Re: [scoutradio] Request for Assistance
- Have a look at this site. www.certbc.com/mainno.htm this is one of
the CERT groups in this
area that I am a member of.
Some of what you're talking about sounds like something I would be
interested it. But like most people, I'm swamped. I'm working on my
second MS and pretty active with APRS and repeater operation, both
commercial and ham. Also certificated in CERT.
Were you at the last Universal Disaster drill? I was there for the Dade
One thing I've noticed is that many of the CERT team members are older... we
need to get more young people into the idea of helping their community.
While I have a couple problems with the Scouts, they are the best structure
to pull this off.
Here's a document I did a while ago for our local CERT team:
Communications 101 for CERT Teams
D R A F T
Planned well in advance, radio communication can help any CERT team operate
more efficiently and help us help others with fewer delays. Because we'll
be operating in disaster situations, many systems we take for granted now
won't be available. It will be important to keep our communications just
as independent as everything else we've been trained for.
Most wireless communications can divided into two groups. Most depend on
some sort of infrastructure to relay signals. This dependence makes them
poor candidates for use after a disaster for two reasons:
· The infrastructure (towers, dishes, switches) might be destroyed or at
· The usage on the networks will skyrocket as the public and the media
attempt to communicate over whatever they can find that's still working.
Independent Radios communicate directly, from radio to radio, without any
common equipment at a third location.
County Police FRS
Most Business Talk Around
By Cellular, I mean wireless phones from companies like AT&T, BellSouth,
Sprint, PrimeCo, OmniCom.
The upside to the dependent systems is that the infrastructure allows the
range of the radios to be greatly extended. In normal times, this is a
major benefit. You can use your cell phone to call around the world.
With other radio systems, devices called 'repeaters' relay weak signals and
retransmit them over a wider area so more people can hear them.
The main downside to the independent radios is that they have limited range.
Radio signals do not bend around the horizon. Therefore, for people
standing at ground level, a range of 1-2 miles is typical. Blockages, like
trees and buildings can effect this range. The higher the user, the
greater the range.
Some business radios can function either way. If they have a mode called
'Simplex' or 'Talk Around', then they might be communicating directly. If
you're not sure, ask your vendor how to use two of the radios in a totally
isolated area. If there are limits placed on where you can use your radios
(South Florida only, for example) then you're dependent on something that
might not be there after a disaster.
On the high end are phones that use satellites to communicate back to the
rest of the network. Since the satellite is high above us in orbit, it
won't be damaged by any disaster on the ground. Relief organizations like
the Red Cross use these to communicate outside of the effected area. There
are also new phones that will use cellular first, and if it's not available,
switch to satellite communications. These are still very new and haven't
reached a price that the mainstream can afford. There's also the
possibility that they will be overloaded with people looking for
alternatives after a disaster.
There are legal limitations to some of these services. For example, you
need to have an FCC license to use Amateur Radio equipment and frequencies.
Marine radios can not be used on land.
The general public can be licensed on General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS.)
The license is only valid for those in the family, so, to be effective for
CERT, each member would have to get their own FCC license. At $60 each,
this might be cost prohibitive. GMRS radios are allowed as much power as
most commercial 2-way radios. Also, external antennas can be connected for
even more range.
A fairly new alternative is the Family Radio Service (FRS). This service
allows anyone access to low cost unlicensed radios. Some members of your
teams may already have these radios if they go camping or do any sort
activity where the family can get separated. Because they are unlicensed,
their power is a fraction of the commercial 2-way radios. Also, the
antenna is built into unit and can not be extended.
Each CERT Team has a 'home' FRS Channel and code. The Team Leader and
ERT's would use this channel to communicate. In some cases, people with
special needs would be able to call for help on this channel.
Another FRS channel would be used to communicate between the CERT teams and
the Regional EOCs. Since 7 of the 14 FRS Channels overlap the GMRS
channels, it is legally possible for the CERT teams to use their FRS radios
to communicate with the Regional EOCs on their more powerful GMRS radios.
Of course, any CERT team with an Amateur Radio Operator can use him or her
to communicate back to the EOCs. But there is a limit to the number of
Amateur operators that will be available. As with everything in CERT, it's
best to have a backup on top of a backup.
A good stock of fresh batteries are critical to any radio system. FRS
radios use commonly available AA or AAA batteries. Be sure to have plenty
Remember, if a radio fails, it will put the ERT out of contact with the
CERT. The backup will always be the runner, as we were trained to do.
Even if your CERT Team doesn't get radios now, there's a chance that you'll
be given radios right after the disaster strikes. For this reason, it's
important to know the basics on how to use a simple 2-way radio. There are
some important differences between 2-way radio and a cell phone. We hope
to show every CERT member the basics with a hands-on demonstration.
Demonstration on how to use a 2-way radio:
· Location of microphone
· Show how half duplex works
· Hold radio to maximize distance
· How to avoid background noise
At 10:16 AM 6/7/00 -0300, you wrote:
>This may be a long post...but bottom line up front...------------------------------------------------------------------------
>I am developing a National Level program for submission to LFL -
>Exploring Division. It is a complete package for the Emergency
>Management Exploring Post. It is part of my Masters Degree project in
>Fire and Emergency Management from Oklahoma State U. and I need some
>The concept, with sponsorship by FEMA and the American Red Cross will
>consist of program, training, awards, and an infrastructure which
>hopefully will have regional competitions, leading to the national
>competition and finally a trip to Orlando for the best team to
>participate in the annual Florida disaster drill held at Universal
>The program will be built around the Community Emergency Response Team
>(CERT) training by FEMA and the ARC's Disaster Services training which
>consists of Disaster Assessment and Shelter Operations.
>Ultimate goal is to have trained posts of youth and adults who can
>respond to in an emergency and support the local EM structure.
>Part of the CERT concept is to have radio operators (ham, 2 meter,
>etc) on the team to provide communications training and support.
>WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR... is some lucky person who would like to
>volunteer to assist me in developing the communications chapter of the
>program help and designing a system which will easily integrate into
>the existing disaster communications picture.
>This project will be done by Thanksgiving as that is when I have to
>submit it. Of course, anyone is welcome to join the team and help me
>carry this idea to fruition. We have pilot Posts going now in Puerto
>Rico and I'll be adding to the mix when I transfer to North Carolina
>in September. I hope to have the program national by 2004.
>I am creating a 501C3 corporation which will oversee the program and
>administer it for any youth organization (GSUSA, Camp Fire, Churches,
>BSA, etc). BSA of course does not want to underwrite such a venture
>until it pays for itself.
>As the former KG4NMC...I remember "electricity is like water running
>thru a pipe" and can still do 14 GPM...and vaguely remember that
>Marconi was some kind of pasta...
>Any help would be greatly appreciated. Any ideas that generate a list
>discussion would be great or e-mail me privately at camrmm@...
>if you are interested in helping me get this going.
>Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments.
>Craig A. Marks
>District Chairman, Tuocs District
>Puerto Rico Council, BSA
>I've been a lot of stuff...including a Wind Blown Beaver
>Lifetime Member, GSUSA
>Cookie Mom and Trainer
>San Juan Council, GSUSA
>"The bar upon which the standard sits is a high jump bar...not a limbo
>Craig A. Marks
>Captain, Special Forces
> Hero to the Oppressed
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>SCOUTING and AMATEUR RADIO - FUN FOR ALL AGES
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