The need for STAR LINK


Hi Group

I am still concerned about the inability of DST across the country, to supply high speed communications during disasters see my comments below:

Red Cross (Disaster Service Technology) DST. is always is looking for way to increase our capability to send disaster traffic. We have found that Red Cross disaster functions like "Damage Assessment" - "Mass Care" - "Service Centers" - "Shelter operations" are married to their cell phones and Internet connected laptops - with the mind set that they will NEVER FAIL! They do not want to use DST current communications  tools and even 30 Kbps VARA-FM is too slow for them! They want internet speeds EVEN DURING a disaster!

Recently we  had the "Border Fire" and the County of San Diego forced Red Cross to set up a shelter in a radio hole. This High School was on summer shut down with to drinkable water or functional Rest rooms and NO AC during the heat of summer! Red Cross would never have chosen this site, the County forced it to be used. In this radio hole their was NO internet or cell service. DST had NO way to send traffic at a speed that was useful. 1200 baud packet does NOT meet the need! At that time we had the new IEEE/MOVE-2 communications truck stationed at Red Cross headquarters. DST made a request for the IEEE truck to be driven down to the border to support disaster communications. They set up their satellite link and pulled a network cable into the shelter into a MiFi router. We had a  number of Laptops in use at the same time with no problem! The IEEE truck crew even set up a Internet hot-spot for the shelter clients to use - with NO  streaming or movies allowed!  The Red Cross clients and shelter population were VERY happy with this set up!! It was a GREAT demonstration of what satellite communications can do during a disaster! My hat is off for the great communications service the IEEE team can supply!  WELL DONE!!

Fast forward to Hurricane IAN in Florida! This disaster was so severe in taking out ALL communications options that BOTH the IEEE/MOVE 1   and 2  communications trucks were deployed to Florida! This meant a 6 day trip to drive the IEEE/MOVE2 truck across the country! This needed communications asset was gone for months!!  This caused some concern with the local DST as the Red Cross functions had been spoiled by the communications speed available at the "Border Fire" and were even more reluctant to use the slow speeds of VARA,and  Winlink fldigi. We realized that the IEEE truck could ONLY support TWO disasters at a time! Now with the addition of IEEE/MOVE-3 truck which will be stationed in Fort Worth Texas, they can now handle three disasters whoopee!   We thought of all the disaster events that could have a devastating effect across the county - like a terrorist attack or Solar EMP on the power grid. A massive Earthquake  - Then multiple hurricanes or wild fires in different locations. -  The CA "Paradise Wildfire" took out ALL communications!  The "Border Fire" was a VERY small event and still we needed to call in the IEEE/move2 communications truck! DST has been deployed to the desert in locations where there was NO Internet or cell service!

I like the fact that the Starlink/RV  can be stationed anywhere and can be "Turned off" in between disasters! Even at the lower priority speeds (like 1-10Mbps)  compared to "home" units, STILL it is vastly faster then what DST has now!! Can the Star Link management be approached to supply high speed communications service during a disaster at reduced rates and higher speeds? Star Link was deployed in Florida with great success from the reports I have heard. I think if the local DST members all contributed, we could easily raise the funds to purchase a Starlink set up - at the CDOC and a unit for mobile use. Other Red Cross chapters may be able to do the same.

73 Bruce  WA6DNT@...   -  Red Cross DST  -  SHARES   -HF NNC9RC

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