Ham Radio Now

HRN 340: Eclipsing ARES

August 4, 201753 min
All the chatter about Amateur Radio and the Eclipse (coming August 21 to a sky near you, if you're in the USA...) has been about propagation. What effect will the eclipse have on the bands? But major HRN fan Mark Cartwright noted that one county in Idaho had declared Eclipse Day to be a State of Emergency.  Think about it. The path of totality is about 70 miles wide, stretching from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic in South Carolina. Most of it is in very rural territory, and a few small to medium size cities are right in the middle. Millions of people are expected to flock to that zone. In any given county, it could be tens to hundreds of thousands, depending on expected viewing conditions. It turns out that emergency management in most areas have been preparing for months. The State of Emergency may (or may not) be a bit too much, but at a minimum, EM is expecting gridlock on most major arteries in the zone. So are astronomers who have experienced total eclipses before. While an eclipse isn't a 'natural disaster', and won't wipe out communications (maybe a little on HF), that many people in rural territory will certainly overload the cell system. Does Amateur Radio have a role? And are ARES groups stepping up to fill it? This show began as an off-line Skype discussion between hosts Gary KN4AQ and David W0DHG. At some point, David said 'this out to be a show', and Gary pushed the Facebook Live button.  We'll probably do another show after we've rounded up a few ECs, etc. in the zone to talk to about what they're planning. Gary shows some maps of the path of totality. You can see it here: http://www.eclipse2017.org/xavier_redirect.htm But mostly it's a discussion. So an accidental Radio Rating of A. Toward the end of the show, they go off-topic, and Gary discusses the 'Future of HRN'. Spoiler alert: Gary says that view counts and downloads do not justify doing the show. Only the level of fan contributions make it worth doing (and that's at the 'just barely' level).  So while this 'show-not a show' rambles and ambles a bit (typical, really), you might want to stick around to the end.

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