SATERN, as an organization, strives to view message transfers with the mission “Get the message through”. Along with that montra, comes the need to be accurate and reliable. The SSB net trains extensively to have participants recognize and handle messages properly.
There comes a point at which either the volume of messages, the conditions under which a message is transfered, and the experience of the operators involved determine the result.
The illustration above is but one node in a diverse and completely replicable scheme that serves training and deployment alike. In the training mode, local groups work together to form a working group of SATERN centric communication stations. The extensive use of the higher frequency bands is on purpose. These particular bands provide low noise, high speed data transfer with a higher degree of reliability than HF channels where short distance communication is the goal.
Local and Regional SATERN groups of this nature are essential for the reasons outlined numberous times on the SATERN International Digital Net, and in many training messages. From this pool of operators, come the candidates that may provide service in deployment, or during a localized event that requires more local support than the wide-area response provides.
Working mostly with local Corps commanders, SATERN local and regional groups support the specific needs of the troops on the ground in events that require local support.
It should be obvious from the illustration how this happens. Using resources within the area affected (or covered by the local group nets), SATERN can provide rapid and accurate data messaging where there is damage to the local infrastructure. This scenario has played out time and time again during and after events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
All too often, overconfident local officials and first responders relay on GMRS, trunking, digital trunking, and other communication resources that are not hardened against catastrophy. When it happens, these resources fail. That is when the amateur radio community is called on for help.
Using our diverse digital footprint, SATERN is able to be there to support the work of The Salvation Army EDS as they respond with help in recovery. Tactical support is needed by the Army to communicate with local Commanders and with Territorial and National headquarters. Local commanders may use the wide–area resource to move messages out of the affected area quickly and with confidence in the error–free reception of each message.
Where SATERN is called on to partner with cooperationg agencies, we can become an ajunct to the overall communication network and provide the same reliable resource afforded EDS.
The SATERN leadership has long advocated the cooperation of local SATERN–centric ham radio groups to train and prepare hams for events where local support is important and/or critical.
The importance of such groups cannot be overstated. A diverse radio network needs the ability to form and maintain ad hoc networks where critical communication is to be established. Trained and prepared local SATERN hams are an integral part of that effort.
This effort requires not only flexibility, and reliability, but interoperability with local NGOs and government agencies alike. That aspect does not come automatically. It must be established, tested, proven and tested again. To do so, requires activity along those goals. Regular net meetings, participation in local events, support of non–emergency activity (like marathon races and bikeathon races) all serve to train, practice, and prove the utility of SATERN digital hams.