The Backbone Of VHF Amateur Radio May Be Under Threat
The Backbone Of VHF Amateur Radio May Be Under Threat ->>> https://fancli.com/2t7nYs
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.
Carrubba said the high call volume continued to tax the telephone system in lower Manhattan. Telephone service was available, but it often took 15 or 20 tries to get a call through, so ham radio was bridging the gap. "American Red Cross communications are overloaded, and traffic from the shelters is coming into the New York City net at a rapid pace," he said on Day Two of the response. "The Amateur Radio ops are doing a great job under very difficult and strange conditions, but this is what they have trained for; they are getting it done well."
John MacInnes, a Red Cross communications officer based in Tucson, Arizona, approached Haynie with high praise for the Amateur Radio community and for ARRL. "We wouldn't be where we are today without the ham radio operators," he said. He told Haynie that he should be very proud of his organization and asked him to relay his message of thanks throughout the amateur community.
We saw a very similar situation with Hurricane Maria in 2017, when nearly all public communication systems were wiped out for the entire island of Puerto Rico. Amateur radio operators answered the call of the Red Cross to help establish communications needed to get critical, lifesaving resources like food, water, and medicine as well as coordinate rescue missions. These amateur radio heroes worked from their homes in the United States or even traveled to the island to help with local communications operations.
The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, is the government agency responsible for holding these companies accountable for managing the internet, as well as amateur radio. Currently, the FCC offers partial enforcement of a free and open internet. There has been much debate over implementing a more sweeping net neutrality, which would treat internet traffic as an essential utility like electricity and not allow any manipulation of the traffic. But further regulation has cons as well, and could cause even more problems.
There are a wide variety of combinations of types of antennas, modes of communication, and bands that amateur radio operators use, which is beyond the scope of this piece. Many operators start with a simple handheld like a Baofeng UV-5R, which is great for local communications, and then move into High Frequency (HF) for longer range communications. To communicate via HF over long distances, you will probably need to get the Level 2 of the license (General License).
Even beyond protecting yourself and your family, once you receive your amateur radio license, you will have the opportunity to help others, even from your own home, during a communication outage. Communication is one of the most valuable skills for any emergency response team.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) created by FEMA encourages their members to get certified in amateur radio. As a licensed amateur radio operator, you immediately become a value add to your local CERT team.
For the younger generation, amateur radio is a great learning tool for STEM education and can be a pathway to careers in electrical engineering, communications, or computer science. For those who have already started their careers, many of the skills you learn while studying for your amateur radio license are transferable to career skills. The knowledge of electronics, antennas, and radio propagation could be valuable launching points to a career in:
Amateur radio education is also extremely affordable on a budget. While comparable education programs can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can study for and get certified with your amateur radio license all for less than $50. With the low cost involved, the return on investment you will get when investing in your own amateur radio education makes it a no-brainer.
Amateur radio is regulated in the United States by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). The specific part of the FCC guidelines that regulate amateur radio are called the Part 97 rules. If you transmit on amateur radio frequencies without a license or break the Part 97 rules, you could be subject to massive fines. For example, some individuals have been fined as much as $17,000 for intentional interference.
After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, radio repeaters for New York City Fire Department communication were installed in the tower complex. Because they were unaware that several controls needed to be operated to fully activate the repeater system, fire chiefs at their command post in the lobby of the North Tower thought the repeater was not functioning and did not use it, though it did work and was used by some firefighters. When police officials concluded the twin towers were in danger of collapsing and ordered police to leave the complex, fire officials were not notified. Fire officials on the scene were not monitoring broadcast news reports and did not immediately understand what had happened when the first (South) tower collapsed.
Observation shows, back in 2001, that the citywide EMS channel was voting more frequently than normal, signals were noisy, interfering signals were present, and that some receiver sites had equalization differences. Some transmissions had choppy audio possibly representative of interference from FSK paging or intermittent microwave radio paths to one or more receiver sites. For example, if a microwave radio path fails for half-second intervals, the voting comparator may vote out that receiver site until silence is detected. This can cause dropped syllables in the voted audio. Some transmissions were noisy, although transactions show the dispatcher was understanding radio traffic in spite of audio drop-outs in almost every case.
A problem that shows up in these types of incidents is that receivers in hand-held radios are subjected to signal levels that are likely to overload the receiver. Several radios may be transmitting within feet of one another on different channels. If overloading occurs, only very strong signals can be received while weaker signals disappear and are not received. The hand held radio receivers shown in the documentary appeared to work properly even though several other hand-held radios were transmitting only feet away. This is a hostile environment and suggests the hand-held equipment used by FDNY had good quality receivers, though in this case, the suggestion is incorrect. Second-hand observation is hardly the proper way to 'test' radio receivers or to distinguish 'good quality' from 'bad' and this is likely a source of continued misunderstanding; particularly when these same radios were operating at higher floors, in closer proximity to, and in direct line-of-sight of digital cellular repeaters. Those repeaters were likely operating at unlicensed power levels, which was a common practice of cellular providers at the time, and continues to this day. Footage reveals intelligible recovered audio coming out of the radios and shows radio users communicating with others. This may not have been true of the entire WTC complex but was true of radio users in the crowded lobby.
Analysis of the 26 FDNY audio CDs showed the radios seemed to transmit into the radio systems okay. Radios calling dispatch got through. Calling units were intelligible. Users spoke with dispatchers. Dispatchers answered in ways that suggest they understood what was said. There were no noisy or truncated transmissions heard on any channel, (the equivalent of a dropped cellular call). This suggests the Fire Department's radio backbone is soundly designed and working properly. It is possible that system coverage problems are present; problems that could have been mitigated had the Command Post radio (with greater transmit power) been used. It is also likely that some transmissions did not reach any of the receivers in the system and therefore would not be a detectable problem when listening to the recordings. At the same time those recordings were made, the cellular system was operating at or near full-capacity, meaning every cellular repeater was transmitting. The dense RF interference environment created in NYC that day was essentially a 'perfect storm'; one in which a radio designed 25 years prior could not possibly contend with.
In some scenes, captured documentary audio showed the channels were busy. In some cases, two or more conversations were taking place over a single radio channel at the same time. Users on Tactical 1 may have been close enough to one another to communicate because signals in proximity to each other would overpower weaker signals. At any incident of this size, there is likely to be some overlapping radio traffic. In the same way that large incidents exhaust all the firefighting vehicles and staff, the radio channel resources may become taxed to their limits. NIST says about one third of the fire department radio transmissions were not complete or not understandable.
Even if the technical problems are solved, the issue is more complicated than just adding radio channels or talk groups. It is also a cultural problem. In one local incident, a large number of officers from three police agencies were fielded to search for a violent criminal who had evaded officers from one of the agencies. The officers did not coordinate by switching to a shared radio channel. After the incident, one participant said the users thought their radios were incompatible and did not understand how the shared channel worked. This possibly reflects a training problem or a technology literacy problem. The problem seems to have been remedied since then.
A thorough analysis of data communications is not possible. What recordings show is that data terminals in at least some field units did not work properly during at least a portion of the incident. At 09:11:14, Division 3 told Manhattan Fire dispatch, referring to the summary screen, "Summary is only giving me a few units. You're going to have to give it to me over the radio. I'm ready to write." This means the terminal was not displaying the entire list of units assigned to Division 3, as it would under normal conditions. The work-around: the Chief had to hand-write the list of units responding. In this one instance, the dispatcher reading the list of about 29 units tied up the Manhattan Fire channel for 53 seconds. During the reading of the list of units responding, one can hear several FDNY units try to interrupt the dispatcher. Their radio traffic was delayed until the entire list was read. This need to read lists of units because of slow or inoperable terminals occurred in at least three or four cases. 2b1af7f3a8