Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"FirstNet"....Defining EMCOMM'S Future!?

Drawn from ARRL

Buildout of Nationwide First Responder Broadband Network Could Drive ARES Changes

06/01/2017The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) — a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders — could change the complexion of how the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) functions to support communication for responders during disasters and emergencies. As an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), FirstNet’s mission is to build out, deploy, and operate an interoperable nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. Ralph Haller, N4RH, the chairman of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), told ARRL that the advent of FirstNet “will likely be as significant as when public safety first began using radio.”

“The nationwide network will be hardened, so that it will be more likely that many of today’s public safety systems remain operational in emergencies,” Haller said, pointing out that Amateur Radio should not expect to have access to FirstNet. He cautioned, “The endurance of Amateur Radio systems in disasters has been a big selling point in the past for incorporating amateur operators in emergency plans, but perhaps not so much in the future.”
NPSTC is a federation of organizations that work toward improving public safety communication and interoperability, and ARRL has a seat on NPSTC’s Governing Board. Haller predicted that Amateur Radio’s role in emergencies will not disappear. “There is no substitute for eyes and ears on the ground in an emergency,” he said, adding that radio amateurs “can and should continue to play an important part” in supporting emergency communication.
“Amateur operators can continue to provide valuable information to emergency operations centers in the recovery phase of disasters,” he said. “Whether that intelligence gathering is reporting on storm clouds, power outages, or road closures, amateurs can help provide critical, real-time information about conditions over a vast area. While first responders are treating the injured or protecting life and property, the amateur community can concentrate on assessing the overall picture.”
On March 30, FirstNet and the Commerce Department announced a 25-year partnership with AT&T as the primary contractor to make FirstNet a reality. “The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters,” a Commerce Department news release said. “In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders’ use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services.”
Public safety agencies already use commercial wireless networks, such as AT&T and Verizon, to supplement their own radio systems and networks, although such communication is not point to point. FirstNet is initially targeted primarily to provide video and data, with mission-critical voice communication at least a decade away. EMS is likely to become a heavy user of the network, which will employ voice command functions a la Siri or Alexa.

“Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!” — NPSTC Chairman Ralph Haller, N4RH

Inevitably there will be coverage gaps, and the development of “deployables” is critical. These devices can expand the network to areas it doesn’t cover but where it may be needed for a specific incident. Deployables could include satellites — Inmarsat is a member of the AT&T team. Network security and encryption is a high priority. The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) now uses encryption on its data nets.
While images in the form of digital Amateur Radio television (DATV) and a plethora of digital modes are available to ARES, FirstNet could nudge ARES to more quickly adopt a similar approach. A new generation of radio amateurs steeped in data, image, and video technology is likely to drive ARES to think beyond analog.
Haller advised that the Amateur Radio community should continue to work closely with public safety organizations at all levels to assure that they remain a part of emergency plans.
“The hype about broadband should not result in amateurs inadvertently being swept under the rug,” Haller stressed. “Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!”
FirstNet will use spectrum at 700 MHz — no immediate threat to Amateur Radio allocations, although there is no guarantee that this won’t change as the network approaches the shift to 5th generation (5G) technology. Amateur Radio has access to significant spectrum above 700 MHz.
The expectation is that within a couple of years, a nationwide “core” network will be ready to roll out, and the first public safety users will be on board. Some regional networks have been set up for proof-of-concept purposes and to work out wrinkles. — Thanks to Mike Corey, KI1U, and Ralph Haller, N4RH

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EAWA Website Comes Alive!


The Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association has dug its website out of mothballs with the help of Charles AC1BS and is being updated on a regular basis with input from local hams. For information in reference to the W1TU club please check out www.eawa.org  Thanks Chuck!!

Time Passes...Things change!


  When I got my License years ago it was to participate in a hobby that got my interest piqued due to my Dad’s decade’s long passion in electronics leading him to having his FCC Commercial license even with Radar endorsements. I picked up some info from him when he was alive but as a kid, Dad being immersed in it constantly, I did not take advantage of his wealth of information available. So, me being one who is quite often slow on the uptake AKA: after Dad passed, I decided to learn electronics (some!) and at the same time get my Ham ticket! (Disclaimer: Bruce N1VLQ is to blame..another story!) Why the ramblings, well I have been a blogger for years and decided after a few years of big life changing events to get back to my RF roots…just Ham radio. Yes, I will continue to report on EMCOMM items which I will still support, but this blog from this point forward will be a sounding board for Ham Radio FUN…with my sometimes contorted viewpoint thrown in for the hell of it. Yes, the URL will remain the same but the title of the page and primary purpose has changed. Please feel free to check in, I will post blog update status on FB and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them below the posts or email me at w1krp@arrl.com   Thanks and 73!!

W1TU FIELD DAY...It's Almost Here Folks!


11 Days folks, just 11 short 24 hour time cycles away from Field Day 2017! Set up will start Friday June 23rd after 12 noon. Operations start at 1400 hours Saturday June 24th and end at 1400 hours Sunday the 25th. Of course help will be needed after it ends! There will be a pot-luck supper Saturday night so bring some good stuff to share and plan on having a great time! For those that are GPS savvy the numbers are as follows: 59 Jacobson Dr, Winter Harbor, ME 04693, USA…….Latitude: 44.338 | Longitude: -68.060131 further info go to the EAWA website at www.eawa.org and contact one of the officers listed at the top of the page!

Monday, May 15, 2017

FIELD DAY!!!

Field Day is coming soon!
Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. EAWA will be once again operating a 2A station from the SERC facility on Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor. Plans are being tuned up and anyone interested should contact the club via Facebook at the EAWA page….or better yet attend the next EAWA meeting which will be on Thursday June 8th. Also, anyone interested but not familiar with the location go to the ARRL web page ( www.arrl.org ) and go to the Field Day page and check out the FD Locator function for the Maine area. We are listed and it works! Within two hours after posting I received an email from a Ham from Florida who will be camping on MDI that weekend and would like to join us for the operations! 73!

Antenna Raising Meeting


This coming Sunday, May 21st, there will be an antenna raising meeting at Meadow View Apartments, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth at 12 noon to install the new HF antenna that will be able to be used for both EAWA and EMCOMM functions. If you are able to give a hand we would love to see you then!
Further info email me at w1krp@arrl.net.

"Touch A Truck"

 
On Saturday, May 13th, EAWA and Hancock County EMA/EMCOMM participated in a Touch A Truck event at Mount Desert Island High School. We had the EMCOMM Comms Trailer, the portable tower and of course Hams! We had a good time and talked to quite a few people about the hobby and its use in emergency situations under the guidance of Hancock County EC Chris Weaver, AB1PZ and HCEMA Director Andy Sankey, KB1TGL. And Jeff Hanscom, KA1DBE even made a contact with a Russian station using a Yaesu FT-817, 5W QRP. This was a memorable contact seeing Jeff was outside his "CW comfort zone" Hi Hi. The event was a fundraiser for the Harbor House in Southwest Harbor and we were please we were asked to join in! 
(Photos courtesy of Jeff KA1DBE)