2020 Maine Simulated Emergency Test

Begins at 8:00am Saturday, October 24th

Thanks to everyone who joined us last night on the WSSM-ECT Training Net! We successfully tested communications on multiple bands and modes, including VHF repeater, 2m FM Simplex, 40 and 80 meters SSB, and Winlink.

If you’re interested in participating, please click here to familiarize yourself with the “Final” SET plan for tomorrow’s statewide test.

To begin with, we’ll meet first thing on the Cumberland County primary repeater, 147.090. We’ll use this throughout the first half of the exercise and I encourage everyone to monitor it on a second radio or sub band, if possible. This is where we can trouble shoot problems amongst ourselves and also share county-wide traffic for the first couple of hours (until the repeaters go down). If you generate any traffic yourselves, I would recommend a SKYWARN-style weather report. The scenario is a hurricane, after all. Also, remember to preface your traffic with a disclaimer such as “This is an exercise message.”

Please help out with as many tasks as you’re able to:

The first task will be #6 on the SET Plan – To Perform radio checks with other counties on Amateur VHF repeaters. We’ll take this opportunity to try different repeaters and contact other ARES / EmComm groups and individuals. Keep a log of your contacts and which county EMA they are associated with, if any. Also be prepared to receive or relay radiogram traffic, as some may have traffic already prepared. See the explanation in the SET plan for more info.

Task #7 is to exchange traffic via FlDigi / FlMsg. If you are equipped to do so, please attempt to exchange traffic via FlDigi over a repeater.

Steps #8 and #9 are related. If anyone has the ability to connect to the Maine Packet Network, please send a Check-in form to Steve KC1TCE at KB1TCE@winlink.org prior to the start of the exercise to let him know you will be able to accept traffic. Go to: Select Template -> Standard Templates -> General Forms -> Winlink Check In.txt to select the form. This way the other counties will know you are participating. These tasks require that we connect to the Maine Packet Network on VHF and also to exchange traffic via the Winlink RMS system using this method.

Tasks 6-9 take place while the Hurricane Effects are being felt in Maine. Phones and Internet are out, but repeaters are still in operation. For all other tasks (after 10:00 am), it is presumed that the repeaters will be offline as well, and therefore ham ops on VHF switch to Simplex.The next up is Task #10, which is to relay radiogram traffic via FM Simplex. See the SET Plan for more details. Although the task is intended to relay traffic between County EMAs, we may need inter-county relay stations in place to assist, and also to help coordinate making contact between counties.

It is also during this time period that we can make HF voice radio checks between counties. See Task #11 in the SET Plan. Although it comes up in the exercise after 10am, there is usually plenty of activity on the Maine ARES HF frequency earlier than that.

Task #12 on the SET Plan calls for performing radio checks with nearby counties via FM Simplex. In the log sheet, this is called “contest style,” so have fun with it and make as many contacts as you can. If you get to exchange any traffic during this part of the exercise, its a bonus!

The final task is to perform voice radio checks with hospitals and shelters within our county. This portion of the exercise is very much like what we did during our 2015-2018 SET exercises. We’ll do some further coordination during the SET to determine which shelters we can cover.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Pre-SET Training Drill – Tonight at 7PM!

Continuing our preparation for the upcoming SET, which takes place this Saturday, from 8AM – 12PM, we will be using this opportunity to practice the communications methods that we’ll encounter during the SET.

To start with, we’ll meet on the 147.090 (+ / 100 Hz) repeater at 7PM this evening, for coordination. From there, depending on the capabilities of those who check in, we’ll attempt the following:

VHF (146.580 FM Simplex):

Voice contact via VHF FM Simplex
Exchange NBEMS traffic via VHF Simplex
Exchange Winlink traffic via the Maine Packet Network

HF (28.455 USB for voice):

Voice contact via HF SSB
Exchange Winlink traffic via HF (Ardop, VARA, etc.)

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

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

Pre-SET HF Drill this Thursday from 7PM-8PM

Continuing our preparation for the upcoming SET, this week we’ll be meeting on HF, on 3.940 MHz (+ / – any noise or QRM).

As this will be our first drill exclusively on HF, the purpose will be to find out who can contact each other directly, and to learn more about the characteristics of the band.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Pre-SET Simplex Drill

Pre-SET_Simplex_Drill

To get ready for this year’s Simulated Emergency Test (SET), which takes place Saturday, October 24th, we will be doing some on-air drills to focus on different communications skills.

These include passing radiogram messages and other forms of traffic via FM Simplex, FLDigi, and Winlink.

This week we’ll focus on passing radiograms via FM Simplex, similar to what we did on a few occasions during our Self-Quarantine Simplex Drills in the spring, but with a key difference. I’ll dispatch a few messages to participants during the net, instruct them to be relayed to others that I don’t have direct communications with, and afterwards we’ll check for accuracy.

The drill begins at 7PM Thursday evening on 146.580 FM Simplex.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self-Quarantine Simplex Drill – Net Report 05/28/20

Self_Quarantine_Simplex_Drill_Text

Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated this past Thursday! We had a great turnout with 8 check-ins at 4 different shelter locations. This particular drill focussed on familiarizing participants with the various shelter locations we may be deployed to, and encouraged activations from these locations. There were 4 mobiles, including Net Control, 4 check-ins from home, and 1 portable setup.

The net started on time, at 7:00 PM. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, mobile at Scarborough High School.
We had 8 check-ins:

KB1FGF Dave, mobile at Scarborough High School, Scarborough (2249 UTC)
Contacted 5 stations: KC1HBM, K1MGR, KB1HNZ, KC1MSQ, KC1MSR

N1RXR Eric, mobile at Memorial Elementary School, in New Gloucester (2300 UTC). Contacted 4 stations: KB1HNZ, KC1HBL, K1MGR, KC1HBM

KC1HBM Peter, mobile at South Portland High School and South Portland Community Center (2302 UTC). Contacted 5 stations: KB1FGF, KB1HNZ, K1MGR, KC1MSR, KC1MSQ

KC1MSR Nick, in Gorham (2304 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HBM, KB1FGF, KB1HNZ, K1MGR

KC1MSQ Cole, in Gorham (2305 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HBM, KB1FGF, KB1HNZ, K1MGR

KC1HBL Ben, in Buxton (2307 UTC) I/O

KC1DFO Pete, in Dayton (2308 UTC) I/O

K1MGR Greg, portable at Scarborough High School, in Scarborough (2307 UTC)
Contacted 5 stations: KB1HNZ, KC1MSQ, KB1FGF, KC1MSR, KC1HBM

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self-Quarantine Simplex Drill – 05/28/20

Self_Quarantine_Simplex_Drill_Text

Got the lockdown lows? Dust off your radio and join us this Thursday evening from 7PM – 8PM for the “Self Quarantine Simplex Drill.”

The purpose this week will be to relay ICS-213 messages via 2 Meter FM Simplex, and to determine who can hear each other. If you’re mobile, you’re encouraged to check-in from at or near one of the following shelter locations:

  • 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

For those of you who’ve participated in SET exercises with us, these locations will be familiar. The drill begins at 7PM Thursday evening on 146.580 FM Simplex.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self-Quarantine Simplex Drill – Net Report

Self_Quarantine_Simplex_Drill_Text

Self Quarantine Simplex Drill – Net Report

Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a great turnout and handled 13 messages altogether. Besides giving us an opportunity to practice our traffic handling skills, the exercise helps us to determine who can hear each other, and which ops could serve as key stations during an actual emergency net on simplex.

Congrats to Ben KC1HBL, who contacted 7 stations directly and handled 7 pieces of traffic! Ben is our winner! Our honorable mentions go out to Dan K1DQ, who also contacted 7 stations directly, as well as Charlie W1CPS, Waylon KC1HJN, and Eric KC1HJK, who handled traffic or acted as relays. Great job, everyone! See the net report below:

The net started on time, at 7:00 PM. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco.
We had 14 check-ins:

W1CPS Charlie, in Westbrook (2254 UTC)
Contacted 3 stations: KC1HBM, KC1HJN, & KC1HBL. Traffic handled: 2

KC1HBL Ben, in Buxton (2302 UTC)
Contacted 7 stations: W1CPS, KC1HBM, KC1HJN, KC1HJK, KC1DFO, KC1JMH, & KC1MSR. Traffic handled: 7

KC1HJN Waylon, in Windham (2303 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HJK, W1CPS, KC1HBL, & K1DQ, and could hear: KC1HBM. Traffic handled: 3

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro (2303 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBL & K1DQ. Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough (2305 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1HNZ, K1MGR, KC1MSR, W1CPS, K1DQ & KC1HBL

KC1FRZ Dave, in South Portland (2310 UTC)

KC1HJK Eric, in New Gloucester (2320 UTC)
Contacted 3 stations: K1DQ, KC1HBL, & KC1HJN, and could hear: K1UC, WZ1J & KC1HBM. Traffic handled: 1

K1MGR Greg, in South Portland /mobile (2322 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBM, & KB1HNZ, and could hear: K1DQ, W1CPS, and KC1HBL.

KC1DFO Pete, in Dayton (2335 UTC)

KB1HUU David, in Lyman (2336 UTC)

KC1MSR Nick, in Gorham (2338 UTC)
Contacted 3 stations: W1CPS, KC1HBL, & KB1HNZ.

K1DQ Dan, in Shapleigh (2339 UTC)
Contacted 7 stations: W1CPS, KC1HJN, KC1JMH, KC1HJK, KB1HNZ, KC1HBL & KC1MSR

K1UC Mike, in Portland (2344 UTC)
Contacted5 stations: KB1HNZ, K1DQ, KC1HBL, W1CPS & KC1HBM

WZ1J Steve, in Brunswick (2345 UTC)

 

73′

Tim  KB1HNZ

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