[aprssig] Conected Packet

VE7GDH ve7gdh at rac.ca
Tue Dec 28 11:38:37 EST 2004

Scott N1VG wrote on 28/12/2004

> It's not just a matter of communications. In fact, that's probably the
> easy part. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center monitored the quake
> and tried to warn people, even going through the State department,
> but no one knew who to contact.

Planning is everything and should be done before a disaster strikes. As I said, amateur radio isn't going to replace government operated tsunami early warning systems, but it could augment it. Just like most early warning systems for severe weather are government operated, hams can do a bit to help. Just look at all of the weather stations on APRS. You may recall the tsunami that hit Port Alberni BC in 1964 (that the right year?) 2000 km south of the Anchorage Alaska earthquake. Early warning wouldn't have helped much in Anchorage as there wouldn't have been time to evacuate, but further down the BC cost it would have been an asset. While Port Alberni suffered signifcant damage, not a single life was lost there. That was pure luck. Now, 40 years later, there are solar powered sirens that are tied into a tsunami early warning system. Who knows... maybe a communication failure in the circuit that triggers the local siren can be bypassed and the alarm sounded to a community of several thousand if the phones are still working, or if someone can get through on radio (amateur or otherwise), or if an alert send by HF, APRS, packet or whatever gets through and is delivered to someone that can hit a manual button... or it could be as low tech as someone with a megaphone shouting out a warning before hightailing it to high ground. Not everyone will listen, but some will. That's a lot of "what ifs" but the more planning there is, the more of a difference communication can make. Even after a disaster has taken place, having backup communications can help save lives.

> Even if they did get through to anyone, what would they do?
> The public needs to be educated, and there have to be response
> plans in place. If you've got a couple of hams running around the
> beach with megaphones shouting that the end of the world is
> coming, no one's going to pay much attention to them.

They could do something. Yes, the public needs to be educated. I was aware that tsunamis can be devastating. If I heard one was coming a few days ago, I would have probably stood on a knoll a hundred yards from the beach and watched it coming. Having seen the results on the tube over the last day so, I would head to high ground as quickly as I could... while yelling into a megaphone if I had one. With two hours warning, thousands of lives could have been saved. With five minutes warning, at least those that listened would have had some kind of a chance.

I agree, amateur radio, APRS & connected packet isn't going to replace things like tsunami warning systems or severe weather alerts broadcast by the media, but it could be a backup system. Even if it helped by warning just a few hams and those around them, it is better than not having amateur radio in place.

> That's not to say packet's not useful in an emergency.  Just
> don't look for technology to solve human and political problems.

I agree somewhat. Technology won't solve all human and political problems, but it can help a bit.

73 es cul - Keith VE7GDH
"I may be lost, but I know exactly where I am!"

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