Re: DST Communications tools
Mark Warrick (KM6ZPO) <mark@...>
I want to point everyone's attention to the Irvine area of Orange County. See the AREDN map:
IDEC didn't wait around for people to install AREDN access points on mountain tops. They solved a problem for a specific "customer" need. Their high schools are used as evacuation shelters. Every high school already had VHF / UHF radios, but they wanted to be able to dial each other via IP phones, see each location on camera and be able to transfer large data files between each other. The installed their own AREDN mesh network with low-level nodes at each high school to form a mesh network which is all connected back to the main police station, where they have their EOC. IDEC is connected to the "greater AREDN So-Cal mesh" through a long-range link to KE6BXT on Pleasant's Peak.
If you scroll around Orange County, you'll notice a whole bunch of nodes in the south county area. Our south county is similar to the San Diego area - lots of low-lying hills.
I get the push back a lot that they are waiting for "somebody" to make AREDN available to everyone. That's not how the mesh works. Rather, it works by individuals and organizations filling in the gaps - the valleys, the dead zones. Unlike typical radio comms which require repeaters a high sites covering a wide line of site area, AREDN works best at a range of 5-10 miles. The equipment most people can afford would be in that range. Essentially, if everybody had an AREDN omni antenna their home, we would have a network that covers al of those gaps.
I don't think it's important that we cover every area of San Diego county. Rather, we just need to make sure that the EOC is well connected and that anyone in the parking lot of the EOC can get on the local mesh. If there are other "served" clients in the region, they need connections as well. AREDN, like ham radio, can be done in the field. All of my equipment is field ready. We already use WiFI when deploying laptop kits. It's not a huge stretch to add an AREDN node kit.
With thoughtful planning, we can predict where AREDN would be needed in the San Diego County region and then plan for where nodes need to be to cover those areas, whether installed permanently are as go-kits.
P.S. I live right next door to the 600 Parkcenter Orange County chapter office. I don't have an AREDN RF link because we have not been allowed to put the omni back up on the roof and I cannot install a dish on my apartment roof. The chapter building has AREDN, but I don't have access to the radio room. So essentially, unless "somebody" provides me access, I can only be useful with my field equipment.
On the VARA side of things, I agree, the LAX ARES group has led the way for VARA around here. I encourage everyone to join their Groups.IO groups:
Lastly, I mentioned it a couple times via this group. I know most of you are not able to attend, but we're running a P2P relay exercise this weekend in Orange County. This is organized by the OCRACES group. I am running the south county relay station and my friend Scott is running the north county station. I'm somewhat dismayed that more people don't want to practice P2P. I agree with you Bruce, it's an essential skill to learn and practice and will be the last line of defense for transferring large amounts of information when all the RMS gateways are down.
P.S. I'm not in the LA Basin. And the Angels are from Anaheim, not Los Angeles. :)