[rescue] ham gear

Brian Dunbar brian.dunbar at plexus.com
Mon Dec 5 08:47:00 CST 2005

On Dec 3, 2005, at 8:11 PM, Charles Shannon Hendrix wrote:

> The bigger problem there though, is just mis-application.
> The move to COTS for everything has hurt too, I think, and so has the
> push for "one size fits all" solutions like Java, Windows, or any
> situation where they try to do every job with just one tool.
> Initially it was felt this kind of thing would save money.
> No COTS software or hardware is completely right for a job as  
> custom as
> what the military needs.  That means they have to spend money
> integrating all this stuff together, and configuring it for the work
> they need.
> I believe this costs *MORE* than custom vertical applications in at
> least a significant number of situations, and is very hard to make as
> reliable and well focused as a custom job.

On the other hand - sometimes the nifty-keen custom vertical  
application is too costly (up front) so while you've got demo units  
when the shooting starts .. that's all you've got.

Example when we deployed (I say 'we' but I spent the entire war on  
Okinawa) for Desert Shield in 1991 I'd seen some really keen tactical  
LAN equipment.  Ruggedized, push button stuff you could hand to the  
infantry without worrying much about training beyond "battery goes  
here".  Alas it was far too expensive.  We had none in the inventory  
- and having 'just a few' was going to do no one any good.

So we went with our Banyan Vines network.  Unit commanders down to  
Battalion and (in some cases) company level had laptops, a backpack  
FM radio and a 300 bps modem, dialup servers at brigade linking to  
servers at division and then MEF.  With email.  In theory I could  
have sent my buddy in Fox 2/2 a message via his CO (Banyan's address  
book was pretty good).  In practice Fox 2/2 could send traffic up to  
MEF in a matter of minutes which really helped the jarheads organize  
and tear into Kuwait.

Which isn't a good situation of course - it's possible (certain) the  
total costs from using that system were greater than if we'd spent  
money to buy the tactical LAN.  But we didn't - couldn't - justify  
the funds before Desert Shield.  It's an old habit to tell the Army  
and Marines 'make do'.

Brian Dunbar
System Administrator II
Desk: (920) 751-3364
Cell: (920) 716-2027
brian.dunbar at plexus.com

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