Topics

Nashville bombing spotlights vulnerable voice, data networks


Alan - W6WN
 

The Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville led to phone and data service outages and disruptions over hundreds of miles in the southern U.S., raising new concerns about the vulnerability of U.S. communications.
AT&T customers lost service — phones, internet or video — across large parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. There were 911 centers in the region that couldn’t take calls; others didn’t receive crucial data associated with callers, such as their locations. The Nashville police department’s phones and internet failed. Stores went cash-only.

https://apnews.com/article/service-outages-bombings-nashville-a14babd6748fea7c43ed396801aaabf7

Another reason why we have radios...


Jim - N6MED
 

Indeed why we have radios and the vulnerability of our public telecom network. Noteworthy besides the Nashville bombing is the AWS outage that took down a  lot of Internet service on the east coast last month(?). So far as Winlink support of disaster communications (Winlink moved to AWS from its own servers a few years ago), the outage did not affect Winlink. However, that outage gave me pause to think about our own communications plans in the event of a disaster. Certainly Winlink for digital and the various digital phone circuits, good for long haul so long as the Internet is up, are particularly vulnerable. What plans have we, those who support NGOs and those gov't agencies open to using the amateur radio services, for working through telecom service degradation?

For example, late last June a wild land fire in the Susanville area took out ALL of the public telecom infrastructure serving Susanville. The local ham club had three repeaters, all digital. During blue skies they had world-wide comms. During the fire all they had was local comms between the three machines. The only way to get traffic in and out was, literally, Chevy Net. They had made no provision or connecting with any agency (e.g., ARES or CalOES CRU) for such an event.

IMHO, we would do well to develop both hardened repeater systems (or ensure existing ones are hardened) and an HF NVIS net, all in the event of. Winlink has the provision for P2P connections. We at the Red Cross CA Gold Country Region are working toward P2P NVIS for the purpose.

Just some thoughts from N6MED


Aaron K6ABJ
 

Pardon my naivety, but what does the acronym NVIS stand for, and what is it?

In addition to ARES and CERT nets, there is a daily Sacramento Valley Emergency Services Noon Net, which numerous agencies check into on a daily basis including the State Office Of Emergency Services. Although these nets occur on repeaters, if a repeater was to go out, you simply listen on the input frequency, talk simplex, and relay information as hams have been doing since the early days. There are many repeaters within reach but are geographically quite far so they would likely not all be affected. It would be easy to divert a net to another repeater. How does one know which repeater the emergency net has spontaneously been moved to? Simple, ask around on the National 2 Meter Simplex frequency or other repeaters. With a large Emergency, it wouldn’t take long for key messages to become widely distributed via relay. The problem becomes not just getting a message through, the other problem becomes managing all the traffic so that it is not all going through one or two frequencies or operators. This is where a tree like system becomes important, and being able to spontaneously and efficiently construct such in an emergency. Are most hams and ARES members aware of these and other things, likely not. More drills, exercises, and planning like what you are doing are always a good idea. All of these resources are available on 2 meters.

In the event of a larger disaster, affecting our entire region, relaying messages by simplex is still a very viable option, but as you point out HF is also an option. Many Hams have HF stations, including Hams who actively operate HF within Sacramento County and State Offices of Emergency Services. County and state offices of Emergency Services have emergency communication capabilities between them. Does Placer County Office of Emergency Services have active Hams and stations within their building to be able to relay 2 meter and HF traffic between them and area hams, this I do not readily know.

Aaron, K6ABJ

On Jan 4, 2021, at 3:00 PM, Jim - N6MED <n6medjim@gmail.com> wrote:

NVIS


Dennis - WU6X
 

We DO have an active ARES organization, who have participated in many organized events linking hospitals and other agencies in our area. Drop an email to Carl-N6CKV to find out more about our local ARES and how you can get involved.

PS: NVIS stands for "near vertical incidence skywave", where signals are sent up instead of out, using antennas designed to use this type of propagation. This keeps communications within a limited area reducing interference to other communications. NVIS is widely used by the military for field communications.
Hope this helps,
73,
Dennis, WU6X


Greg D
 

For more on NVIS, take a look Jef N5JEF's presentation to the club from last year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW-b1dQH72Q

73,

Greg  KO6TH


Dennis - WU6X wrote:

We DO have an active ARES organization, who have participated in many organized events linking hospitals and other agencies in our area. Drop an email to Carl-N6CKV to find out more about our local ARES and how you can get involved.

PS: NVIS stands for "near vertical incidence skywave", where signals are sent up instead of out, using antennas designed to use this type of propagation. This keeps communications within a limited area reducing interference to other communications. NVIS is widely used by the military for field communications.
Hope this helps,
73,
Dennis, WU6X


Aaron K6ABJ
 

Thank you all for the great information on and suggestions for an Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) net! I had fun learning about NVIS, and was pleased to know my present OCF antenna although compromised for DX due to low height above ground is perfect for NVIS.

I want to especially thank Jim N6MED for bringing this topic to my attention, Greg KO6TH for the link to Jim's video, and to Jim N6MED for his NVIS presentation. I will definitely be having fun on the airwaves with this information!

Aaron, K6ABJ

On Mon, Jan 4, 2021, at 2:59 PM, Jim - N6MED wrote:
Indeed why we have radios and the vulnerability of our public telecom network. Noteworthy besides the Nashville bombing is the AWS outage that took down a  lot of Internet service on the east coast last month(?). So far as Winlink support of disaster communications (Winlink moved to AWS from its own servers a few years ago), the outage did not affect Winlink. However, that outage gave me pause to think about our own communications plans in the event of a disaster. Certainly Winlink for digital and the various digital phone circuits, good for long haul so long as the Internet is up, are particularly vulnerable. What plans have we, those who support NGOs and those gov't agencies open to using the amateur radio services, for working through telecom service degradation?

For example, late last June a wild land fire in the Susanville area took out ALL of the public telecom infrastructure serving Susanville. The local ham club had three repeaters, all digital. During blue skies they had world-wide comms. During the fire all they had was local comms between the three machines. The only way to get traffic in and out was, literally, Chevy Net. They had made no provision or connecting with any agency (e.g., ARES or CalOES CRU) for such an event.

IMHO, we would do well to develop both hardened repeater systems (or ensure existing ones are hardened) and an HF NVIS net, all in the event of. Winlink has the provision for P2P connections. We at the Red Cross CA Gold Country Region are working toward P2P NVIS for the purpose.

Just some thoughts from N6MED

Aaron Jones, K6ABJ 
   
    ajones@... | Mobile: 916-715-7328


Jef - N5JEF
 

I strongly support the idea of a regular NVIS net.  Maybe immediately after the club net each Thursday night on 75 meters.  I would be happy to help with suggestions for antennas to meet various member's real estate.

- Jef  N5JEF

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 2:10 PM Aaron K6ABJ <ajones@...> wrote:
Thank you all for the great information on and suggestions for an Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) net! I had fun learning about NVIS, and was pleased to know my present OCF antenna although compromised for DX due to low height above ground is perfect for NVIS.

I want to especially thank Jim N6MED for bringing this topic to my attention, Greg KO6TH for the link to Jim's video, and to Jim N6MED for his NVIS presentation. I will definitely be having fun on the airwaves with this information!

Aaron, K6ABJ

On Mon, Jan 4, 2021, at 2:59 PM, Jim - N6MED wrote:
Indeed why we have radios and the vulnerability of our public telecom network. Noteworthy besides the Nashville bombing is the AWS outage that took down a  lot of Internet service on the east coast last month(?). So far as Winlink support of disaster communications (Winlink moved to AWS from its own servers a few years ago), the outage did not affect Winlink. However, that outage gave me pause to think about our own communications plans in the event of a disaster. Certainly Winlink for digital and the various digital phone circuits, good for long haul so long as the Internet is up, are particularly vulnerable. What plans have we, those who support NGOs and those gov't agencies open to using the amateur radio services, for working through telecom service degradation?

For example, late last June a wild land fire in the Susanville area took out ALL of the public telecom infrastructure serving Susanville. The local ham club had three repeaters, all digital. During blue skies they had world-wide comms. During the fire all they had was local comms between the three machines. The only way to get traffic in and out was, literally, Chevy Net. They had made no provision or connecting with any agency (e.g., ARES or CalOES CRU) for such an event.

IMHO, we would do well to develop both hardened repeater systems (or ensure existing ones are hardened) and an HF NVIS net, all in the event of. Winlink has the provision for P2P connections. We at the Red Cross CA Gold Country Region are working toward P2P NVIS for the purpose.

Just some thoughts from N6MED

Aaron Jones, K6ABJ 
   
    ajones@... | Mobile: 916-715-7328


KM6YKX - Rob Newburn
 

I like the net idea too.

I've also had success with getting on the W6EK repeater (or other repeaters) and seeing if anyone wanted to try say 80 meters in the middle of the day (or 6, 10, 17, whatever). I was very surprised to see that it often works very well, even when the fish finder looks kind of dead. Same with trying 2M FM simplex...it's good to know who can reach who with no infrastructure in case the need arises for a relay net. For a short time, some of us in the 2MC were "band hopping" in the evenings just for fun and experiment...starting on a repeater, going to 2M simplex, then 2M sideband, then HF...others tried to follow if they could or they might listen on Websdr.com. Always had the repeater to fall back on for spotting.

Anyway, good thing to practice, experiment, have some go to frequencies, get to know your equipment (manual tuner settings list for various freq., etc.) and get to know some other hams out there.

So shout out on the repeater if you want to try/experiment/make antenna changes/try different antennas to see what happens!

Thanks for keeping me up late last night!

73, KM6YKX, Rob
(I can quit this hobby anytime I want ;o)