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RE: Re: ARES and Satellites



About 2 1/2 years ago, we experienced a 6.9 earthquake centered near
Olympia, WA.  I was on a pier just south of downtown Seattle.  This
whole area is landfill, and believe me, even though we were over 50
miles from the epicenter, it knocked you off your feet.  Some buildings
in Seattle had major damage.  Soon after the event, several of us walked
over to Safeco Field in hopes of finding somewhere to eat since our
facility was locked down until the buildings could be inspected and
pronounced safe to return.  Pretty much everyone in the downtown area
had emptied out onto the streets.  What quickly became evident was that
absolutely everyone was trying to call someone on their little cell
toys.  It looked like a Nextel convention.  No one could get a line.
And my immediate impression was that most folks were near panic.  Not
from the earthquake, but from the chaos of being in a crowd of thousands
of people, none of whom could call to check the safety of their homes or
loved ones, and fearing that because their phone wasn't working that the
entire city must be on the brink of collapse.

It was really funny.
Rely on cell phones for emergencies, *small* *localized* events, maybe.
If you have any sense at all, you won't even try turning them on in a
disaster.  The REAL responders need the bandwidth, not common folks just
wanting to check on their dog.

I guarantee that the first person to witness the alien spaceship landing
in their front yard won't be able to get a signal to call NORAD.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org [mailto:owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org] On
Behalf Of Joel Black
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 13:52
To: AMSAT-BB; Dave Guimont
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Re: ARES and Satellites

<On Soapbox>

> Cell phones will probably be much more useful than the ubiquitous HT's
in
any emergency...


Take it from someone who has worked on a cell system - it ain't worth
squat
during a storm!  There are only a limited number of tcvrs in a cell-site
and
each one of those only accomodates so many users (i.e. iDEN has 6
channels /
BR and most omni sites [in this area] only have 6 BR's).  During a
storm,
when everyone (police, fire, EMA, paramedics, utilities, regular users)
is
using their cell phone on whatever vendor (i.e. LINC, Nextel, Cingular,
AT&T, etc.) it's a hit-or-miss proposition whether or not you'll get
through
to the party you're trying to contact.  There are ways to increase
available
channels with out increasing radios, but it involves compression.
Businesses have to weigh increased capabilities with decreased audio
quality.  Most users would rather have the audio quality than channel
quantity.

On top of that, a lot of cell companies do not utilize generators in
their
cell sites.  Batteries are generally only good for about 8 hours (at the
most) and the more radios you add to a site (to increase subscribers)
the
less time you've got on your batteries.  Believe me, I've been there,
done
that, got the T-shirt so to speak.  I've seen radios added to cell sites
without increasing the number of batteries.  Each iDEN BR adds 10A to a
site
load.  If your generator fails to start (at one of the sites that has a
generator) and you might have three hours of operation before the site
dies.

<Off Soapbox>

73,

Joel B. Black, W4JBB
w4jbb@charter.net




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