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Author Topic: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones  (Read 11735 times)

RadioRay

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Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« on: April 15, 2013, 05:58:50 PM »
NEWS 15APR13 // 2:50pm eastern

I just got the news that two bombs exploded at the Boston marathon.  That part you can get in more detail on the news.  The aspect you might consider is that when this happened, the government shut down cellphone service in an effort to prevent further explosions, in case the bombers were using cell phones for command detonation of more devices. 

So - cellphones are -once again - not your best bet for emergency communications for this and many other reasons.



>de RadioRay
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 06:08:24 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

Joe

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (now) and Cell Phones
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 06:11:45 PM »
They are telling people that might need a place to stay or a hot meal to go to www.boston.com. So lets see I am from out of town, know my smart phone doesn't work and you give me a web address to get info.  >:(

This reinforces that a little prepping before you go on a trip and have a secondary form of communications set up.

WA4STO

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 07:26:09 PM »
The thing about the Boston Marathon that has me on edge is that there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of radio amateurs who are providing communications for the event.

They've been doing that from the 80s, I think.  I'm wondering now if the gummint is going to start shutting down these events.

Sigh

73

LH

RadioRay

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 09:02:06 PM »
Stories are changing as they always do after a big and governmentally interesting event.  That might be more and better information coming forward or 'spin'.  We may never know.  I'll let the other aspects go, but on the comms side of things, her eis the latest that I can find:


"WASHINGTON (AP) ? Cellphone companies say service is operating in the Boston area, but with heavy traffic following of the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

A law enforcement official, citing an intelligence briefing, said cellphone service had been shut down Monday in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.

But officials with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel said there had been no such requests.

Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis said: "Minus some mild call blocking on our Boston network due to increased traffic, our service is operating normally."

Two people were killed and scores injured when two explosives detonated near the finish line of the marathon."


So - who knows?


>de RadioRay
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 09:18:49 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

Quietguy

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 09:24:58 PM »
So - cellphones are -once again - not your best bet for emergency communications for this and many other reasons.

But that brings up the question... what is your best bet?

I suppose the answer depends on who you want on the other end of the link.  If you want to contact the person you rode to the event with then probably ham handhelds might be appropriate - maybe one with lesser used bands, like 220 on the Kenwood TH-F6A.  It might be appropriate to assume repeaters are overloaded or off the air; like WA4SO said, lots of hams in the area.  FRS/GMRS will likely be quite busy also.  Maybe MURS?

If you aren't within VHF/UHF simplex range of your contact, then what?  Whip an HF rig out of your backpack, set up an antenna and how long will it be before you attract some unwanted attention?  Maybe a small computer and SDR transceiver might go unnoticed.

But even if you have the gear and the ability to set it up quickly, do you have a plan in place for someone to look for your contact?  Do you suppose most of the people who went to Boston today called their radio buddies and said "hey, I'm going to the marathon... if something bad happens look for me per our emergency calling plan"?

Lots of questions, and the answers are probably different for each of us.  But, once again, we have been reminded that we need to think about these things.  Details matter.

Wally

cockpitbob

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2013, 09:29:27 PM »
Never trust the lame stream media and their irresponsible reporting of the first rumors they hear.

This is spring break in MA and my wife and kids were in the Boston Museum of Science, about 1 mile from the bombs when they went off.  We talked 3 times over 3 hours and never had any cell phone problems.  That said, it makes perfect sense that they would throw the cell "kill switch" to prevent the triggering of more bombs by cell phones or to disrupt communications between coordinated attackers.  I don't agree with it, but it seems like something they would do in a big SHTF situation.

Two of the local ham clubs volunteer at that event every year.  I haven't heard any news (good or bad) but they are in my many prayers for all affected.

RadioRay

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 10:35:47 PM »
Cockpit Bob -

That's GREAT intel, from the area of concern.  Thanks.  Some of the follow-up is saying 'localized disruption' of service, due to the systme being overwhelmed.  whether it was a shut-down by decree or by traffic volume, it's still something to consider during planning.  Remember - the actual area involved int he blasts is quite small, though people outside of the area were calling too.  If this were a wide spread emergency, assume multiplied problems.

>>> We had a very minor earthquake here in Virginia a year ago. Even though it was 150 miles away and we didn't even know that it happened, except for news reporting, we had phone outages in this area and even loss of texting capability, on & off for hours.  This during a non-emergency.  My radio didn't miss a beat - go figger.

Quietman's question about 'which is best ' and follow-on thoughts about the context of what 'best' means varies by need , timing and distance and other factors.  For me, I tend to exit the area of immediate danger, find a place at a moderate distance that looks safe and park my butt until I have a plan - or need to escape immediate danger. If outside of HT range - that's a tough call.

>>>====> Pulling out an HF set and beginning to string wire would likely have you either stomped to death by a frightened mob, or in the hands of large men with no necks.  When I routinely worked for weeks at a time on military ranges, I stopped using wire antennas except in rare occasions and began using the BuddiPole.  The reason is that my 'stringing wires all over the place' routinely brought security people down on me, while the BuddiPole "looks lik an antenna' and we had plenty of antennas int he work that we were doing. The same for going through airport security.  Wires caused all kinds of frantic hand wringing, while the BuddiPole 'looks like' and antenna and any questions were easily answered. If bombs were going off, I believe that ANY 'tech' not understood by the dumbest guy on the street, is a potential problem, if you flash it around.

The next question is - do you need to communicate right now?  If you could not sent the "I Am Fine" message to friends and family sooner, is returning to the hotel and stringing your wire in your room (I have done that before) viable?  How abut that nice mobile HF radio in your car? these are all situation dependent.

> de RadioRay ..._ ._

« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 01:28:12 AM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

RadioRay

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Rapid - On-Site Intel Gathering Possibility During 'Events'
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2013, 10:39:11 PM »
Did ANYONE think to go on Echolink or IRLP to remotely monitor/talk on Boston area repeaters for first hand thoughts from the area when this first happened?  I don't routinely use ham over internet, so did not think about it.  Also - are there open scanners on the internet from the area which can be accessed via internet for gathering as if you were a 'local'? 

It's food for thought.  It might be worth signing-up just for this possibility.


de RadioRay ..._ ._


"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

Quietguy

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 01:13:27 AM »
I believe that ANY 'tech' not understood by the dumbest guy on the street, is a potential problem, if you flash it around.

I saw a report of a pilot who was staying in a hotel room in NYC when 9/11 happened.  He left an Icom air band handheld laying out while he was out of the room.  A maid saw it and didn't know what it was so she called police.  Police came and looked at it, determined it was capable of transmitting/receiving on aircraft frequencies and gave him a fun question and answer session.  In the end it worked out, but I'm sure he didn't enjoy the experience... which could have been avoided by leaving the radio inside his luggage.

I haven't used any of the Internet repeater access modes and I didn't think of it either.  Radioreference.com has live audio feeds from around the country, but I didn't check them out earlier.  I'm not at all familiar with Boston so I figured I wouldn't be able to follow what was going on even if the feed was working well.  I have not had good luck trying to make sense out of what I was hearing when in unfamiliar territory.

Wally

cockpitbob

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Re: Rapid - On-Site Intel Gathering Possibility During 'Events'
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2013, 08:58:46 AM »
Did ANYONE think to go on Echolink or IRLP to remotely monitor/talk on Boston area repeaters for first hand thoughts from the area when this first happened? 
de RadioRay ..._ ._
I would have loved to but my Verizon router requires me to mess with "port forwarding" vs. "port switching" for Echolink to work.  Two years ago it took me 4 hours to figure that out and I had it running but recently I had to fix a problem by resetting the router to factory settings.  I'm 20mi north of Boston and my HT won't quite hit Boston repeaters and I had to stay at my desk and work so the 2M base station in the basement wasn't an option  :-\ .  On the local repeaters I could hit with the HT at my desk all I heard was the expected comments and emotions along with questions about what club volunteers are down there and are they OK.  No answers, just questions.

madball13

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2013, 10:43:40 AM »
Two guys from my local EM group volunteering for the race made it home safety last night.

I thought about logging on to echolink but i didn't have the ability to provide support and i didn't want to walk on potentially critical info during my login.

cockpitbob

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 11:54:30 AM »
... i didn't want to walk on potentially critical info during my login.
Really good point.  Not point in generating that echolink login transmission during a SHTF just to satisfy my curiosity about what's happening.

Gramaton550

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2013, 02:48:43 PM »
This topic is the reason I got into ham radio, there are 4 modes of prepping and they are as follows, Food/Water,Security Shelter and Communications and it took me too long to realize that I was missing the comms aspect until just recently, but I have been diligent in correcting that almost fatal error. ;)

Quietus

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Re: Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2013, 09:14:40 PM »
Shutting down cell phone service in a hurry is just not possible.  That action requires jumping through some significant legal hoops, otherwise (no matter who does it) it is known popularly as "interfering with communications" under federal law and is illegal, absent some significant prior judicial permission.  It's just against the law.
 
About a year and a half ago, when the arnichists were doing their thing out in Oakland during the Occupy Wall Street times, word on the street was that people knew the coppers were coming when their cell phones no longer worked.  That was one of those "interfering with communications" events.  Those OWS protests did not rise to a Martin Niemoller  moment for most.  I doubt that a quick tuck 'n trim on cell service anywhere here will raise many eyebrows, as long as it's done for a good cause.
 
America will get used to and may embrace, many more breaches of law as convenience dictates for the law enforcers. 

White Tiger

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Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 02:59:38 AM »
"Anyone who gives up freedoms for security, is worthy of neither..."Ben Franklin
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

Radio Preppers

Terrorist Bombing in Boston (2:50pm) and Cell Phones
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 02:59:38 AM »