May 21, 2016 (09:00-12:00)
Klaus K6KHB, ACS Exercise Coordinator
The Bay Area has been struck by a series of freak weather events: micro-climate events of hail in some places, heavy rains and flooding in others … heavy winds toppling power lies, lightning strikes causing fires, etc, etc.
Emergency communications are swamped dispatching first responders, cell phones circuits are overloaded, and the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) needs county-wide information on the extent of the damage. They have asked the Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) for damage assessment throughout the county.
ACS has established local Net Control Stations (NCSs) in Central, East, West, and South County to compile information supplied by ACS members from their home stations. The East and West NCSs will forward this information to EOC via the W6CX 220/440 repeater; the Central and SouthNCS will use simplex. Those stations that have limited range (ie. because of terrain) will participate via the WA6HAM repeater on 2 meters.
Fldigi in the MT63 2kL mode will be the primary mode for moving traffic; stations that do not have that capability will participate with voice traffic.
The primary objective of this exercise is to assess the ACS capability to move radio traffic using fldigi in the MT63 2kL (centered on 1500) mode using forms available on flmsg; this includes originating traffic and responding to traffic, as well as relaying digital traffic. A secondary objective is to move traffic by voice is fldigi capability if not available.
The exercise is scheduled for 09:00 to 12:00 to allow plenty of time for everyone to gain practice and experience. If a local net exhausts traffic from its participants, the net may stand down earlier. Local nets should inform EOC when they shut down.
We’ll send out a Community Warning Notification by text, phone, and email around 08:45 asking ACS members, starting at 09:00, to make radio contact with their local NCS with damage assessment reports.
The NCSs will be running controlled nets. Check-in on 2-m fm can be by voice or digital; avoid lengthy transmissions until you are informed by net control to proceed. Talk in brief sentences and key off for acknowledgment before continuing. Individual stations may be assigned tactical call signs by their local NCS, e.g. “Central 1” or “EAST 3).
Don’t forget to preamble messages with “This is a Drill”, and state your FCC call sign at the end of a conversation.
REMEMBER THE FIRST RULE OF ESTABLIHING AN EMERGENCY NET: If there is no net control station on the air, the first one on the net assumes that responsibility.
Each participant should, at a minimum,
- Use fldigi keyboard to keyboard for checking in (program a macro if you’re up to it)
- Use flmsg
- form>weather>storm report to report weather conditions. Be creative in filling it out; this is serious business to learn, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun doing it. Feel free to send several different ones.
- form>ICS>ICS213 for a narrative damage report; again, be creative, eg. “Highway 4 Alhambra Ave west-bound onramp is blocked by overturned big rig. Driver not injured. Tow truck is on the way. No time estimate for opening the ramp.”
- form>csv Generate a short Excel spreadsheet ahead of time, save in .csv format, and send via flmsg. For example … rows: Shelter 1, shelter 2, shelter 3, etc; columns: cots, blankets, pillows, folding chairs; the entries would be the number of each required.
- form>ICS>ICS214 to record your activities
- When you generate messages, don’t be shy about requesting responses … after all we want to keep EOC and NCSs on their toes. eg. “Power line down on intersection of A and Elm street. Wires appear to be live. Notify PG&E and advise.”
If you are unable to contact your NCS (eg. due to terrain) you may use the WA6HAM 2-m repeater. The primary objective is to become proficient in fldigi/flmsg for traffic.
Each NCS should
- Control traffic
- Solicit, encourage and tutor, if necessary, fldigi/flmsg traffic
- Keep track of how many stations check in with a) fldigi and voice and b) voice only
- Forward traffic to EOC. East and West via 220/440 repeater; Central and South on 145.680 MHz
- Use tactical call (East, West, Central, South) and FCC call at 10 minute intervals
- Control traffic with NCSs
- Generate traffic (status inquiries) to NCSs
- Use tactical call (EOC) and FCC call at 10 minute intervals
Voice checkin to NCS
QSY to digital if several members have the capability
Each NCS should have 2-meter capability, as well as fldigi. HF capability is desirable, but not required.
|EOC to NCSs:||145.680 MHz simplex|
|NCSs to local nets:|
|East||147.570 MHz voice and fldigi|
|West (Richmond)||147.450 MHz voice and fldigi|
|West (San Pablo)||147.495 MHz voice and fldigi|
|Central||146.505 MHz voice and fldigi|
|South||147.480 MHz voice and fldigi|
|Net||3.893 MHz LSB voice|
|QSY to digital at NCS discretion||3.593 MHz USB fldigi
(MT63, 2klong,centered at 1500)
- Remember to use “This is a Drill” in your communications
- Use tactical call sign if you have one assigned to you; end conversations with you FCC callsign
- Keep track of your activities on an ICS 214 form throughout the exercise.
- Provide After Action Comments
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- What went right
- What went wrong
- What could we do better
- Recommendations for future exercises