NH Two-Level Simulated Emergency Test

Saturday, November 4, 2017 (8AM-1PM)

Goals:

1. Test message handling skills
2. Real time Weather Reports to the NWS in Gray Maine
3. Welfare messages from hospitals and shelters
4. Operation of the Section HF Traffic and Coordination net and local VHF nets

Exercise Scenario:

The scenario this year will be based on a hurricane similar to the 1938 storm (see detailed track below) that created widespread damage to interior New Hampshire . This year’s exercise will have two parts; to provide the National Weather Service in Gray Maine with current weather conditions from operator locations and to simulate welfare messages from operators at hospital and shelter locations. Nets to be utilized; HF Section, local VHF nets, NTS and Winlink.

Exercise Plan:

The exercise will utilize repeaters until 10:30a at which time simplex operation will commence due to simulated damage of repeater facilities. ARES groups should move to their local simplex frequency as listed on Attachment A on the NH State Communication plan.

Each ARES group should designate a station to upload weather reports via Winlink if that ability exists. The Winlink address for the NWS in Gray , Me. is wx1gyx@winlink.org. If Winlink is not available, messages should be brought to the NH Section net at 3945+-.

The SEOC or its designee will receive welfare messages through the Section Net. If hospital or shelter stations are Winlink capable they can send the welfare test message direct to the SEOC using the k1pjs@winlink.org

The SEOC will be operational and managed by the NH SEOC team. All weather reports from individual stations unable to be sent to the NWS by Winlink will be sent to the SEOC or its designee for upload to the NWS via the 75 or 40 meter circuit.

Weather reports, in Radiogram form, should contain the following if available; Temperature, Wind Direction and Speed, Barometric Pressure with tendency and precipitation if any has fallen on the day of the SET.


Weather report example: (In the preamble include your street and town in block 5)

NR 1      TEST       K1PJS   15    GLADSTONE CONCORD NH   NOV 4

NWS
GRAY MAINE
TEMPERATURE 71 X WIND SE/10
BAROMETER 29R92 AND FALLING
PRECIPITATION R15 INCHES SINCE MIDNIGHT

K1PJS

TEST


Welfare test messages, in Radiogram form, can include the hospital or shelter you are operating from, the number of ARES operators present and capacity of the shelter if applicable.

Welfare message example: (In the preamble include the hospital or shelter in block 5)

NR 5   TEST   KB1RIJ  10   CONCORD HOSPITAL   NOV 4

SEOC
ARES SET PARTICIPATION FROM CONCORD
HOSPITAL X 5 OPERATORS PRESENT
KB1RIJ

TEST

All stations are encouraged to operate on battery or generator power from 10:30am until exercise termination. Remember to begin and end all transmissions with “This is a test”

The SET will begin 8a and conclude at 1p unless sooner as directed by the SEOC.


Precipitating disaster and exercise review:

Large category 5 hurricane with the eye path traveling up the Connecticut river valley (like the 1938 hurricane) causing widespread damage to interior NH.

Local stations should provide current weather conditions such as the temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and any precipitation to be sent to the NWS in Gray.

To simulate welfare messages from hospitals or shelters, provide the number of operators in your ARES group and location of the hospital or shelter you are operating from. Include the capacity of the shelter if applicable.

Friday night, November 3rd, we will hold an Alert Roster drill to test the call tree.

All operators should review their local and NH ARES Communication plans.

When playing a role, think about it as though it were real and act accordingly. Don’t forget to begin and end each message and tactical exchange with “This is a drill.”

Please address any questions to the Section Manager peter@k1pjs.com


WS1EC/WX1GYX Plan:

We plan to have ops at both the CCEMA and NWS Gray stations to support New Hampshire in their SET exercise. The primary objectives will be to establish communications with the NH SEC, and county liaisons via HF on 3945 +/- kHz LSB for voice communications, and to connect to Winlink HF on occasion throughout the exercise to exchange messages and facilitate the collection of weather reports.

We will use this as a training exercise to test message handling skills and to get more experience using digital communications (Winlink and NBEMS). If anyone is interested in participating at either location, please let me know of your availability at: kb1hnz@yahoo.com

We will use the following frequencies during the exercise:

146.595 SKYWARN Primary Simplex (WS1EC Secondary)
146.655 (- / 100) Mt. Washington repeater (for coordination, if necessary)
3945 +/- kHz NH Section HF Traffic and Coordination Net
145.510 DMR Simplex

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2017 WS1EC Maine SET Outline

Maine Simulated Emergency Test – Saturday, October 28th

Time: 8AM-6PM

General Scenario

The exercise time-frame is one day after a major state-wide ice storm. The event has interrupted much of the normal communications across the state – land-line telephone, cell phone, and internet. Electrical power is also out in many areas. Physical damage is primarily related to downed trees, towers, and utility poles, with some damage to homes and other buildings. Shelters have been opened, but many people are staying in their homes without any means of “normal” communications. Demand for outbound 3rd party Health & Welfare communications services is high and medical needs & emergencies in the community are a concern.


Exercise Goals (Statewide)

  • Utilization of the statewide HF net for the passage of SITREPS, Weather Reports, and Welfare messages by voice.
  • Use of flmsg standard and custom forms with Winlink Express (statewide) and NBEMS (local ares). These may be sent to MEMA (N1WJO) or any group using Winlink or NBEMS. Messages to the SEC may be sent to the Knox EMA (KX1EMA) using Winlink.
  • Use of Winlink to send Welfare radiograms to KB1TCE (Serving as a target station).
  • Closed loop communications between agencies: agency to agency, with replies usinh ICS-213 format.
  • Test proficiency with composing / transmitting formal traffic, including ICS and Radiogram formats. Use of proper phonetics and prowords for all voice communications. Brevity is important for all communications, voice or digital, to avoid tying up circuits.
  • Community involvement is encouraged.

Our Goals

During last year’s SET we were able to establish communications with each of the FEMA shelters throughout Cumberland County. This provided valuable data that will be useful in determining what communications equipment is required for a deployment to one or many of these shelters. For the first hour or two of the 2017 SET, we will attempt to activate these shelters again, and compare results. This is primarily an FM Simplex test, which will take place on 146.580. Operators at each location will establish contact with the CCEMA Bunker (WS1EC), and National Weather Service Gray (WX1GYX) from each shelter location. The information exchanged will include signal report, and weather report from each location.

If operators have the ability to use multiple power levels, it is recommended to try it at 5 Watts, Medium, and High Power, and report changes in signal strength for each level. If not, just mention what power level you are using, and what type of antenna/radio combination. For those who have DMR capabilities, you’re also encouraged to attempt contact between the shelter location and both CCEMA and NWS using DMR Simplex on 145.510.

Below is a list of the shelters in Cumberland County

  • Brunswick High School
  • Falmouth High School
  • Gorham Middle School
  • Gray-New Gloucester High School
  • Greely Middle School
  • Lakes Region High School
  • Portland Expo Building
  • Scarborough High School
  • South Portland High School
  • South Portland Community Center
  • Westbrook High School
  • Windham High School

Volunteers are still needed at some of the shelter locations and to help out at the CCEMA Bunker!

The second part of the exercise will be to establish contact with MEMA on the HF net, and to compose messages (or forward them) to the following stations using Winlink: N1WJO (MEMA), KX1EMA (SEC), KB1TCE (Target Station, for forwarding of health & welfare or routine traffic).

If we have time after this is, we will try to establish further communications between counties via 2m Simplex, (including NBEMS), HF, or Winlink.


Frequencies:

  • Statewide HF (SSB): 3940 Night / 7262 Day
  • Digital Modes (NBEMS) HF: 3583 Night
  • WSSM-ECT Primary Simplex: 146.580
  • WSSM-ECT Secondary / SKYWARN Simplex: 146.595
  • DMR Simplex: 145.510
  • See the Maine ARES Frequencies Chart for County Simplex Channels

Winlink Addresses:

  • Knox County to KX1EMA (Also SEC)
  • Lincoln County to K1LX
  • Waldo County to W1EMA
  • MEMA to N1WJO
  • Piscataquis County to KB1WEA
  • Hancock County to AB1PZ
  • York County to W1WDW
  • Cumberland County to WS1EC
  • Oxford County to W1OCA
  • Androscoggin County to W1NPP
  • Washington County to N1EP
  • Aroostook County to KB1WGN (Also NWS Caribou)

WSSM at the South Portland Fire Department Open House

spfd_wssm_booth

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

On Saturday, October 14th, WSSM members, including Rory McEwen KB1PLY, Charlie Shepard W1CPS, and Tim Watson KB1HNZ, set up a display table and a portable HF station during the annual South Portland Fire Department Open House.

The event, which took place at the Western Avenue Fire Station, featured fire trucks on display, including a fully extended ladder unit, an ambulance, demonstrations of the jaws of life, food, activities, and more.

The Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA), and several local businesses also had displays. There were lots of kids having fun, climbing in the trucks, and the many families were enjoying the beautiful fall day.

The WSSM team setup an HF radio, using a BuddiPole antenna, for on-air activities, and made a good demonstration of the hobby for the curious onlookers. There were also some other radios on display, including an Icom IC706MKIIG, which is used during SOTA and other portable operations, as well as some of the other equipment used, including SLA batteries of various sizes. Intro to ham radio handouts and club information was also available.

spfd_mascots

The highlights of the day occurred when mascots from two of the local sports teams stopped by to play a little radio.

 

Maine SET is October 28th

8am-1pm

SET_2017

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

On Saturday, October 28th, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine Emergency Communications Team, which meets monthly in Windham, will participate in a statewide drill to test their communications capabilities between various different sites throughout Cumberland County and the state. The drill, known as the Simulated Emergency Test, or SET, is an annual exercise, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, which encourages amateur radio operators from across the country test their communications skills during a mock disaster.

During the SET, hams are required to quickly establish communications between various Emergency Operations Centers and exchange formal messages and traffic, which contain requests for supplies, medical or weather information, or other things that may be of importance during a disaster. They do this via voice, Morse code, and digital two-way radio, on bands ranging from HF to UHF, as required.

“The scenario for this year is an ice storm, which is a real possibility in Maine,” says Rory McEwen, of Saco. Rory is president of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, which provides communications support for Cumberland County EMA, as well as the National Weather Service. “The SET tests how we respond during large-scale disasters, where commercial infrastructure has failed. In these events, hams are often the only source of communications.”

“The hams in our club are a dedicated group,” adds Thom Watson, one of the founders of the club. “Amateur radio has a long history of volunteerism. Sure, it’s a hobby and there’s some fun things that we do like mountaintop expeditions or competitive events like contesting, but so many like to stay sharp by providing support for charity walks and community events, and drills like this, so they’ll be ready to offer their time and expertise when disaster strikes.”

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is participating in the SET for the third time. “The first time we participated was only a few days after we formally established a partnership with the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, so we weren’t very organized yet,” says McEwen. “but last year went really well, and we have a solid plan and a list of goals to accomplish for 2017.”

After the event, the participants will do an assessment to determine how well they performed and look for areas to improve on. “There’s always new things to learn and ways to improve,” says McEwen. “But the important thing to know is that we’ll be ready to help.”

For more information about amateur radio, or the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, please visit their website at:

http://www.mainehamradio.com