Topics

Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Steve Bellner
 

Thank you for the insight about the tone. I have used it on HF but not on the repeaters. Tuesday is our training session and we have been trying to get the local ARES personnel to engage  using the NBEMS program. Most members do not have  a soundcard interface. This will help Thanks.

Steve, W8TER


On 10/14/2018 12:17 PM, Frank Olaughlin wrote:
Charles,

Excellent points. Well said. The pilot tone can be hugely effective.

Frank Olaughlin
 

Charles,

Excellent points. Well said. The pilot tone can be hugely effective.

Charles Hargrove
 

The various PSK modes may have issues going through an FM repeater because of reactance tuning. However, the 8PSK modes were made for
repeaters, especially when the 500hz pilot tone is activated. The
pilot tone keeps the signal within 1 or 2 hz so that it is stable.
Some repeaters will exhibit a notch in the waterfall when there is
a tone used for linking repeaters. Our main repeater system in NYC
has this as I see a deep notch at 2200 hz in the waterfall, so I
make sure that a 1500 hz centered signal does not reach 2200 hz on
the high end. The 500 hz pilot tone is above the PL squelch range
of 67-254 hz. And as was said previously, NO acoustic coupling.
A stable audio chain between the radio and computer is needed. If
you don't have a souncard interface dongle, then use regular audio
cables for mic and speaker and turn on the VOX with a short delay.

On 10/13/2018 8:44 PM, Frank Olaughlin wrote:
Steve,
Yes, you are spot on. Acoustic coupling and 8PSK modes are a dead end street. We have had excellent success with them using Signalink or other external interfaces.
Frank WQ1O
--
Charles J. Hargrove - N2NOV
NYC-ARECS/RACES Citywide Radio Officer/Skywarn Coord.

NYC-ARECS/RACES Nets 449.025/123.0 PL
ARnewsline Broadcast Mon. @ 8:00PM
NYC-ARECS Weekly Net Mon. @ 8:30PM
http://www.nyc-arecs.org

NY-NBEMS Net Saturdays @ 10AM & USeast-NBEMS Net Wednesdays @ 7PM
on 7.036 Mhz USB (alt 3.536)/1500 hz waterfall spot; MFSK-16 or 32

"Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped
by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders." - Ronald Reagan

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(The work praises the man.)

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provides, it can never take the place of volunteers." - Ronald Reagan

Frank Olaughlin
 

Steve,

Yes, you are spot on. Acoustic coupling and 8PSK modes are a dead end street. We have had excellent success with them using Signalink or other external interfaces.

Frank WQ1O

Steve Bellner
 

Just a comment...

We here in NW Ohio have been using MT 63 through the repeaters for training. We just started playing with 8PSK and note that stations using audio coupling have a very limited success rate at copying the PSK modes. Those using soundcard interfaces with 8PSK seem to have more success.

Steve, W8TER


On 10/13/2018 12:16 PM, Frank Olaughlin wrote:
Jack,

Thanks for your thoughts on this and info about your operations. My apologies in my labeling......it should have read 8PSK500F/125F. The 125F is an old test mode for us. 8PSK500F is the repeater standard. We have had no issues with it on reliability. One big thing we found for higher 8PSK modes (not non-8PSK) is to use 1800 and not 1500 on sending. People have argued with me on his, but it doesn't matter. That's what we've found having sent many thousands of messages during real operations. 1800 works best, especially using 1000F and 1200F.( you have to use the pilot tone on 1200F...it's a huge difference!). The big issue with repeaters is that their quality of audio can vary from one to the other. MT632KL has always been reliable. It's just so slow. it's painful. This is especially true using Flamp. QPSK500 was a huge step up (despite no RSID...no biggie if your group uses a standard). We still keep it as a backup. I have to say that adopting 8PSK500F was major. A normal message runs about 12-14 seconds.
I'm always concerned about relying on repeaters too much. Our best and most reliable mode is 8PSK1000F and 8PSK1200F(need good signal) simplex. A message is usually less than 8 seconds. We have designated 5-7 stations with real good height and coverage. 8PSK1000F is so fast that they all can relay that message between them and cover about 100% of our area. This method, of course, is dependent on the size of your operations area. Many areas of the county are huge compared to mine, so this would be rendered impractical. Where there's a will, there's a way. Especially with the flexibility of the NBEMS programs. Jack, do you use one main repeater and have a backup? That is pretty much what is done here, although I like simplex where I can get away with it.

Thanks for your comments

Frank WQ1O
Cape Cod and Islands ARES DEC

Richard E Neese
 

Where can I find the fldigi nbems macros you all use if any ?

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

Frank Olaughlin
 

Jack,

Thanks for your thoughts on this and info about your operations. My apologies in my labeling......it should have read 8PSK500F/125F. The 125F is an old test mode for us. 8PSK500F is the repeater standard. We have had no issues with it on reliability. One big thing we found for higher 8PSK modes (not non-8PSK) is to use 1800 and not 1500 on sending. People have argued with me on his, but it doesn't matter. That's what we've found having sent many thousands of messages during real operations. 1800 works best, especially using 1000F and 1200F.( you have to use the pilot tone on 1200F...it's a huge difference!). The big issue with repeaters is that their quality of audio can vary from one to the other. MT632KL has always been reliable. It's just so slow. it's painful. This is especially true using Flamp. QPSK500 was a huge step up (despite no RSID...no biggie if your group uses a standard). We still keep it as a backup. I have to say that adopting 8PSK500F was major. A normal message runs about 12-14 seconds.
I'm always concerned about relying on repeaters too much. Our best and most reliable mode is 8PSK1000F and 8PSK1200F(need good signal) simplex. A message is usually less than 8 seconds. We have designated 5-7 stations with real good height and coverage. 8PSK1000F is so fast that they all can relay that message between them and cover about 100% of our area. This method, of course, is dependent on the size of your operations area. Many areas of the county are huge compared to mine, so this would be rendered impractical. Where there's a will, there's a way. Especially with the flexibility of the NBEMS programs. Jack, do you use one main repeater and have a backup? That is pretty much what is done here, although I like simplex where I can get away with it.

Thanks for your comments

Frank WQ1O
Cape Cod and Islands ARES DEC

Jack Dellinger
 

Frank. WQ1O
Curious as to why you went to 8PSK125F after testing QPSK500.?
We did some testing after reading your article. ALL testing is on local 2 meter repeater with wide coverage area.  
Using your article as test message we found that:
MT632kL sent message in 2:30 minutes  copy by 5 stations no errors
QPSK500 sent message in 35 seconds  copy by 5 stations no errors
8PSK125F sent message in 1:18 minutes 2 of 5 stations not good copy.
We have used MT632KL for over 5 years for sending message (IS-213) traffic. Traffic is copied by multiple stations with near 100 percent copy rate.
We have tired the 8PSK modes several times over the last year.  There always seems to be stations that don't get a good copy and have to have resends.
So if QPSK500  is much faster and more reliable, why use the 8PSK modes???
MT632KL has been so reliable for us and usually any traffic we need to send fits within the repeater 3 minute time out window, so we are reluctant to change.
the QPSK500 mode looks very good to us so far.  Hope to do a lot more testing, including using FLAMP.   Like the 8PSK modes BUT reliability of good receive just doesn't seem to be there.

Jack KC3JD
York AREA RACES SKYWARN (YARS)
PA. SouthCentral Task Force (SCTF) Amateur Radio Work Group (ARWG)


On Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 9:27 PM Frank Olaughlin <wq1o.frank@...> wrote:

Cape Cod and Islands uses NBEMS for our county MACC facility. We use it to communicate with other EOCs and the also the state. We have been using and testing NBEMS for some time. We started off with MT632KL for VHF/UHF. We started using it because it seemed to be a sort of standard. It worked fine, but after testing other modes in Fldigi, we realized there was no sense in continuing to use it since it was so slow. We quickly switched to QPSK500 and never looked back. In recent years, we use 8PSK125F/500F on one of our repeaters and 8PSK1000F/1200F on simplex. We have used 8PSK1200F successfully during very intense coastal storms last Winter. Winds were around 100mph or so and both AT&T and Comcast were basically offline. The multicast capability makes it a great system. Our incident management team was impressed by both the ICS forms in Flmsg and sending files with Flamp. They needed a codeplug for two Motorola CDM-1550s in different areas. Using Flamp, we sent it to both in one shot using 8PSK. This really impressed them.

I think Meshnet systems do have potential, but I agree with the poster who was concerned by increasing use of infrastructure. We have to be careful not to abandon tested communications options just because something new comes along. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use new ideas as they come along. We just have to watch that we don't become the very same infrastructure dependent system that agencies use us to back up. I think the people advancing MESH tech realize this and are keeping system redundant and as interoperable as they can. It has a great future, as long as we remember not to put all our eggs in any one basket.

We also use Winlink, but to a lesser degree. It will likely see more use here with ARDOP coming along for HF. Pactor 4 is too expensive for me and most others.

What I really like about NBEMS is that I can use an old laptop with Linux, cheap 10 dollar Kenwood mobile bought at a fleamarket, cheap J-pole, and still have good speed digital operations with Flmsg and Flamp. Got to hand it to Dave for that……This stuff works.

Frank Olaughlin
 

Cape Cod and Islands uses NBEMS for our county MACC facility. We use it to communicate with other EOCs and the also the state. We have been using and testing NBEMS for some time. We started off with MT632KL for VHF/UHF. We started using it because it seemed to be a sort of standard. It worked fine, but after testing other modes in Fldigi, we realized there was no sense in continuing to use it since it was so slow. We quickly switched to QPSK500 and never looked back. In recent years, we use 8PSK125F/500F on one of our repeaters and 8PSK1000F/1200F on simplex. We have used 8PSK1200F successfully during very intense coastal storms last Winter. Winds were around 100mph or so and both AT&T and Comcast were basically offline. The multicast capability makes it a great system. Our incident management team was impressed by both the ICS forms in Flmsg and sending files with Flamp. They needed a codeplug for two Motorola CDM-1550s in different areas. Using Flamp, we sent it to both in one shot using 8PSK. This really impressed them.

I think Meshnet systems do have potential, but I agree with the poster who was concerned by increasing use of infrastructure. We have to be careful not to abandon tested communications options just because something new comes along. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use new ideas as they come along. We just have to watch that we don't become the very same infrastructure dependent system that agencies use us to back up. I think the people advancing MESH tech realize this and are keeping system redundant and as interoperable as they can. It has a great future, as long as we remember not to put all our eggs in any one basket.

We also use Winlink, but to a lesser degree. It will likely see more use here with ARDOP coming along for HF. Pactor 4 is too expensive for me and most others.

What I really like about NBEMS is that I can use an old laptop with Linux, cheap 10 dollar Kenwood mobile bought at a fleamarket, cheap J-pole, and still have good speed digital operations with Flmsg and Flamp. Got to hand it to Dave for that……This stuff works.

 

👍

Dave
 

So would I.  Are you volunteering? ;-).

73, David, W1HKJ

On 09/22/2018 08:06 AM, Richard E Neese wrote:

I would like to see the apps ported to ipad and iPhone .. there room to grow

 


Richard E Neese
 

I would like to see the apps ported to ipad and iPhone .. there room to grow

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: WA7SKG via Groups.Io
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2018 12:03 AM
To: nbems@groups.io
Subject: Re: [nbems] Narrow Band Emergency Messages

 

I am excited to see this comment about AndFlmsg. This is the first I

have heard of it. There is a readily available cable intended for APRS

to connect the Baofeng to a Smartphone via the TRRS jack on the phone.

It works great for SSTV also and should work with AndFlmsg.

 

My Galaxy Smartphone has an adapter from the Mini-USB to a USB-A

connector allowing you to hook up to USB devices like printers,

scanners, etc. Does anyone know if there is an app that will allow you

to use this to connect to a soundcard equipped radio like the IC-7300 or

IC-7100? This would be huge for emergency situations.

 

tnx es 73,

Michael WA7SKG

 

 

Oliver K6OLI wrote on 09/20/2018 04:12 PM:

 

>

> I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is

> reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health

> Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with

> AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the

> hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point

> was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked.

>

> David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with

> NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.

>

> 73,

> Oliver K6OLI

 

 

 

WA7SKG <wa7skg@...>
 

I am excited to see this comment about AndFlmsg. This is the first I have heard of it. There is a readily available cable intended for APRS to connect the Baofeng to a Smartphone via the TRRS jack on the phone. It works great for SSTV also and should work with AndFlmsg.

My Galaxy Smartphone has an adapter from the Mini-USB to a USB-A connector allowing you to hook up to USB devices like printers, scanners, etc. Does anyone know if there is an app that will allow you to use this to connect to a soundcard equipped radio like the IC-7300 or IC-7100? This would be huge for emergency situations.

tnx es 73,
Michael WA7SKG


Oliver K6OLI wrote on 09/20/2018 04:12 PM:



I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked.
David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.
73,
Oliver K6OLI

Oliver K6OLI
 

Hi Sarah,

Actually, things have changed dramatically in the last few months with respect to AREDN MESH accessibility in Los Angeles County.  There are now nodes covering most of the county south of the San Gabriel Mountains. Moreover, we are connected to the Orange County MESH (and have been for a while) and Ventura has been connected to Los Angeles lately, too.  The gap in the SoCal Backbone was in the Pasadena area and that has been closed.

Michael's concerns about infrastructure are well taken, however, I think we need to make a distinction here. Just like with VHF/UHF repeaters, it is nice to have infrastructure to get people talking, interested and practicing.  But we do not rely on infrastructure to make MESH work, quite the opposite. The true power of amateur radio is the ability to create ad hoc networks in a disaster and we can do that on HF, VHF/UHF and with MESH, all on simplex. Quite a few of our nodes easily cover 40+ miles in spite of drawing only 200mA and deliver speeds of 30Mbps. A whole network of them placed on rooftops can leverage and sustain amateur radio traffic for quite a long time. We practice ad hoc field deployment now regularly at races and events.

We amateur radio enthusiasts offer our served agencies a cross-platform, multimode approach that can run independently of infrastructure at a moment's notice. Moreover, we are already a distributed neural network that can adjust to pretty much any situation. MESH simply extends our already impressive capabilities in VHF/UHF and HF. 

As Training Coordinator of the ARES LAX Northeast District I am occasionally asked whether hams should learn NBEMS or Winlink and I always tell people "yes".  Our task is to get the message through and we will employ whichever tool works. 
NBEMS: great for broadcasting, distributing forms, coordinating across multiple platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android), very transparent, BUT not MESH compatible
Winlink: great for P2P connections, excellent for distribution when gateways are available, MESH compatible and very easy for agency staff to understand and use ("email"), BUT more challenging to use and train people in.

MESH is great and great fun, but it is not the end-all be-all of amateur radio. If it works and is available, it should be the operator's go-to choice, if not then the choice is VHF/UHF NBEMS or Winlink, and then HF NBEMS of Winlink, whatever the situation dictates. If there is no line-of-sight then VHF/UHF and HF (NVIS) might be the better choice.
But MESH is now a core part of our deployment concept. You will find that our operators' go-kits usually consist of a VHF/UHF (+HF, if licensed) mobile rig, a Signalink, one or two MESH nodes, batteries and chargers and a portable computer.  At our recent NBEMS/Packet Winlink workshop you saw operators had set up their go kits and were exchanging messages on VHF as well as on MESH, it has simply become second nature to operate across bands and modes in our group.

MESH is also a great way of getting younger people involved in the hobby who naturally understand wireless networking.  From there they learn about Winlink and then NBEMS and then upgrade to do digital on HF.  At the South Pasadena Open House on Saturday we got a more questions about our MESH gear than about any other gear we exhibited. 

At the heart of it all is the training. Without learning, training regularly and providing feedback which goes back into the training, EMCOMM is just well-meaning intention, but not actionable skills. Our workshops cover the learning part and our nets and deployment exercises cover the training part.  We talk about challenges and exchange ideas for improvements and that goes back into our workshops. 
There is no perfect in EMCOMM, just works and doesn't work. So we encourage our operators to try, experiment and explore. Break it, learn from it, fix it, try to break it again.
It is also important to encourage people to ask questions, no matter how simple they may seem.  We are a learning organization and we want everyone to feel comfortable asking and commenting. Chances are if you have a question other people in the room have the same question.

I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked. 

David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.

73,
Oliver K6OLI

Oliver K6OLI
 

ARES LAX Northeast district uses NBEMS and Winlink quite extensively. We have written couple of Quick Setup Guides and we provide regular workshops as well as a weekly NBEMS/Winlink net on VHF. Our NBEMS/Winlink nets are all simplex because our basic assumption no infrastructure survives in a disaster and any that does is a bonus we are happy to employ. Simplex nets also have the advantage that they train operators to relay smartly, identify and address any station issues quickly and they are a lot of fun! 
Other groups like LACDCS practice NBEMS on repeaters so there is a variety of approaches for operators to choose from and practice with.

Our NBEMS net usually has an experimental portion, where operators can try whatever is on their mind, and an exercise portion, where we send mission specific traffic. We usually operate MT63-2KL on 2m FM and at times on 2m SSB for the practice nets.    

With respect to forms we use two approaches: for ICS forms we use the excellent built-in forms in Flmsg. For the forms required by L.A. County, i.e. Hospital Status Assessments, Resource Requests and Mass Casualty Incident Polls, we use CSV files. We did experiment with HTML forms for the latter but it turned out that CSV are easier to use, fill out and adapt when needed.

It is all part of our concept of Operational Flexibility where the operator deployed at a hospital makes the decision what the most efficient way of transmitting traffic is. We focus on bandwidth, so we would expect operators to choose AREDN MESH first, then VHF/UHF and then HF, if amateur radio is the only option.



73,
Oliver K6OLI


Steve Hansen
 

We don't have a high density of digital operators in Maine but our
primary digital comms are with NBEMS and Winlink.

My county, and a couple of neighboring counties, primarily use NBEMS
with VHF (repeater or simplex) and the primary mode is PSK250RC5. This
also works quite well with the statewide linked repeater system which
tends to be a bit noisy at times. When we do use HF, it's Olivia 8/500
for net ops with THOR 50x1 for files. 

With regard to the county I'm in (Knox), we have the EOC plus several
fixed town stations and our hospital that are all equipped with Kenwood
D710s. The computers have NBEMS and Winlink Express. For in-county comms
we use voice and NBEMS if there are operators at both ends or we need
one to many. Winlink Express supports the local packet network as well
as connections to the two Winlink gateways that we have. This provides a
lot of flexibility.

As an example, a portable station might send a flmsg file to a town
station with NBEMS. The town station can attach the flmsg file to a
Winlink Express message and then send it to the county EOC by packet or
to anywhere else via Winlink.

We did an exercise in the spring simulating a tanker-cruise ship
collision. This had a variety of USCG and private fishing vessels
bringing survivors ashore to 5 different harbors. Depending upon
condition, each survivor had to be moved to one of 4 locations (2
hospitals, one resort and a high school). Each harbor station got a list
of survivors (lists varied in quality) and they prepared spreadsheets
that were then sent by fldigi/flmsg. Each of the receiving locations had
to prepare spreadsheets based on what they were supposed to get and the
EOC station consolidated everything and compared the received data with
the ship's manifest. All comms, including inter-county, was simplex VHF.
Finally, the summary spreadsheet was sent to another station by Winlink.
Somehow we managed to account for all 161 passengers in an exercise that
lasted just over an hour.

With regard to mesh networking, we have mesh telephony devices (the
Village Telco MESH Potatoes). These are basically a router with an
analog telephone adapter with mesh firmware. Several counties have these
and we use them where there are base camps. It's Part 15 and everyone
knows how to use a telephone so anyone can use them and the learning
curve is zero. There is a fixed  pair of these for comms between a
warming shelter and a town EOC. 

73, Steve KB1TCE

Ryan Tourge, N2YQT
 

Good question and I guess it's something we take for granted. Usually at least net control is running TXID so the software picks up what mode provided you have RXID enabled.


On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:42 AM Steve Bellner <stevebellner@...> wrote:
Here in Toledo Ohio we are using MT63 2000L for repeater and simplex use
(Short distance communication). Participants are encouraged to use audio
coupling if they do not have an interface.

For HF we use Olivia 8/500 or Olivia 32/1000 depending on band
conditions on 40/80 meters or MFSK64 and MT63 1000L also depending on
band conditions.

We have also found that a great use for Slow Scan TV is for damage
assessment or as we all say "a picture is worth a thousand words" I
encourage you to try SSTV if you have not done so. It can run at the
same time FLdigi does so it is always at the ready. You can download it
at this web page: http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

It also works well on HF.

Winlink is also a tool we try to employ as using hf to send out e-mail
to awaiting servers outside of our "disaster zone" who THEN put it
reliably and accurately onto the internet to be sent to anyplace in the
world... even relayed to a more distant HF station.

  We have been participating in what we call "Winlink Wednesday" where
as we send a Winlink e-mail to one person who reply's to our return
receipt. We simply send in the message CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE,
MODE i.e. (TELNET or HF, or VHF) If you like, send a winlink e-mail to
K8EAF@...  In the e-mail simply state CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY,
STATE, MODE

It is good to versed in as many modes a you can. We do not have a MESH
network here in the flat part of Ohio however we are being prodded to
look at setting mesh networks up around hospitals. If communications are
that bad... Likely the internet will be down too so it will all have to
go HF to get out of the "Disaster Zone" anyway.

Remember, when there is a disaster you may have to adapt and
overcome.... sometimes you need a 16 ounce hammer and sometimes you need
a pick ax.

73,

Steve, W8TER


On 9/19/2018 12:16 AM, WA7SKG via Groups.Io wrote:
> Sarah,
> Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy
> reliance on infrastructure. As  I understand mesh networks, you have a
> bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no
> coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of
> infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there
> are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on
> them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh
> networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a
> relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you
> have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung"
> equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a
> couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air
> with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give
> county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?
>
> Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't
> had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play
> in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic
> systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.
>
> With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and
> laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic,
> files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great
> fun with basic equipment.
>
> Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A.
> with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate
> success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of
> square miles per ham, not so much.
>
> 73,
> Michael WA7SKG
>
>
> Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:
>> Hello Michael:
>>
>> Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA
>> as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular
>> nets out here on 2m and 220.
>>
>> WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to
>> sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the
>> sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS
>> and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about
>> station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to
>> NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but
>> I'm just not tuned into it.
>>
>> Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice. Sadly I
>> don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern
>> Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and
>> willing to be corrected.
>>
>> What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and
>> others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain
>> the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's
>> great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding
>> is that Mesh Radio is really the future. There are active Mesh Radio
>> groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and
>> Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn
>> shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.
>>
>> 73, Sarah, N6OPE
>>
>
>
>




Steve Bellner
 

Here in Toledo Ohio we are using MT63 2000L for repeater and simplex use (Short distance communication). Participants are encouraged to use audio coupling if they do not have an interface.

For HF we use Olivia 8/500 or Olivia 32/1000 depending on band conditions on 40/80 meters or MFSK64 and MT63 1000L also depending on band conditions.

We have also found that a great use for Slow Scan TV is for damage assessment or as we all say "a picture is worth a thousand words" I encourage you to try SSTV if you have not done so. It can run at the same time FLdigi does so it is always at the ready. You can download it at this web page: http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

It also works well on HF.

Winlink is also a tool we try to employ as using hf to send out e-mail to awaiting servers outside of our "disaster zone" who THEN put it reliably and accurately onto the internet to be sent to anyplace in the world... even relayed to a more distant HF station.

 We have been participating in what we call "Winlink Wednesday" where as we send a Winlink e-mail to one person who reply's to our return receipt. We simply send in the message CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE, MODE i.e. (TELNET or HF, or VHF) If you like, send a winlink e-mail to K8EAF@...  In the e-mail simply state CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE, MODE

It is good to versed in as many modes a you can. We do not have a MESH network here in the flat part of Ohio however we are being prodded to look at setting mesh networks up around hospitals. If communications are that bad... Likely the internet will be down too so it will all have to go HF to get out of the "Disaster Zone" anyway.

Remember, when there is a disaster you may have to adapt and overcome.... sometimes you need a 16 ounce hammer and sometimes you need a pick ax.

73,

Steve, W8TER

On 9/19/2018 12:16 AM, WA7SKG via Groups.Io wrote:
Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy reliance on infrastructure. As  I understand mesh networks, you have a bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung" equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?

Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.

With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic, files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great fun with basic equipment.

Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A. with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of square miles per ham, not so much.

73,
Michael WA7SKG


Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:
Hello Michael:

Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular nets out here on 2m and 220.

WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but I'm just not tuned into it.

Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice. Sadly I don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and willing to be corrected.

What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding is that Mesh Radio is really the future. There are active Mesh Radio groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.

73, Sarah, N6OPE

WA7SKG <wa7skg@...>
 

Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy reliance on infrastructure. As I understand mesh networks, you have a bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung" equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?

Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.

With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic, files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great fun with basic equipment.

Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A. with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of square miles per ham, not so much.

73,
Michael WA7SKG


Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:

Hello Michael:
Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular nets out here on 2m and 220.
WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but I'm just not tuned into it.
Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice.  Sadly I don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and willing to be corrected.
What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding is that Mesh Radio is really the future.  There are active Mesh Radio groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.
73, Sarah, N6OPE

Sarah
 

Hello Michael:

Simple answer first:  Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular nets out here on 2m and 220. 

WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but I'm just not tuned into it. 

Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice.  Sadly I don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and willing to be corrected. 

What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding is that Mesh Radio is really the future.  There are active Mesh Radio groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn shame for LA County not to be connected to them. 

73, Sarah, N6OPE



On 9/18/2018 7:07 PM, WA7SKG via Groups.Io wrote:
Nice to see all the folks using NBEMS, but all I see referenced is NBEMS and fldigi. Why does almost nobody specify which actual mode they are using? PSK31, MT63, Olivia, RTTY, and tons more are part of  the fldigi suite. The few nets I have run into so far have used MT63 and MFSK-32. Locally, we have found MT63 to be pretty good and use it on both HF and 2 meters. We use fldigi and flmsg, but have not used flamp. There are a lot of State people who are absolutely unwavering on WinLink and pressure to use only that format. The drawback we find is WinLink seems to be strictly point-to-point, where only the two stations involved can see the traffic. That does not allow other stations to copy and provide fills or relay if necessary.

So, is there any one mode that seems to stand out we should try to standardize on? For those who have previously commented that you are actively using NBEMS, would you mind sharing what modes you are actually using?

tnx es 73,
Michael WA7SKG