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Re: “Commissioner Littleton proposing planning for the worst

BTW, Commissioner Glenn wants to not only merge the Colorado Springs and El Paso county OEMs, he wants to make a regional one. I am not sure he really understands what he is asking for. He does not seem to understand the current levels of emergency management and I doubt very much he has ever taken any of the online and free FEMA courses regarding the Incident Command System, the National Incident Management System, or National Response Framework. He probably does not understand the very different roles that an Emergency Operations Center plays as compared to an Incident Command. Nor does he seem to be aware of the fact that there are already local, county, state, and FEMA offices or that the state is already divided into 9 different "All Hazards" regions (El Paso and Teller falling in the South Central Region) each with their own dedicated state emergency coordinators. To me it simply reeks of a power grab.

Posted by Odin on 06/26/2017 at 3:57 PM

Re: “Commissioner Littleton proposing planning for the worst

Amateur radio (ham radio) may seem "old school" and "quaint" to some, but it can actually be very high-tech. Most people think of it being something old men do and that it involves just talking on radios and sending Morse code. While those are still done, it is a heck of a lot more. With the digital modes, hams can even update Twitter feeds remotely via their radios. Emails? Piece of cake. Satellites? Had them since 1961 and hams basically started the CubeSat movement of small, light satellites. Video? Yep, hams do that too. They also do microwave transmission and meshed networks.

The great thing about amateur radio is that much of it is not tied to the local power or communications grids -- it can operate all on it's own when those systems go down or are congested. Meaning, when 911, phones, text, and data lines get congested or go down, amateur radio still works. Granted, at least in the old days, the local telephone switches were required to have 8 or 12 hours of battery back-up, generators, and a refueling plan, and the old school phones were line powered by the local switch, but almost no-one has a line powered Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phone anymore. Most people have cell phones and internet based phones (essentially VOIP). Some cell towers have generators and batteries, but not all, and though cell companies have deployable comm assets, they don't have a lot of them. A major blow to their infrastructure would over task those assets.

A CME might impact some RF transmission, especially HF, for several days, but its impact on VHF and UHF doesn't last all that long. It's biggest impact would be on the power grid, which could take months to fix since there are not enough critical spares and many parts have to be made overseas and on request. CMEs hammer power lines due to the very long conductors. EMP is a different animal altogether (the doomsday preppers make me cringe when they do not understand the differences and when they misunderstand the different ways needed to protect against each) and is unlikely unless someone starts throwing nukes around (we are the only country which has demonstrated the ability to make a solely EMP weapon). EMP effects on RF will be fairly short lived.

There are already numerous national and even international groups who do disaster and emergency amateur radio communications including the American Radio Relay League's National Traffic System, the Radio Relay International, the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (very active in El Paso county), the Military Auxiliary Radio Service, etc. Adding yet another group is probably not the answer.

Plus, a lot of ham radio operators simply are not interested. They don't want to do the practice and make the commitment to be involved. You'd be lucky if you got 10% of the hams in El Paso to sign up and only about 20% would every bother to do practices, get training, and do exercises. That is about how it works out for other volunteer groups, even the aforementioned ones.

The doomsday prepper types are interested, but most hams don't want a lot to do with them. That has been one of the problems getting Lighthouse launched (Peggy has been trying unsuccessfully to launch this for three years that I remember) is that Peggy has fallen in with that crowd. Nothing against readiness and basic preparedness, but the doomsday crowd takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Most telling to me though, is that Peggy has only taken cursory interest into getting her own ham radio license. If 8, 9, 10 year olds can pass the test (Morse code is not required) and this is so darn important to her, why has she not gotten her license despite pushing Lighthouse for several years now?

Posted by Odin on 06/26/2017 at 3:46 PM

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