[aprssig] Emergency Communications, More Than Just Hardware!

Spider spider at rivcom.net
Tue Dec 28 20:12:41 EST 2004

>As far as WinLink, well, its a GREAT system, true.  But for anyone to be 
>successfull you need at least a Pactor-II modem, and Pactor-III is 
>certainly best.

Winlink through the use of a TelPac Node does not require HF or Pactor and 
works great.
A VHF radio and a KPC3+ is the best combo, IMHO.
You do not need the SCS modem nor an HF rig to take advantage of WL2K.

>Yes, Pactor really blows any "packet" system away, being able to maintain 
>at 18dB BELOW the noise floor.  FANTASTIC, but how many individual hams or 
>agencies can come up with the nearly $1,200 needed for the proprietary 
>modem?  Plus
>we also have the "all our eggs in one basket" debate, since the modem is 
>manufactured by one company, thus is not off-the-shelf interchangeable with 
>other product.

Our State, if they had their act together in the Comm department, could have 
purchased each County in the State
one or two SCS Pactor III modems and an HF rig with the money they choose to 
waste (my opinion) spent on these wiz bang ACU-1000 units that will only 
serve a few.  They certainly had the money but people who know nothing about 
interoperability were pushing buttons.  $1,200 is cheap, if you are serious.

> But I feel that relying on
>"Telpac" to integrate local users into the WinLink system is definately NOT 
>way to go, as we shouldn't be RELYING on any cellular or Internet 

Why? You are capable of puting in a local  PMBO to take care of the local 
stuff.  Who says the internet always has to be in the middle of this 
arguement?  In my area, (and in others I am sure)  I have three internet 
providers that can be used for Telpac Nodes.
One of them being Satellite.  Never in 10 years have all of them gone down 
at the same time.  Some of the telco/internet/cell sites are far more 
redundant and much better maintained than that of local amateur equipment. 
So until I hear some real facts, I'll disagree with what you say.  However, 
in my case HF is my last mile and I have three systems ready to go, so I 
dont worry to much about the other modes of comm.  Give me HF and NVIS and I 
am a happy camper....no matter the mode.

>One final comment on "channel saturation" or the apparent lack of available 
>frequencies.  IN AN EMERGENCY or DISASTER, to HELL with all casual users 
> >of the frequency!  Voice repeaters, packet frequencies, nodes, networks 

100% agree.

>If we need to bump someone's BBS offline to use the channel for earthquake 
>so be it, and if anyone has any problem with that let them call the head of 
>FCC to complain (and certainly be put in their place if not have their 
>suspended for being a moron).

Well that's talking out the wrong end of the pipe.  A Field Engineer in 
charge can shut a station down or designate
certain frequencies for an emergency....but at that point most hams do 
comply.  It worked well in AZ during the Rodeo/Chediski fires.

>Merely putting some nodes and backbones up, or back online is the easy 
>What will we do with it, and how to make it an effective communications 
>is a totally different question.

We used TelPac for the AZ Disaster drill and it got the attention of people 
that did not know we had that capability.
We used it to communicate all over the state and it worked well.  It also 
allowed people to communicate back to us and the have NEVER had that 
capability before from anywhere in the world.  We decided it was a valuable 
asset in our backup communications capabilities and would recommend using 
Telpac anywhere it's in place.  To talk it down is just plain silly as it 
has proven itself to work well.  Nothing is perfect as you know, Ray.  It's 
another tool to use.  Sometimes tools break!
The funny thing was Ray, is that many of the Hams did not expect this level 
of communications capability and it tweeked a few of them!  It's a last mile 
communications mode that works well.  Just like APRS, it's just another 

Happy Holidays!


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