I was listening to the VOIP Hurricane Net / Hurricane Observation Network on DMR TG 3199. Great quality digital voice net across multiple technologies (DMR, Echolink, AllStarLink) soliciting for reports. Actually, I heard a few pre-landfall wx reports from a few locations in FL, a lot of general broadcasting, announcements and solicitations from net control (legal?) most of which i could get from CNN or numerous other commercial outlets, but hardly any welfare traffic out of or into the ravished area.
The next day, on national TV news from the Naples area was a report on how difficult it was to get survivor welfare messaging in and out of the area since cell and other infrastructure based systems were severely damaged (thus also prioritized). Wow – perfect for HF ham-radio to shine. A couple of portable HF stations on battery/generator power at one or many info/comm tents throughout the disaster area may have been the solution. Can you see how our hobby or service would shine in a national news report if there was an organized way for the concerned in and outside the area; e.g “From outside the area call ARRL at nnn-nnn-nnnn and From the Disaster Area, go to orange canopy tents located at nnn for outbound messages”. Maybe even a web interface?
The Red Cross provides a similar service on their website. Maybe our efforts should again be united. The cool thing about ham radio is that there are so many individuals with so much knowledge and resources. The bad thing about ham radio as a service is also the very same. I know over the years many have had ideas on how to coordinate this and we sure do hear some strong individual forces, but where is our across the board structure?
At the end of the day, did ham-radio really serve a unique purpose or was there just another layer of busy-work with really no unique purpose filling an obvious and documented void? Could we actually fill this void in an organized way? Hum?!