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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    My mistake..."chuckle"...


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Could you present a few examples of the Amateur "net" failing...during an EMERGENCY? Here are a few [of many] that come to mind, no fantasy just a REALITY, CHECK...where the 800 failed, and without AMATEUR backup, ZERO, ZIP for many hours.

    1. During hurricane Andrew...the ONLY comm. anyone [public safety] had was the Amateur nets. Their entire 800 system went down...along with the cell-tell's they were counting on...in case the 800 went down. You neglect to emphasize the NEED for repeaters, towers and antennas to operate the 800 system. Without those...ZERO, ZIP!

    2. During hurricane Katrina...the ONLY comm. anyone had [public safety] was the Amateur and Family Radios, that the mayor ordered taken from the local Radio Shacks. No repeaters, towers with antennas...ZERO, ZIP! And, per their website...they had the "latest, greatest money could buy"...800 system.
    First of all, remember what I said, instead of taking only what you feel you
    can defend and running with it.

    I said, a PROPERLY DESIGNED system. That's imperative.

    Can I quote incidents where the HAM system failed during an emergency? Sure I can. I can also quote trainings where no operators showed up - causing the powers that be to have no faith in the HAM community. Maybe
    we could say because of "security issues" we won't go into it. LOL

    I have no desire to slam all HAM radio folks though. (Even those that are not clear on the difference between AM and FM on low band) HAM radio has its place, and is another tool in the toolbox.

    Are they the cure all? Nope, just like an 800 Mhz radio system is not a cure all. It is however, another tool in the tool box.

    Oh, and the main system at NOLA had nothing to do with 800 Mhz failure,
    it was a 2X4 through the radiator of the genset. They also should have had simplex capability, and the training to use it.

    Commercial paging worked well though.





    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post

    Ya...that is REALLY funny isn't it...LMAO

    I am not going to go into the details of a system that I am involved with for security reasons, however we have ICOM-7000 AMATEUR Radio's installed at over 30 hospitals [purchased through DHS], for the very reasons mentioned above. Communications is accomplished [with or without repeaters]...tested weekly on VHF/UHF on a "net-link" to include the local EOC's during and emergency...when everything else fails.

    Remember, "the chain is ONLY as strong as it weakest link"

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    LVFD301=

    Can I quote incidents where the HAM system failed during an emergency? Sure I can. I can also quote trainings where no operators showed up - causing the powers that be to have no faith in the HAM community. Maybe we could say because of "security issues" we won't go into it. LOL
    However, you did not present any examples of incidents where the HAM system failed? As far as "trainings" [where no operators showed], they too are volunteers, offering mostly their OWN {not govt. issued} equipment, i.e; expensive rigs, generators, portable antennas, etc., just like F/F volies...who fail to show up at "training" due to employment obligations. However, when the SHF, the HAM operators are on the job...at NO COST to the taxpayer whatsoever. The "security issues" have to do with JCAHO, NIMS, FEMA and hospital security regulations.

    I have no desire to slam all HAM radio folks though. (Even those that are not clear on the difference between AM and FM on low band) HAM radio has its place, and is another tool in the toolbox.
    I apologized for MY mistake in the AM/FM bandwidth, however it looks like that will be a "continuing issue" in this discussion.

    Oh, and the main system at NOLA had nothing to do with 800 Mhz failure, it was a 2X4 through the radiator of the genset. They also should have had simplex capability, and the training to use it.
    Exactly my point. The system 800 MHz failed...regardless of the cause, and there was plenty of "other" SHOULD HAVES down there. During every recorded incident/emergency [when you read the critique]...there is ALWAYS a communication failure of some type. Amateur radio is the ONLY fail-safe [Plan-B if you will] that can be counted on every time. If in doubt, hide-'n-watch during the next hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc., and see who is working the inter-communications from the IC to the EOC.

    Remember, "the chain is ONLY as strong as it weakest link"
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-17-2009 at 09:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    However, you did not present any examples of incidents where the HAM system failed? As far as "trainings" [where no operators showed], they too are volunteers, offering mostly their OWN {not govt. issued} equipment, i.e; expensive rigs, generators, portable antennas, etc., just like F/F volies...who fail to show up at "training" due to employment obligations. However, when the SHF, the HAM operators are on the job...at NO COST to the taxpayer whatsoever. The "security issues" have to do with JCAHO, NIMS, FEMA and hospital security regulations.
    Actually, there is a cost much of the time. There is cost reimbursement, equipment rental, grants providing repeaters, radios in hospitals, etc. And I am talking specifically above about a regional exercise, involving a regional hospital back up system, paid for with taxpayer money, installing HAM radios in each of the hospitals for a backup system. All those same agencies security regulations - except for NIMS... NIMS does not have any stand alone security regulations.

    I can understand one or two volunteers not showing up - but every hospital in the region was unstaffed. If we don't train, we don't work.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    I apologized for MY mistake in the AM/FM bandwidth, however it looks like that will be a "continuing issue" in this discussion.
    Well you do make it easy. Bandwidth? How about modulation method?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post


    Exactly my point. The system 800 MHz failed...regardless of the cause, and there was plenty of "other" SHOULD HAVES down there. During every recorded incident/emergency [when you read the critique]...there is ALWAYS a communication failure of some type. Amateur radio is the ONLY fail-safe [Plan-B if you will] that can be counted on every time. If in doubt, hide-'n-watch during the next hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc., and see who is working the inter-communications from the IC to the EOC.

    Remember, "the chain is ONLY as strong as it weakest link"
    No, your point was the failure of 800 mhz. A generator failure can affect any band, any service, any place any where.

    I don't play hide-'n-watch. I don't get that chance. I am on the front lines. Although we do have hams as a backup we have yet to need them, due to our own redundant systems. We get tornados, ice storms, and do earthquake planning as a matter of course.

    Thankfully we don't get the hurricanes up here, but I do get involved, specifically in site restoration. Lots of HAM systems down after a hurricane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    Amateur radio is the ONLY fail-safe [Plan-B if you will] that can be counted on every time.

    Remember, "the chain is ONLY as strong as it weakest link"

    Amateur radio is just as fail safe as any other system. You can build an 800 Mhz system to be just as stable as a HF radio, and a HF radio to be just as stable as the weakest UHF system out there.

    Any of the systems can be as redundant and reliable as the other. It just has to be built that way.

    HAM radio is only as good as the operator and equipment. To say it can be counted on every time is not even close to reality.

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    Exclamation Fire Chiefs May Dump New Radios:

    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Amateur radio is just as fail safe as any other system. You can build an 800 Mhz system to be just as stable as a HF radio, and a HF radio to be just as stable as the weakest UHF system out there.

    Any of the systems can be as redundant and reliable as the other. It just has to be built that way.
    Aug. 17, 2009: Another RECENT "example":

    Penn Township Fire Chief Jan Cromer said the new digital system, which cost about $36 million, is worse in southwestern York County than its analog predecessor. There are big gaps in coverage, he said, and communication between firefighters at incidents is unreliable.

    Cromer said firefighters have experienced temporary blackouts when the system appears to malfunction and noted it has big gaps in coverage. Plus, he said, communication is unreliable when firefighters group together at incidents. Such failures could prevent commanders from directing firefighters to get out of buildings that appear to be in imminent danger of collapse because of fire, he said. There was no radio coverage using portable radios, he said. Normally, he could have relied on vehicle-mounted radios in the fire apparatus to communicate with York County 911, he said. Vehicle mounted radios are stronger and tend to have better reception, he said.
    Isn't the "object of the exercise"...MORE SAFETY and BETTER communications for F/F?

    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/...dios-/46$64982

    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    HAM radio is only as good as the operator and equipment. To say it can be counted on every time is not even close to reality.
    It appears [to me] that their analog predecessor [VHF/UHF system] was more reliable than this $36 million dollar MESS! But then, you will NEVER get the folks who bought the MESS to admit they "got taken." Now it becomes a "take it or leave it"...USER problem.

    "Bigger, wider, higher, more expensive and high-tech is not always the answer to everything."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After thinking about this a little, I would bet that there are a few small departments around there that could have used a few brand-new, shinny, custom pumpers for the $36 Mil. spent on something they REALLY did not NEED, and is unreliable. Matter of fact, $36 Mil. could have bought at least (70+) seventy pumpers. Where is the accountability and justification?
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-18-2009 at 03:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    if I understand trunked systems correctly, they use several radio frequencies to service a greater number of talk groups. It takes advantage of dead time so that say 2 frequencies can serve say 4 talk groups (just arbitrary numbers). Its like juggling, the talk groups are the balls and the hands are the radio frequencies. Well when SHTF, traffic increases system gets overloaded and the system craps out.

    Its over simplified and I wont pretend to fully understand the system, but thats part of the reason why I think trunk systems behave poorly in critical situations when the radios light up.
    Correct, another way to look at it is the trunking that big telephone systems use.

    Take your local hospital. While they may have 400 telephones with outside access, they may have only 10 outside lines. Normally this is not a problem. In severe loading situations they may have priority users.

    Change that to radios and frequencies and you have trunking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Correct, another way to look at it is the trunking that big telephone systems use.

    Take your local hospital. While they may have 400 telephones with outside access, they may have only 10 outside lines. Normally this is not a problem. In severe loading situations they may have priority users.

    Change that to radios and frequencies and you have trunking.
    LVFD; Do you remember THIS April 2009 incident?

    At least several people attempted to call 911 before driving themselves to the emergency room. Many businesses also were forced to either accept cash or close for a few hours, though they will not be able to claim any refunds from AT&T over lost sales. A lady in Gilroy fled her home when a robber broke in, and couldn't call 911 before fleeing to a nearby firehouse.
    http://www.dailytech.com/Vandals+Cut...ticle14821.htm

    I cannot find the article [from another paper] on THIS incident, but it stated that, "the local volunteer RACES/ARES Amateur radio clubs, "set-up" at various neighborhood locations...relaying messages on their VHF/UHF equipment to the EOC for citizens in need of help, since the entire 911 system was down." There was no mention of the local govt. offering this for the public, but then, how could they? I am sure they set-up an IC [proscribed by NIMS] in their Mobile Command vehicle for first responders...but not for the folks [citizenry] who lost their ability to contact 911.

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    Someones thinking is flawed to mention security reasons in regards to HAM radio. Ham radio is public domain and can't be encrypted so thus there is no security. Sure Hippa regulations come into play, but there shouldn't be any disclosure of patient information anyways.

    I think its a travesty that the 30 or so hospitals didn't utilize commercial based gear instead of clogging up the airwaves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue601 View Post
    Someones thinking is flawed to mention security reasons in regards to HAM radio. Ham radio is public domain and can't be encrypted so thus there is no security. Sure Hippa regulations come into play, but there shouldn't be any disclosure of patient information anyways.
    There was no mention of the HAM radio being "secure." Anytime anyone is operating within the confines of a hospital, HIPPA, JCAHO, NIMS and SECURITY are definitely an issue today.

    I think its a travesty that the 30 or so hospitals didn't utilize commercial based gear instead of clogging up the airwaves.
    No "travesty" as I did not say that the 30 hospitals used Ham radio for their daily, primary source of communications. I was referring to "backup" communications should the "commercial" system fail for whatever reasons. Of course, I realize that it never will...but I consider this back-up, Plan-B if you will, good mitigation and a CYA project. Obviously DHS does also, as they funded the entire project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    I cannot find the article [from another paper] on THIS incident, but it stated that, "the local volunteer RACES/ARES Amateur radio clubs, "set-up" at various neighborhood locations...relaying messages on their VHF/UHF equipment to the EOC for citizens in need of help, since the entire 911 system was down." There was no mention of the local govt. offering this for the public, but then, how could they? I am sure they set-up an IC [proscribed by NIMS] in their Mobile Command vehicle for first responders...but not for the folks [citizenry] who lost their ability to contact 911.
    Wow. All this from a discussion about 800 mhz.

    Amazing how you have managed to warp this - and even now have
    no bearing on reality.

    No one said HAM radio does not have a place. It is not a cure all, and
    it does not always work, just as I said. Regardless of what you post here, it is not perfect, and it does not always perform. It uses technology, it uses people. Both of those things can be broken.

    It is only as good as - just like you post - its weakest link. All systems have a weakest link.

    If you are so sensitive about trying to be right on at least one thing in your diatribe, then I will concede - HF is more dependable for long range communications than a 800 Mhz trunking system. Happy now? You can run around to the local 2 meter repeater and brag how you proved your point on the internet, and I even agreed you were right. Don't tell them that you were wrong 99% of the time, that does not really matter to the local 2 meter coffee klatch.

    You know, I donate lots of space to HAM radio groups on my towers, but you are the kind of HAM that makes me rethink that.

    I got to thinking after I posted this - are you even a HAM? Seems like some pretty basic mistakes you made in the thread, am/fm, etc. Do you have a callsign?
    Last edited by LVFD301; 08-18-2009 at 04:37 PM.

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    Although a little rough around the edges, this is
    what you find for HAM radio in many places.

    http://www.hamsexy.com/cms/index.php

    Personally, like in the May 30 entry, "one amateurs rant"
    sums it up pretty well. Would you want that group as your
    backup?

    Everything has its issues. Whether its HAM radio, 800 MHZ,
    or two cans and a string, EVERYTHING has its issues, and no one thing
    is a cure-all.

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    Yes I have been a licensed Amateur for 19 years, working exclusively in Emergency Mgmt...NOT involved with any "clubs" and the rag-chews on the various nets.

    1. Where did I mention ANYTHING concerning HF? I was trying to point out the misgivings in the 800 MHz band, when YOU "went off" [for some reason?] putting the volunteer Amateurs down with S/A remarks...giving NO examples whatsoever...by [attempting to] elevate yourself [here]...making ALL Amateurs look like a bunch of bozo's.

    2. I presented facts/articles with a few examples of where the Amateurs stepped forward to provide EMERGENCY communications during incidents...not asking for a lousy dime for their many hours, and use of their equipment. Not once did you respond to any of these...again only making the Amateurs look bad in the eyes of those that don't have a clue of the role they play DURING EMERGENCIES. Matter of fact...the lousy media doesn't either, because the "officials" don't like to admit they had communications issues with their expensive, high-tech new system...solved by a bunch of "rag-tag" Amateurs with low-tech, analog equipment.

    3. I admitted making an unforgivable error of saying AM instead of FM.

    4. You are going to just hate to hear this, but I just received a message today [from the state EOC], that DHS and FEMA has requested that mobile Amateur "TEAMS" be formed, in the event that the computer driven, high-tech systems fail during an emergency. This should definitely give you and everyone else who are operating with a "crack in a link" of your chain...a warm fuzzy feeling of what high-level govt. thinks of the vulnerable the 800 systems in place. What a REALITY check!

    Everything has its issues. Whether its HAM radio, 800 MHZ,
    or two cans and a string, EVERYTHING has its issues, and no one thing
    is a cure-all.
    I totally agree, but those "issues" can be minimized with a little [UNcommon today]...common sense, not listening to/buying from every slick salesman the latest, greatest neon idea that comes along.

    If I may make a suggestion, you might want to take a few hours and go through this "latest" [Aug. 2009] communications course from FEMA/NIMS. I think y'all will be enlightened.

    http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/IS704.asp
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-19-2009 at 09:30 PM. Reason: additional information

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Correct, another way to look at it is the trunking that big telephone systems use.

    Take your local hospital. While they may have 400 telephones with outside access, they may have only 10 outside lines. Normally this is not a problem. In severe loading situations they may have priority users.

    Change that to radios and frequencies and you have trunking.

    and thats the bad thing about it. It's done to take advantage of what little space there is on the crowded airwaves, but when we need our radios most (at major incidents) is the time they are most likely to become overloaded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    and thats the bad thing about it. It's done to take advantage of what little space there is on the crowded airwaves, but when we need our radios most (at major incidents) is the time they are most likely to become overloaded.
    Two things. Priority, and simplex analog.

    at a major incident most of the time the vast majority of your
    communications will not need repeaters. Interop channels and other
    simplex alternatives should be used. Only IC level people should even
    be on the repeatered channels in a major incident EXCEPT where coverage
    issues are apparent, in a situation where you are very strung out over large
    areas.

    NIMS is actually our friend.

    Still better than everyone trying to work on one low band freq!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    If I may make a suggestion, you might want to take a few hours and go through this "latest" [Aug. 2009] communications course from FEMA/NIMS. I think y'all will be enlightened.

    http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/IS704.asp
    I clicked on the wrong link and took the test before I read the course.

    Passed of course.

    I glanced through the course, I must have missed the part about 800 mhz radio systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    I clicked on the wrong link and took the test before I read the course.

    Passed of course.

    I glanced through the course, I must have missed the part about 800 mhz radio systems.
    Congrats on PASSING...I knew you would...

    This is a quote from one sect. of the "actual" IS-704 course;
    Communications problems are not limited to systems being destroyed or not functioning. Similar problems arise when agencies cannot exchange needed information because of incompatible systems. NIMS identifies several important features of public safety communication and information systems.
    Communication systems NEED to be:
    Interoperable—able to communicate within and across agencies and jurisdictions.
    Reliable—able to function in the context of any kind of emergency.
    • Scalable—suitable for use on a small or large scale as the needs of the incident dictate.
    Portable—built on standardized radio technologies, protocols, and frequencies.
    Resilient—able to perform despite damaged or lost infrastructure.
    • Redundant—able to use alternate communication methods when primary systems go out.
    I did not see anything "specific" on 800 MHz either, however...being REDUNDANT and RESILIENT come to mind. If the infrastructure is damaged or lost...i.e., towers, antennas, alt. power supply's [generators], etc., a comm. PORTABLE system on STANDARD frequencies is essential.

    This is where and why DHS is putting [ARES] Amateur Radio Emergency Service into play, VHF/UHF...[standardized frequencies] across the nation.

    Interoperable also comes into play...especially when mutual-aid arrives [often from a large city several miles distant with several units], with archaic VHF/UHF, non-trunked radios...to an area with the latest 800 MHz system.

    I don't think it is possible or practical today since many have chosen to have their OWN SYSTEMS in place for whatever reasons...to have "ideal" communications at any major incident, but this is what NIMS/DHS/FEMA are wishing/hoping/striving for.
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-20-2009 at 05:38 PM.

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    Exclamation Fire Companies Turn off "NEW" Radios

    Aug. 20--Firefighters from three southwestern York County fire departments will stop using the county's new $36 million radio network at fire scenes because of reliability concerns, will instead rely on radios tied into the county's old analog network.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/...adios/46$65053

    Excellent SAFETY decision by; Hanover Fire Commissioner James Roth and Chief Troy Snyder.

    So much for progress...which is only an illusion.

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    From the latest article...

    "One option for firefighters to remedy the problem at incidents is to change settings so that they don't have to rely on the new network towers to transmit signals, Bistline has said. The signal would instead transmit directly from one portable radio to another.

    Roth said that might be one solution, but the process at the moment is too cumbersome. The radios need to be reprogrammed to make the switch easier."

    I'm confused as to how this process could be too cumbersome. My portables all have both repeater (not 800 trunks) and simplex channels. Reach down, switch the channel, and you easily go from repeater to simplex and back. How is that too cumbersome?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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