Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009

This was a ARRL news piece a while back.

The ARRL is asking its membership to contact their members of the US House of Representatives with a request to become co-sponsors of this significant piece of legislation.

While this is all nice in theory... Where does one click or write to, to encourage new technologies that can help aid and advance how we communicate in emergencies? Surely if the ARRL can adopt Winlink 2000 for ARES emergency communications, they could also get behind some development of something more modern?

We had something more logical, a wide network of packet backbones in the 80's and 90's. Yet some how we end up with this bastardization called Winlink.

In the April Rain Report, CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, talked about packet's remarkable comeback and its EMCOMM applications.

About ten years ago a survey conducted by the ARRL Technology Task Force, of League members and other amateurs revealed that the number one interest in new technologies was in high-speed digital networks.

This is what led to the development of the High Speed Multi-Media working group in 2001-2005, appointed by former ARRL President, Jim Haynie, W5JBP.

The HSMM working group was an loose attempt to steer ham radio into the future by bringing awareness to the general ham populous of what is possible with HSMM.

It really could evolve into something powerful, the "next generation of ham radio." But it needs a leading force for that. The ARRL and TAPR both seem to have no interest. In my opinion, they should both be working on the community/ public relations with companies like Ubiquiti, and developers like the DD-WRT guys. Encouragement to work together and enabling hams would not only be beneficial for the hobby, but also the general populous. The HSMM working group encouraged hams, but neither larger group did anything to enable further experimentation.

I have pointed out that 802.11 and WiMax manufactures like Ubiquiti have the potential to develop built-to-order products for HSMM on VHF/UHF bands.

The Ubiquiti XR-1 is the first VHF 802.11 radio that I know of.

It's just a dirty shame someone like the ARRL or TAPR can't establish a better working relation with companies like this. Something like the XR-1 would be an inexpensive powerful Emcomm tool.

I encourage you to write to your section manager if you realize that legislation alone can't advance how we communicate.

Additionally TAPR is seeking nominations for a few good people to serve. So if you, or know of a ham with some fresh ideas, speak up!

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