Local Ham Radio Operators Step Up in Good Times and Bad

FPrice

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Local Ham Radio Operators Step up in Good Times and Bad

The following article is in the current Emergency Management magazine:

(TNS) - When wildfires, floods, tornadoes and terrorist events disrupt cellphone communication systems at the moment they are most needed, that’s when a more than 100-year-old technology still holds its own.

Amateur radio operators, often called “ham radio operators” regularly volunteer their skills and expertise to coordinate responses in emergencies like the Boston Marathon bombing and when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

There are more than 725,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States. Those that were providing support for the 2013 Boston Marathon became a key communication link when cellphone systems became overloaded after bombs exploded near the finish line killing three and injuring hundreds.

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Local-Ham-Radio-Operators-Step-up-in-Good-Times-and-Bad.html
 

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Didn't gov't shut down cell service in the area after the Boston Marathon bombing?

At least they can't shut down AR very easily, short of jamming all frequencies.
 
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Didn't gov't shut down cell service in the area after the Boston Marathon bombing?

At least they can't shut down AR very easily, short of jamming all frequencies.

I am not sure it was shut down. I think they may give priority to public safety. But, the net effect for us plebes is that it is shut down. I got licensed after the Halloween snow storm a few years back. Six days with no power, phone or internet access was a motivator.
 
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The cell phone protocol has a "public safety" bit in the protocol which is designed to give priority access in emergencies (wireless priority service, https://www.dhs.gov/wireless-priority-service-wps), but I do not know the extent to which is has been implemented. Shutting down cell service after a couple of bombs go off would seem to make sense, since there is the possibility cell phones are being used as the detonation mechanism.

Area code 710 (1-710-NCS-GETS) provides the priority routing for landlines for VIP and public safety use. https://www.dhs.gov/government-emergency-telecommunications-service-gets
 
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During the planning for last year's Boston Marathon the Feds and MSP insist that after the 2013 bombings they did not shut down the cell networks, they simply became way overloaded. Thanks to the 300+ amateur radio operators along the course all runners were stopped, moved to shelters and shuttled to Boston.
 
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I am not sure it was shut down. I think they may give priority to public safety. But, the net effect for us plebes is that it is shut down. I got licensed after the Halloween snow storm a few years back. Six days with no power, phone or internet access was a motivator.

This is where the old Verizon land line will continue working and others (CATV VOIP/digital. cellular) fail.
 

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During the planning for last year's Boston Marathon the Feds and MSP insist that after the 2013 bombings they did not shut down the cell networks, they simply became way overloaded. Thanks to the 300+ amateur radio operators along the course all runners were stopped, moved to shelters and shuttled to Boston.

Definitely overloaded. For whatever reason, my phone was working right at the Finish Line, others could not get a call or text to go out. I let 5-6 others use my phone to call people to say they were okay. I was able to text my father to stay put at his post until I got there. My wife's phone was not working however, she was Medical Sweep further past the Finish Line.
 

VetteGirlMA

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Makes me wonder though if the first responders will end up carving out their own frequencies to work on for a sort of heirarchy? Of they intend to only provide broadband access?
 
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Could you please explain this?

Sorry, I had a response all written, and somehow deleted it without sending. Then I forgot...

FirstNet is planned to be a nationwide interoperable communication network for Public Safety. It's based on LTE (cell phone) technology, with enhancements and extensions to make it more suitable for mission critical use. There are quite a few applications either available or planned such as video, mapping, location, mission critical push to talk (MCPTT), computer aided dispatch (CAD), texting, messaging, etc. There are at present about 15 states signed up to use FirstNet, with most states anticipated to join the network by the "opt-out" deadline in mid-December.

The frequencies and facilities are shared between public safety and the general public (cell phones). However, public safety gets top priority for use of the network. Especially during the build-out phase (the next 7 - 10 years), there will be shortages of resource during disaster-type events such as hurricanes, floods, riots, and the like. The general public will find themselves shut out of communication using their personal devices in favor of first responders communicating on the same network.

A little Google-fu will get you a ton of links about [STRIKE=1]FoistNet[/STRIKE] FirstNet.

HTH
 
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A first-generation FirstNet handheld device. Somewhat like a hardened cell phone.

ext
 
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