I’ve posted some comments about the Oakville ARES group on my person blog at VE3HG but I thought I’d expand on where we are when it comes to our MESH installation here.
Back some months ago I heard from Ian Snow, VE3QT, who did a demonstration of MESH and who wrote some really good training manuals for ARES which I highly recommend you read. (I’m not sure Ian is still in ARES as the RAC ARES web pages show many, many vacancies and even show Oakville ARES as not having an EC in place which is incorrect and has been so for almost a year now.)
I didn’t get what Ian was saying about MESH at the time but I do now. Buffalo, New York is a good example of what might befall us unexpectedly any winter. Six feet of snow buried the city and shutdown large portions of it. Now Buffalo might get significant flooding with temperatures way above freezing. There’s been at least 13 deaths. This is a disaster.
The old ARES model of deploying volunteer individual Amateurs with handhelds to designated places (hospitals, police, fire and ambulance stations, municipal offices, Red Cross shelters and others) to provide communications services wouldn’t work if the Buffalo situation had been worse.
However a dedicated MESH network of remote untended nodes on the system would allow local ARES groups to provide a high-speed private Internet-type service across a municipality.
Sure we’d have to get somebody to run a keyboard at key locations but the system could be in place and ready to go and it could be independent of electricity being available.
Plus we can always implement the old model and deploy individuals with the handhelds, a spare battery, their lunch and rubber boots to specific locations but the MESH network would sure make communications a whole lot easier.
We’ve been in touch with local Oakville municipal officials in government and helping services and we’ve been getting a very positive response so far.
Just like our sister ARES groups in Burlington, Hamilton, Mississauga and Peel who are also considering building their own MESH networks, the Oakville ARES group with the support of the Oakville Amateur Radio Club is making progress and once we’re all on the air we will be able to wireless connect to those municipalities as well.
If you’re an Amateur Radio operator living in or near Oakville, Ontario or if you’re a regular user of one of our repeater systems (VE3HB VHF, UHF and D-Star) please consider joining the Oakville ARC and doing your part to support our club.
We meet the second Tuesday of the month (There’s no regular meeting in December as we’re having our annual festive Christmas dinner and all are welcome.) and there’s an informal weekly gathering on Saturday’s at 6:30 am at Cora’s restaurant on Dorval north of the QEW. All are welcome.