Cumberland County ECT Training Net Tonight at 7:00 PM

Please join us TONIGHT at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly Emergency Communications Training. This will be our first hybrid in-person and on-air drill, in which we’ll be testing out radios and equipment at the CCEMA Bunker, so your participation from home will be important.

We’ll first meet on the repeater, where we can exchange traffic and share announcements, and once everyone’s checked-in, we’ll move over to 146.580 simplex for a roll call. On simplex, we’ll exchange signal reports with each other and note how well everyone can copy each other, and the station at the bunker.

The training portion will include sending radiogram replies to messages as part of an ongoing Amateur Radio / MARS Interoperability exercise.

Over the next two months, we’ll be making use of other modes and bands, focusing on developing skills, such as familiarity with message forms, traffic handling, using modes like FM Simplex, Winlink, Packet, and the FLDigi suite, to prepare for the upcoming Simulated Emergency Test (SET), which takes place in October.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

WSSM-ECT Training Net 02/25/2021 Net Report

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the WSSM-ECT Training Net! We had 9 check-ins, a few of which were first time participants. The net started on time, at 7:00PM. Tim KB1HNZ served as moderator.

Among the items discussed were the various parts of the ARRL Radiogram and ICS-213 message forms, which are important to be familiar with for Emergency Communications. We also practiced sending both types of messages over the air, exchanging six messages altogether. Thanks to Brad KC1JMH for keeping a Net Log of all the traffic that was exchanged. See below:

WSSM ECT NET LOG 2021-02-25

— RADIOGRAM —
7 R KB1HNZ 10 SACO ME 1500 FEB 25
FRANK KRIZAN KR5N
1200 GARDENGROVE COURT
PLANO TX 75075
KR1ZAN AT ARRL DOT NET
BT
GREETINGS FROM MAINE X
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW CALL SIGN
BT
KB1HNZ TIM

— ICS-213 —

INCIDENT NAME WSSM ECT TRAINING NET
TO CHRIS WHEELER PLANNER CCEMA
FROM TIM WATSON EC CUMBERLAND CTY
EXERCISE MESSAGE FEB 25 1510Z

THIS IS AN EXERCISE MESSAGE DESIGNED TO INCREASE FAMILIARITY AMONG NET PARTICIPANTS WITH VARIOUS FORMS USED IN EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT.

ROUTE TO WHEELER@CUMBERLANDCOUNTY.ORG

— RADIOGRAM —
8 R KB1HNZ 16 SACO ME 1502 FEB 25
RYAN MICHAELSON KB1YTR
235 E LOCUST ST
DULUTH MN 55811
KB1YTR AT ARRL DOT NET
BT
GREETINGS FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN MAINE X
HOPE ALL IS WELL WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
BT
TIM KB1HNZ

— RADIOGRAM —

2977 PA N1RXR 23 NEW GLOUCESTER ME 0025 FEB 26 21
TIM WATSON
11 LYMAN AVE
SACO ME
BT
NORTH ATLANTIC NORTH OF 31 NORTH TO 67 NORTH AND WEST OF THIRTY FIVE WEST X HURRICANE FORCE WINDS WARNING AT FIFTY EIGHT NORTH
MILLIBAR OF 960

— ICS-213 —
TO KB1HNZ TRAINED SPOTTER
FROM N1RXR STATIONARY HOME LOCATION
SUB ICEBERG LOCATION
02-26-2021 0040Z

LABRADOR COAST AND STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE NORTH OF FIFTY TWO DEGREES NORTH TWENTY THREE ICE BERGS REPORT NORTH OF FIFTY TWO DEGREES NORTH

— RADIOGRAM —
3 R HXC KC1JMH ARL 4 WATERBORO ME 1929L FEB 25
ALAN SERL KM6KPW
3121 WHATA RD
JURUPA VALLEY CA 92509
ALANSERL AT SCRNET DOT COM
BT
ARL FIFTY ONE WSSM
BT
KC1JMH
AR

Check-ins:
KC1JMH Brad, Waterboro, Battery Power
KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, Commercial Power
KC1OER Norris, Portland, Commercial Power
KC1MSR Nick, Gorham, Commercial Power
KB1FGF Dave, Scarborough, Commercial Power
KC1OLX Tom, Gorham, Mobile
N1SNP Mark, Windham, Mobile
N1RXR Eric, New Gloucester, Commercial Power
W2VAN Mike, Portland, Commercial Power

Net Secured at 8:19 PM

On-Air Drill This Thursday!

Please join us tomorrow evening, January 28th, at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our first On-Air Drill of the new year!

We’ll first meet on the repeater, where we can exchange traffic and share announcements, and once everyone’s checked-in, we’ll move over to 146.580 simplex for a roll call. On simplex, we’ll exchange signal reports with each other and note who we can copy.

Over the next few months, we’ll make use of other modes and bands, focusing on developing skills, such as familiarity with message forms, traffic handling, using modes like FM Simplex, Winlink, Packet, and the FLDigi suite, while fostering an interest in and recruiting newcomers to emergency communications.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2020 Maine SET Review

On Saturday, October 24th, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine Emergency Communications Team (WSSM-ECT), which meets monthly in Scarborough, participated 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 to 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 reports, or other information that may be of importance during a disaster. They do this via voice and digital two-way radio, on bands ranging from HF to UHF, as required.

“There has been a lot of statewide coordination for this year’s event, and they’ve developed an extensive plan that involves testing both amateur radio and EMA communications,” says Tim Watson, of Saco. Watson is president of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, which provides communications support to 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 called upon to provide communications support.”

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

The purpose of this year’s SET was to test the ability to communicate inter-county and between counties, using various modes: VHF FM repeater, VHF FM Simplex, HF SSB, VHF Packet, HF Digital, and Winlink via VHF Packet and HF Ardop.

Objectives included: Testing voice communications with other counties on amateur VHF repeaters, exchanging digital data with other counties on VHF repeaters, and the Maine Packet Network, testing voice communications with other counties on VHF Simplex, testing voice with other counties via HF, and exchanging digital traffic via HF. Each of these tasks were outlined in the 2020 Maine SET statewide plan. Other tasks were assigned to various EMA personnel to test their communications systems as well.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the 2020 SET was helping to relay a radiogram message from the York County EMA to Washington County. The message was originated in York and was relayed through several counties before reaching its destination. Steve Hansen KB1TCE reported afterwards that the message was delivered with near perfect accuracy. The only part that was missing in the final message was the signature. A possible reason for this is that the ARRL radiogram form has no place for a signature, compared with a Radio Relay International form, that does.

The SET scenario took place over 4 hours, from 8AM till noon, and as we approached the final hour, we decided to ask some of participants that checked in via FM simplex from their homes, to deploy to various shelter locations across the county. Eric Emery N1RXR visited Memorial Elementary School, in New Gloucester, Gray New Gloucester High School, in Gray, Greely Middle School, in Cumberland, Brunswick High School, and Falmouth High School, while Waylon McDonald KC1HJN was deployed to Windham High School and Gorham Middle School. We exchanged signal reports and exercise traffic from each location.

Brad Brown Jr., KC1JMH, was deployed to a strategic location on Chadbourne Ridge, in Waterboro, and acted as a VHF relay between York County to the south and the Cumberland County EMA.

Tim Watson KB1HNZ operated from the Cumberland County EMA. Do to COVID-19 restrictions, which limited the number of people in the building, he was the only ham operator at the EMA.


Lessons Learned

The WS1EC team successfully completed all but one task, which was to send digital traffic via FM Simplex. Having not been to the CCEMA in nine months, due to COVID-19 restrictions, one casualty was the Kenwood D710G VHF/UHF radio. After doing some trouble shooting to determine why it wouldn’t power on properly, the morning of the SET, it was determined that the best thing to do in the short window of time before the start of the exercise, was to use the backup radio, that was located in a backpack on a shelf in the radio room. The backup radio performed well and the programming was identical to the primary radio, so it was a seamless transition.

The only problem was discovering that there’s a difference in software settings between the D710A, and the newer D710G, which affected its ability to transmit when using Fldigi. This could’ve easily been fixed by downloading the appropriate RigCAT file, but in order to preserve the integrity of the SET, which listed among its scenarios, an internet outage, we chose not to update it at the time. In a future work session at the EMA, we plan on configuring the software to handle both radios, in case a failure happens again.

The Emergency Communications Team performed extremely well in this year’s SET, and many participants expressed a desire to do more exercises throughout the year, and more on-air training, like we did in the spring. In response, we’ll be starting up a training net again after the Holidays, to continue developing the skills necessary to perform at a high level.

Click here to view the WSSM-ECT After Action Report for the 2020 Maine SET.

New England ARES Academy Online

The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30 PM EDT, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM EDT.

A big benefit of the online schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose.

Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.

The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based on ARRL ARES training standards.

For more information and to register, visit:

https://hamxposition.org/2020/ne-ares-academy