flooding in case of power loss to the city repeaters. We could interop rescue and fire comms. Now there is an Pal 800 talkgroup for this.

RS


This is actually something we're starting to work on. There are 5 counties in our ARES district and, for the most part, we're fairly autonomous. We're starting to reach out to the other counties now and hope to be able to share resources in emergency situations. We already link repeaters and use Echolink but these all require both ends to be functioning. Can't very well link the repeaters if one or more are down. We're looking at NBEMS as our mechanism (most likely using 2M SSB) but NIVS might be an option as well.

To get 'real viable help' in a bad situation....NVIS HF is da Shiz! You can reach outside the affected area and get support from agencies who aren't impacted by the situation. The 'heavy duty' assistance from DoD and FEMA likely will require comms reaching outside the affected zone.

Army MARS is using Airmail over Pactor 3 and we have PMBOs set up all over. This allows us to pass e-mail traffic, out of an area where the internet is down, to a PMBO where it is put back onto the internet and sent to the original recipient via regular internet. This comes in handy for requesting mundane relief items like blood, drinking water, SAR teams, gen-sets, ect.

For local-local stuff, sometimes you just have to relay traffic from station to station. That's why ARES / RACES operators need to know how to, and practice to, pass accurate traffic. A piece of traffic, dispatching an ambulance or other response to a life emergency, is worthless if some bozo can't relay the address acurately. Untrained people sometimes guess at what they thought they heard instead of asking for fills. Most don't know how to format a message to originate it. Net discipline and practice as net control is just as important - but taken for granted as being too simple for ARES members to actually learn it.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 12:46:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By pcsutton:
To get 'real viable help' in a bad situation....NVIS HF is da Shiz! You can reach outside the affected area and get support from agencies who aren't impacted by the situation. The 'heavy duty' assistance from DoD and FEMA likely will require comms reaching outside the affected zone.

We definitely have HF in place for reaching outside the area. The 2M SSB and NBEMS is strictly for county to county. NVIS would work too, though. We haven't really set anything in stone and are still testing.


That's why ARES / RACES operators need to know how to, and practice to, pass accurate traffic. A piece of traffic, dispatching an ambulance or other response to a life emergency, is worthless if some bozo can't relay the address acurately. Untrained people sometimes guess at what they thought they heard instead of asking for fills. Most don't know how to format a message to originate it. Net discipline and practice as net control is just as important - but taken for granted as being too simple for ARES members to actually learn it.

Well said. I think I may stage traffic with people for one of our nets to see how it gets passed. And maybe interrupt during the net with some priority traffic to see how net control takes it. Of course it won't be this month since I'm net control. I wonder if I can fluster myself.

Link Posted: 11/5/2009 4:43:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By CJan_NH:


During an emergency, I think some of these people are going to do more harm than good


We have a few like that. Practice events are held to identify these people. There is always a place for them where they will excel though.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:07:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By schapman43:
We have a few like that. Practice events are held to identify these people. There is always a place for them where they will excel though.

There was a particular HAM present during the training net whose call I recognized from one of the local repeaters. I hear this guy rambling every day on the repeater-droning on and on about his gall bladder, his pacemaker, the color and smell of his morning urine...you get the idea That wouldn't be so bad, except that his radio discipline is absolutely horrid-he's constantly doubling, talking out of turn, unkeying his mic mid-sentence...you name it.

For those reasons I didn't expect much when I heard him sign into the training net. Man was I wrong! He must have taken his vitamins that morning, because his communications were crisp, easy to understand, and very efficient.

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