[AMRadio] Broadcast stuff

Ellen ellengtrgrl at dslextreme.com
Sat Mar 20 10:23:42 EDT 2010

I'd have to agree with both Mark and Larry,

We've had severe weather here, where the cell service has been disrupted a 
few times - so much for the touted benefits counting on your cellphone, 
anytime, or anywhere.

Also, don't forget that cell systems can just plain be defective.  What do 
yo do then?  I have a friend, who lives out of state, and is also a ham. 
Occasionaly we'll chat on the phone if radio condx. just aren't there for 
the QSO.  She called me last night.  Since the long distance charges are 
cheaper for her cell phone,  she uses her cell for long distance, and has no 
landline long distance phone call plan.  Lately my friend has been getting 
dropouts while using her cell phone.  Last night she called me, and we 
experienced no less than 6 dropouts, while she was at home (not walking in a 
hilly area, were her signal could be blocked)!  In every case it took 
several  minutes to re-establish the connection.  Grrrr!   My friend has 
contacted her cell provider numerous times about the issue.  This past week, 
the cell provider finally sent some techs to check out the problem.  My 
friend was lucky to catch the cell phone techs finishing their service 
checks, while she was returning home from running errands, so she asked them 
what they'd found out.  What they told her surprised her, and infuriated 
her.  They "tested" the cell system by making phone calls with 3 different 
cell phones (no, my frined's provider is not Verizon ;) ).  Since they were 
able to connect using the 3 different cell phones, the "system was in order, 
and it had to be my friend's cell phone that was the culprit."

As I said above, my friend was infuriated, by the tech's findings.  You see, 
not only is she a ham (an Extra), she has a huge background in RF 
electronics, having worked as an RF tech, on commercial radio systems, and 
an RF engineering tech for a defense contractor (some of the RF 
communications systems she's worked on, and helped develop, are still 
classified), and an Associates Degree in electronics. She's forgotten more 
about electronics, and RF related technology, than I know.  She'd still be 
working as an RF tech. if her worsening eyesight (she was born with a rare 
form of cataracts, and has been dealing with the aftereffects of  surgery 
done to remove them, when she was born - she's been legally blind her entire 
life) hadn't made it difficult for her to continue working as an RF tech or 
RF engineering tech (she still can do the work [as a matter of fact, she's 
starting the restoration of a Kenwood R-599], it's just that her pace is 
slow, due to her very poor eyesight). So, when my friend found out what 
"testing" had been performed by the cell techs, she got on their case for 
not running diagnostic tests on the system.  They told her that they 
normally don't do in-depth diagnostic checks, and don't even carry the kind 
of equipment (which my friend used to work with, when she was a commercial 
RF tech), needed for doing in-depth checks.  So, my friend is back to square 
one with her wonderful cell provider.  She will let her cell provider 
replace her phone (although in her opinion, that's not the problem), and 
will have to do more investigation into the problem herself. Thanks to her 
contract,she can't drop her provider for another 6 months.

So, getting back to the ENCOMM topic - would you want to count on your cell, 
if  you have to deal with a crappy cell system, like my friend has?  Not me. 
I'll stock to my radios, thank you  Also, like Mark said, Amateur radio is 
best used as local communications support - not in some whackerish "I'm 
going to save the day" manner.

A very long winded Ellen - AF9J

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark K3MSB" <mark.k3msb at gmail.com>
To: "Discussion of AM Radio in the Amateur Service" 
<amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2010 7:40 AM
Subject: Re: [AMRadio] Broadcast stuff

> Go read the book "One Second After".
> The thrust of EMCOM, in my opinion, is to be able to provide emergency
> communications from one's one home to support your neighbors and local 
> area
> when,  not if, a disaster strikes.   I say "when", not "if", as the more
> fragile our telecommunications infrastructure becomes the more easier it
> will be to cause massive disruption.
> I live about six air miles from a nuke plant.  A few years ago I
> participated (for our club) in an EMCOM drill in the area.    What to do 
> if
> a radiation leak occurred, or similar.   I was thinking that if something
> really happened,  I load my family into the van and get out of Dodge, not
> worry about manning my EMCOM post.   Not surprisingly,  I found that most 
> of
> the EMCOM people there felt the same way.   So,  what were we doing there?
> Checking the box?   I didn't bother again.
> To me, it's more important to be able to establish reliable emergency
> communications for my neighbors and local area from my home,  not 
> someplace
> ten miles away.
> I refuse to get rid of my land-line telephone as I get "Service Not
> Available" quite a few times.  Not a lot,  but with kids at home,  a wife
> with epilepsy, etc,  I never want to see that message when I or the kids
> need 911.
> 3G/4G are nice things, and I look forward to their deployment.  But they 
> are
> fragile.
> 73 Mark K3MSB 

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