I encountered this fellow, Tim Eldridge KF6TIM, at the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association emergency preparedness fair, in Pasadena CA. He is a relatively new ham, licensed about six years ago, who now holds his Extra class license. He is involved with the Altadena Local Emergency Radio Team (ALERT) and CERT. What he was doing at the event opened my mind up to myriad possibilities applicable to ARES, NTS and other emergency communications applications.
With a laptop in one hand and a Kenwood TH-D72A handheld transceiver in the other, connected with a USB cable, he is basically a pedestrian mobile packet WL2K station. This radio has an on-board 1200/9600-baud TNC, along with GPS, APRS and other features.
With an after-market antenna on the Kenwood, he was able to connect solidly on 5 Watts, with the 2-meter packet WL2K gateway KF6TIM-10, located 3.0 miles away, as long as he stayed away from the trees. With a mobile or small base antenna, he certainly could have done better.
Imagine the possibilities!