Yesterday (Saturday October 3rd) this station did participate in the 2009 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) which was run in the Province of Ontario as joint venture with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES Ontario) and Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) with the assistance of the National Traffic System for Ontario (NTS) (Ontario Phone Net).
I did not participate at the local level but did participate at the Provincal Level being part of a Province Wide 80m HF Radio Net that did operate to pass formal NTS Traffic between various points in the province of Ontario.
In these days of Internet, Text Messaging, Cell Phones and all sorts of other Hi-Tech goodies our basic communications seem to have gone by the wayside. Traffic that used to go via HF Voice now goes out Digitally using Winlink 2000 and Pactor which also can connect to the Internet.
NTS Voice and CW communications seem to be heading towards the way of the Dinosaurs…
But yesterday we showed we could still do it. We put up with poor band conditions on 80m, we put up with high static levels and poor hearing with “senior operators” (I fall into that catagory), we put up with new operators who are not used to HF Communications but we welcome them, as they are the future of our hobby….
Stations checked in from all areas of the province, North West Ontario, Northern Ontario, North East Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Central Ontario, the Golden Horseshoe, the GTA, Southern Ontario and South Western Ontario and traffic was passed. Not always quickly… but the traffic was passed…
Now jumping on my soapbox for a few lines I will agree with the people grumbling out there that are thinking that we will never get used and that its an old inefective system. Hell, your most likely right….
There is a very small chance that we will have a major infrastructure failure… where all the new toys will not work…. and then it will a good thing that a few of us “old pharts” will be able to step in and keep things moving, yes moving slowly and ineffeciently but moving never the less.
Many times in the past when people have been commenting on my poor antennas I have commented that I would rather be on the air with a poor antenna than not on the air.
I believe that I would rather have a final backup system up and running when “all else fails” than be standing on a hill praying for a cell site….
Its slow, its outdated, and it still works….
(if you are interested there will be detailed report after the 2nd part of the test concludes on Wednesday October 7th on the Ontario Phone Net Blog- http://ontariophonenet.wordpress.com Look for it most likely by the following weekend.