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Emergency Communications



I'll try to keep this on topic, as I will be mentioning ISS, but as I mull the
"needs" of areas in total devistation, I have to think back on the 1970's when
the Owensboro ARC (Kentucky) rolled into Brandenburg / Xenia Ohio area after a
tornado that flattened towns on both sides of the river.

Luckily, they still had power, but had no continuity of communications at all,
no phonelines, no police/fire dispatch,etc. What hams did was set up local
repeaters to facilitate the coordination of aid to the area. After basic needs
were met, health and welfare traffic was handled.

In the early 1980's, the Salem, Massachusetts police department lost it's ONLY
repeater in a city of 50,000, populated by ledge and hills which totally
disrupted any dispatch capabilities. The North Shore Repeater Association
quickly provided portables, mobiles, and the local 146.88 repeater to the
police department under ARES supervision. It took 12 hours to get the police
repeater back on line.

Back to AMSAT....I just looked at the "Heard by ISS" page for unproto traffic
from South Asia and there are absolutely no transmissions recorded from the
area effected by the Tsunamis.This is an area with 6 to 8 passes a day.

Is the real difficulty that there is no "basic communications equipment" in
the area? Or is it lack of information about satellite capabilities? Should we
consider convincing the disaster agencies of the world of the value of amateur
satellite communications so that they purchase a number of data ready
transceivers to utilize in the affected areas?

In both of the above cases, the hams had to supply the equipment, not every
ham is a satellite user, or has digital gear, but they can quickly ramp up if
the gear is available.

I guess the bottom line is...if the areas can't even do 1200 baud terrestrial
packet, what can AMSAT possibly do with a satellite to assist?....btw.. .I
know there's always voice....

Roger
WA1KAT
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