July Training After Action Report

On Saturday, July 16, 2016, PWCARES conducted our regular training outside at the Prince William County government facility. During this training we did two things:

  • Learned how to remotely control a station using TeamViewer[1], remote control software
  • Practice digital communications with FLDIGI

Remote Control

Chuck, KA3EHL, demonstrated how to remotely control a radio. The use case for this is in case we have to use HF, but we cannot run wires. For example, at the EOC, where the building has to remain secure. There are two parts to the system.

Chuck working the remote station
Chuck working the remote station


The first part is the remote system, a laptop running Windows and the TeamViewer software. The second part is the host station, connected to the HF radio, running TeamViewer software, and additional digtial software and radio control softwere. Chuck’s radio, an IC–7200,[2] comes with control software, but you could easily use FLRIG if your radio supports it. Chuck demonstrated sending a message with FLDigi, set to the Olivia[3] transmission protocol.

The HF host machine and HF rig
The HF host machine and HF rig


This is possible by setting up a BBHN[4] mesh network. TeamViewer needs a network connection, whether that connection is a Local Area Network (LAN), an Internet connection or a BBHN mesh connection. Chuck had flashed two Linksys routers with the BBHN software and connected each laptop to the router. Each router was powered by its own battery, but could be powered by commercial mains if available. He then sent a message which was received and responded to by Larry, K0LB, and was also seen at Tom, W4PIO’s station on the other end of the field.

Tom, W4PIO, working HF
Tom, W4PIO, working HF


Chuck’s full presentation is posted to the PWCARES website in Operating Procedures[5].

Digital Exercise

The second part of the exercise was the sending and receiving of messages using FLDigi. This exercise utilized the standard setup for FLDigi in a VHF environment[6]. We had a couple of team members operating from their home station as well as some in the field. There was a combination of radios and laptops and as we have discovered in the past, just bcause it worked yesterday, it may not work today. Each problem was worked through as it came up, and some problems will require a bit more research.

Members of PWCARES getting ready for the next exercise (Photo: A. Lenhart
Members of PWCARES getting ready for the next exercise (Photo: A. Lenhart)


Thanks to those who came out and those who partcipated from home.

  1. You can use TeamViewer for non-commercial purposes for no charge.  ↩
  2. Details about the IC–7200.  ↩
  3. Details about the Oliva protocol from Wikipedia.  ↩
  4. Details about broadband-hamnet  ↩
  5. A quick link to Chuck’s presentation.  ↩
  6. As detailed in Section 6.11 of the PWCARES Action Plan.  ↩

July 2016 Exercise

Prince William County ARES July 2016 Exercise

Version: 20160713–01 v1


Because of the high temperatures expected, we will move the beginning of the exercise back to 0830 EDT .

If you are not coming out, but are going to be around during our training hours, please feel free to jump on the air and participate as well, either by voice or digital means.

I will bring out a couple of pavilions for shade (and so you can see the monitors) and I will bring out a large video screen as well. Tables, chairs, and gear as I have room.

We will be conducting a multi-pronged exercise.

  • There will be a demonstration of remote control of an HF station by Chuck, KA3EHL
  • There will be a demonstration (and hopefully some traffic passing) of HF digital
  • We will again exercise VHF digital
  • We will practice sending and receiving voice traffic

Remote HF

Chuck, KA3EHL will demonstrate remote control of an HF station, using BBHN. This should be quite interesting!

HF Digital

As part of the demonstration of remote control, we will do some HF digital work. Coordination and details of the HF digital part of the exercise will be hashed out over the next couple of days with the parties who have volunteered.

VHF Digital

We will follow our normal plan of operations for VHF digital (see the Action Plan, section 6.11 for details). This is a good chance to come out and get your gear working, configure your gear, or find out more about digital.

Please make sure you have the FLDigi software loaded prior to coming out, as we will not have reliable Internet connectivity.

Voice work

Please bring a sample ICS–213 form as we will do some voice message traffic work as well!

You Always Learn Something

The weekend of June 25 – 26, 2016 was Field Day, an opportunity to get on the air, test out some gear and generally have a good time operating. While many Amateurs were busy with Field Day, a small group of PWCARES members were participating in Operation United Resolve, a national communications exercise. The scenario was:

A series of catastrophic events across the United States has occurred. California has been hit by a massive earthquake causing extensive damage as well releasing a tsunami which has hit Alaska causing damage there, the central states experienced a derecho wind storm that caused extensive damage to the power distribution system, and at the same time a F5 hurricane travelled up the eastern seacoast flooding coastal areas. Additionally with these natural occurrences, various areas of the country are experiencing sporadic power outages of varying durations and fluctuations of unknown origin.

Many Governors state that their emergency management resources are overstretched and are asking neighboring states for assistance. As part of the recovery effort, SDFs across the US are mobilizing to assist their state Air/Army National Guards as they are called to active duty. Establishing reliable communications is a part of that effort and is the first step in determining who can communicate and what their local operating status is.

While a bit unrealistic, any one of these events could lead to a national call up of resources and strain the system.

The bad news is that the exercise never really seemed to get off the ground, at least as far as we could tell from our listening post at PWCARES headquarters.

The good news is that, even from this small, non-exercise, things were learned.

  • HF is hard : Perhaps it is better to say, if you do not do it a lot, HF can be challenging. The first thing we learned is that gear left in storage can, and does go bad. Or at least it seems like it does. Brian, WC4J, brought his IC–756ProII out to use and for a few, tense moments, we thought we were not going to be able to see it because the backlight did not seem to work. It did eventually, but there is a long track record of the backlights failing on that model.
  • Keep your gear together : It was a good thing Brian brought his rig, because David, KG4GIY could not find the tuner for his IC–706MKIIG (it did eventually turn up late on Saturday but only after a small excavation of half the house). This is not just for HF and tuners, but all those necessary cables, jumpers, and sources of power.
  • The higher the better : Putting up antennas is an art. Especially when you do not have all the height you might want. As we discovered hanging David’s G5RV Jr, even though the oak trees were high, getting the cables over the right branches to pull the antenna up was as much of a challenge as where to tie off the legs. Still, it was high enough that we could talk to others, and hear as well.
  • Sunspots matter : When all is said and done, if the sun is in a low activity pattern, the bands are not going to behave. As we have learned, we are in a real trough of solar activity and things are likely to continue this way for a while.

Despite only hearing two calls on the frequency we were instructed to monitor, and neither one of them requiring us to call back, we had a good exercise and everyone learned something useful.

My thanks to Brian, WC4J; Mary, KK4GOW; Derek, KV4SH; and Jack for coming out and exercising, and Jeff, WB6UIE; who was remote but proved we were getting a signal out.

Prince William County ARES March 2016 Exercise Results



  • David, KG4GIY
  • Brian, W4CJ
  • Ray, AA4SI
  • Mark, W4IAD
  • Clarence, K4CNM
  • Steve, KM4KWZ
  • Bill, K5AE
  • Mark, W3SR
  • Larry, K4MLA
  • Richard, KG4GFW
  • Zach, K4RSU

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Operational Parameters

We will be testing the K3FBI repeater at 147.345+ PL 167.9, the Woodbridge machine at 147.240+ PL 107.2, and simplex at 147.525, the normal ARES operational frequency. Please ensure each of these frequencies and their PL tones are in your radio to make net changes efficient.

Each operator will be asked to take up station at one of the parking lots or crossroads as indicated on the check sheet which will be provided on Saturday morning along with a copy of the map. We will then systematically check that we can hear each other at each location around the park in each mode. You will likely want to have a pen and paper with you.

Return to Summary


Thanks to those who came out and to the K3FBI repeater association and Woodbridge Wireless. The weather was overcast, the trees were mostly bare. Operators set up at the Start/Stop location, parking lots C through I, Burma Road/Scenic Drive and Oak Ridge/Scenic Drive.

Start/Stop, Lot C, and Oak Ridge utilized 1/2 wave or greater antennas, most on tripods. The rest used some form of vehicle mounted antenna. Radios were primarily mobile radios running at 50 watts. In one case, while running Simplex, Burma Road utilized an HT at 8 watts, with a small mag-mount.

The test was to evaluate the performance of two repeaters (K3FBI, WWI) and simplex for use in the passing of messages for the Marine Corps Marathon Crossroads 17.75 race, to be held April 2, 2016 in the Forest. We know that the Forest presents unique challenges for radio communications and we needed to ensure that options were available come the event day.

General Results

In all, both machines and simplex worked acceptably, with varying results of good, while simplex seemed to work the best over all. In general, the K3FBI machine performed better than the WWI machine, as expected.

Specific Results

Despite being pointed out prior to the event, we had some issues with PL tones not being pre-programmed. This resulted in negative connections. There is also one indication of location deafness which may be a machine issue, a location issue, or both between Lot I and the K3FBI machine. We also experienced difficulties communicating between Lot I and Lot G, despite there being no issues communicating between Lot I and Lot H and Lot G and Lot H. Further investigation into the geography, topology, and geology between these locations will need to be undertaken.


Start/Stop was running a mobile with a full wave antenna on a tripod. In all situations, the signal between Start/Stop and other locations was solid with this set up on all machines and simplex.

Lot C

Lot C was also running a full wave antenna on a short tripod with a mobile. There were some poor signal reports on the K3FBI machine and the WWI machine. This is likely the result of topology. Simplex resulted in a good, strong signal.

Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge was also using a full wave antenna and mobile on a short tripod. Results were mixed. Reports against K3FBI were mostly strong, while against WWI, they were weak to no response, likely because of PL. Simplex was also strong.

Return to Summary

K3FBI Grid

Note (R) meant the signal was heard on the reverse, not the repeater. In one case, due to PL, in the other case, location and possibly an issues with the repeater.

K3FBI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 4 4 3 3 5 5 5 0 3
Lot C 3 X 4 5 5 5 5 4 0 3
Lot D 3 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 0 5
Lot E 3 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 0 5
Burma 5 5 3 4 X 5 5 5 0 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 5 0 5
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 0 5
Lot G 0 0 0 0 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) X 5 1 (R)
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 X 5
Lot I 2 2 0 0 1 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) X

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WWI Grid

Note Initially Oak Ridge did not have the right PL configured. It was fixed. In general, the reception on the WWI machine was not as good as it was on the K3FBI machine.

WWI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
Lot C 3 X 5 3 3 4 5 4 4 3
Lot D 3 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 5 3
Lot E 3 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 4 4
Burma 5 5 3 4 X 5 5 4 5 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 4 4
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 4 5
Lot G 4 3 4 4 5 5 5 X 5 4
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 X 5
Lot I 2 2 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 X

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WWI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
Lot C 5 X 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 3
Lot D 4 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 4 5
Lot E 5 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 5 4
Burma 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 4 5 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 5 4
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 5 5
Lot G 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 3
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 X 5
Lot I 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 X

Return to Summary

March 2016 Exercise

Prince William County ARES March 2016 Exercise

Version: 20160318–01 v1


The March PWCARES training will be a communications check in preparation for the MCM Crossroads 17.75 run on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Rally Point

We will meet at the Visitor’s Center of the Prince William Forest Park parking lot (to the left as you approach the Visitor’s Center) at 0930. There is no need to pay the visitors fee for the duration of this exercise. We will do assignments and deploy from there.


This is a mobile exercise, and depending on your location, you will want all 50 watts.

Operational Parameters

We will be testing the K3FBI repeater at 147.345+ PL 167.9, the Woodbridge machine at 147.240+ PL 107.2, and simplex at 147.525, the normal ARES operational frequency. Please ensure each of these frequencies and their PL tones are in your radio to make net changes efficient.

Each operator will be asked to take up station at one of the parking lots or crossroads as indicated on the check sheet which will be provided on Saturday morning along with a copy of the map. We will then systematically check that we can hear each other at each location around the park in each mode. You will likely want to have a pen and paper with you.


17.75 Crossroads Map

Crossroad Map

Prince William Forest Map

PWForest Map

Return to Summary

Air Force & Army MARS COMEX

Air Force & Army MARS COMEX

By: Clarence, K4CNM – (AAA3R3, Army MARS Region Three Operations Officer)

The Air Force and Army MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) will conduct their first 2016 communications exercise (COMEX) from 7:00 am until 6:59 pm EST on Friday, 12 February. The scenario will be: there is no power, no phones (cell or landline), and no internet. Also, internet linked radio repeaters (such as D-Star) should not be used. One of the objectives of this COMEX is to reach as many counties and cities within the entire country as possible. It is expected that sometime during the second hour (8–9 am), a request will come down asking MARS stations to contact hams for a local conditions report. That request will probably have a deadline of around eight hours (and certainly be due a couple of hours before End of Exercise – ENDEX). Prior contact and pre-arranged schedules between MARS stations and hams is permitted and encouraged.

MARS stations will be instructed to collect the data from hams via radio only – using any FCC authorized amateur frequency and/or mode – and prepare the report that will be consolidated within the region and then sent back up the line. Note: In order not to unduly excite those who are not aware of the COMEX, only real information should be reported. Following is a list the items (with possible conditions) that will be requested:

  • Power: Fully functional, brownout, rolling or partial blackouts, complete outage
  • Water: Full service, service in parts of county only, contaminated, no service
  • Sanitation: Fully functional, service in parts of county only, no service
  • Medical facilities: Fully functional, partial service due to facilities, partial service due to personnel, facilities max’ed out, none available due loss of personnel or infrastructure
  • Communications: Fully functional, partial service, no service
  • Transportation: Fully functional, service in parts of county only, no service

Unless there is something actually going on, report everything as fully functional. The condition of one or more of these might not be known, that’s okay, report what is known; reports from other hams may fill in the missing data. Hams can report on any county or city that they have first-hand knowledge of.

MARS Region Three is the same as FEMA’s Region Three and includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. According to the FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) code list there are 245 counties and 42 independent cities within our region. Virginia has 95 of those counties and all but one of the cities.

More information about the Army MARS program is available.

All Amateurs are encouraged to forward this to other groups and clubs that you are a member of and to any of your ham buddies that might be interested. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Preparing for an Emergency

On Saturday, January 16, 2016, PWCARES had their normal training where we discussed preparing for all emergencies. This discussion was generated from this new reference page, which will now be found at Preparing for and Emergency and has its own tab. The slides from the presentation are available at Haiku Deck. Updates will be added as needed or relevant. Please send any corrections or updates to the Emergency Coordinator.


Personal Preparedness

Routine things to think about

  • Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in a password-protected area, either in a shared storage location or a secure flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available. This flash drive can be kept on a key ring so it can be accessed from any computer, anytime, anywhere. Remember important documents, such as:
    • Personal and property insurance
    • Identification: Driver’s license/passport (for family members, as well)
    • Banking information
    • Don’t forget your pets!
      • Store your pet’s veterinary medical records documents online.
      • Consider an information digital implant.
      • Keep a current photo of your pet in your online kit to aid in identification if you are separated.
  • Program “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.
  • Do you take maintenance medicines
    • What happens if you cannot get them
    • Do you know what they are
    • Do you have a list of them with you
  • Create a communications plan
    • Contact numbers and addresses
    • Alternate meeting places
    • Alternate means of communications
      • Text
      • Social media
      • Amateur Radio
  • Shelter in place or Evacuate
    • What is your decision tree?
      • How do you decide it is time to go?
    • What do you need to shelter in place?
    • What do you need to evacuate?
      • Transportation?
      • Road conditions?
      • Weather conditions?
  • Consider a Personal Emergency Kit
  • Personal hygiene
    * Toothbrush
    * Wet wipes
    * Hand sanitizer

    • Whistle on key ring

Things you might not think about

  • The best thing you can do to prepare is be in good physical and mental shape
  • If you own a cell phone, keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of a phone service disruption
  • If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power
  • What happens when your commute does not go as planned?
    • Options?
    • How do you get home if your travel system breaks down?
    • Can you walk out if you have to?
  • What happens if a disaster happens at work?
    • Active shooter
    • Long-term shelter in place
  • Go bag should weigh no more than 1/4 your body weight

Return to Summary

Family Preparedness

Routine things to think about

  • When did you last exercise your plan?
  • When did you last update your plan?
  • Create/Update your communications plan
    • Contact numbers and addresses
    • Alternate meeting places
    • Alternate means of communications
      • Text
      • Social media
      • Amateur Radio
  • Family first-aid kit
  • Shelter in place or Evacuate
    • What is your decision tree?
      • How do you decide it is time to go?
    • What do you need to shelter in place?
    • What do you need to evacuate?
      • What are you going to take with you?
      • What are you going to put it in?
      • Traffic?
      • Road conditions?
      • Weather conditions?

Things you might not think about

  • How will you be warned of an emergency
  • What would you do for shelter?
  • Can you treat the water?
    • Bleach
    • Pills
    • Filter systems
  • Has everyone in the family taken a first aid course lately? CPR?
  • Go bag should weigh no more than 1/4 your body weight.

Return to Summary

Preparing to Deploy

Routine things to think about

  • Do not self-deploy
  • Is your family safe?
  • Point the media to the PIO/JIC/Leadership team
  • Are your batteries charged?
  • Do you have a manual for your radio(s)
  • Do you know where you are going?
  • Do you know who to check in with?

Things you might not thing about

  • Are you prepared to be deployed longer than expected?
  • Are you ready to be flexible?
  • Do you have something to write on?
  • Do you have something to read?

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Weather issues

  • Snow
    • Make sure to add additional blankets
    • Are you tires ready for winter?
    • Is your car ready
      • Antifreeze
      • Windshield washer fluid
      • Temperature appropriate oil
      • Chains where appropriate/required
  • Severe cold
    • Similar to snow
    • Block heater where appropriate
    • Follow your user’s manual for proper low temperature operations
  • Floods: Turn around, don’t drown
  • Severe weather
    • Lightning
      • Do not seek shelter under a tree
      • Disconnect all radios and move them away from the antenna line(s)
    • Tornado
      • Do not seeks shelter under an overpass
    • Hurricane
      • Pay attention to warnings
      • Flooding and tornados are likely

Return to Summary

Make a Plan

Return to Summary

The Emergency Kit

Your kit should be sufficient to sustain you, your family, and your pet, for at least 72 hours, either sheltered in place, or in case of an evacuation. You kit should include, water, food, and other supplies you will need. Remember that in the event of a large scale emergency, routine resources such as electricity, water, and sewer may also be cut off, so your kit should include resource to compensate for this.

There are a number of ways to build or buy an emergency kit. A simple web search will show you a number of pre-made kits, complete with carrying devices, for anywhere from $40 to over $500. Even if you decide to buy one, consider what you need in your kit before you rush out to purchase one.

Personal Emergency Kit

There are several different personal emergency kits you could make and carry with you. Some fit in a small tin, other in a larger personal pouch. In most cases, your personal kit is not likely to pass muster with TSA unless you remove certain objects.

SAS personal kit

  • Tin to store it in
  • Matches
  • Candle
  • Flint
  • Magnifying glass
  • Needle and thread
  • Fish hook and line
  • Compass
  • “Beta” light (tritium)
  • Snare wire
  • Flexible saw
  • Medical kit
    • analgesic
    • antibiotic
    • intestinal sedative
    • water sterilizing tablets
    • anti-malaria tablets
    • potassium permanganate
  • Surgical blades
  • Butterfly sutures
  • Band-aids
  • Condom (non-lubricated)

Pouch sized ekit

  • Milti-tool
  • Flashlight
  • Mini-pry bar
  • Whistle
  • Smoke mask
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • EMT shears
  • Cord
  • Pouch to put it all in

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Suggested Foods

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants/pets
  • Comfort/stress foods (a bag of Doritos goes a long way to making you feel better)

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Suggestions for Water

You should store at least one gallon of water per person for three days. A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.

To determine your water needs, take the following into account:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
  • Do not forget extra water for your pets

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Suggested Supplies

This list is not all encompassing and should be amended and supplemented as needed. For example, if you have a pet, you may want to add a grooming brush or favorite chew toy.

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container, flash drive, or stored in the Internet.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from Ready.gov
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container (and a striker!)
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for yourself, and your children
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Return to Summary

Suggestions for the Radio Kit

  • Identification
  • Photo ID (driver’s license)
    • Copy of FCC license
    • Other ID and paperwork(Emergency management ID, health insurance, medicine list, next of kin)
  • A radio
    • At least a 5W dual-band HT
    • Charged batteries or charger
    • A (well read) copy of the manual (Paper or electronic)
  • A spare antenna and coax
    • J-pole
    • Magnetic mount
  • Headset/external mic
  • PWCARES Quick Reference Guide
  • ICS forms & Notebook
  • Personal Medications
    • Your favorite pain reliever
    • “Sucky things” (lifesavers, throat lozenges)
    • Allergy medicine
    • Other basic meds (pain relievers etc)
    • Sunscreen
    • lip balm
    • Appropriate Clothing and Footwear and Hat
    • Food, water, snacks
  • Money
  • Extra power (deep cycle batteries, solar, generator)
  • Connectors
  • Supplemental reference material
  • Tool kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Work gloves/latex gloves
  • Collapsable chair
  • Collapsible table
  • Change of clothes
  • Clock/Wrist watch
  • Extension cords (power and signal)
  • Sweater/Sweatshirt
  • Blanket
  • Downtime entertainment
  • Supplemental lights
  • Non-flammable flairs
  • Toiletries
  • Clean underwear
  • Shelter

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Seasonal issues

  • Summer Preparations

    • Additional water
    • Sunscreen
    • Hat
    • Light weight, light colour clothes
    • Bug spray
    • Tarp and rope to provide extra shelter
  • Winter Preparations

    • Winter Hat (watch cap/beanie)
    • Gloves
    • Second change of clothes
    • Wool socks
    • Wool sweaters
    • Specialized winter clothing
    • Additional blankets

Return to Summary


Return to Summary

Welcome to 2016!

Welcome to the New Year!


Every indication is that 2016 is going to be a busy year. Starting off with a bang, the weather. As we go into 2016, we are already dealing with record warm temperatures caused by our friend El Nino. According to most sources, this is not likely to let up in 2016 and has been called a Godzilla event. The predictions for warmer, wetter weather in the Northeast are already up, as well as predicitions for heavy rains and mudslides in California. In between, who knows what will happen. There is already heavy flooding in the midwest, especially along the Mississippi which we do not normally see until spring. So already, 2016 is going to be a year of some unpredictability. Which brings me to the first topic: Are you, and your family, prepared?

Preparations for 2016

Take a moment and ask yourself: If I were to lose my house, right now, would I be able to:

  • Survive for the next 48–96 hours?
  • Care for my family?
  • Prove I owned it?
    • Be able to fill in the insurance paperwork to get the money for the things I lost?
  • Do you have copies of all the important documents, such as:
    • Passports
    • Driver’s License
    • Marriage/Divorce paperwork
    • Bank paperwork
  • Other things that might be critical?

There are a number of things that could put you in the situation where you cannot get to your critcal paperwork. Do you have copies of it in a secure location (or several secure locations?). Make photocopies and send them to trusted releatives (or friends), get a safe deposit box, make copies and carry them on your phone, or put them in some off-line storage. These are just some of the suggestions.

Can you survive for 48–96 hours? Food? Water? Generator? Batteries? What do you need to survive. And do not forget your pets. Last winter there were several cities that had power outages for extended periods of time. Clearly staying in the house was not an option and many went to hotels. Do you know the nearest pet friendly hotel? An all-hazards aproach to preparation is best, but it means you have to sit down and take a look at what you have and what you would need. For additional information, please visit the FEMA READY website.

And of course, it is winter, so make sure you have some additional supplies, just in case:

  • Blanket
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow shovel
  • Kitty litter

We will cover this and more as part of the Workshop at the January meeting. Saturday, January 16, 2016 @ 0900 @ EOC

2016 Training

The Training link has been updated for 2016. More information will be added as events are confirmed and finalized. But if you are curious, here are some of the PWCARES specifc training plans for this year.

Date Location Event
16 Jan EOC Training: * Review 2015 * Look ahead to 2016 * Field Day 2016 * Action Plan review * Prepare for 2016 workshop
19 Mar EOC Training: TBD
2 Apr Prince Wiliam Forest Park MCM Crossroads 17.75K
21 May EOC Training: Digital/Traffic in the field
25/26 June TBD Field Day 2016
16 July EOC Training: Digital/Traffic in the field
17 Sept EOC Training: TBD
Oct Virginia Section wide Simulated Emergency Test (est)
30 Oct DC et al Marine Corps Marathon
19 Nov EOC/MCB Quantico Training: MCM Turkey Trot

Field Day 2016

The last time PWCARES participated in Field Day was 2008, and you can see the video here if you are interested to see what we did. It does not have to be a large operation, but it would be nice to put on a demonstration. If you would be interested in heading up the effort, please contact David, KG4GIY.


Every October, the ARRL conducts a simulated emergency test (SET). Traditionally, the SET for Northern Virginia has been the Marine Corps Marathon, an event that requires over 150 operators. This year, our new Section Manager wants to do a section wide SET. And of course, the Marine Corps will still be hosting their marathon, and they will still need operators. The specifics of the exercise have not been released but once they are, they will be communicated to the cadre so you can balance your participation in the SET and the Marine Corps Marathon.

Other MCM Events

Two MCM events, the Crossroads 17.75K and the Turkey Trot are held in Prince William County every year. This year the Crossroads 17.75 will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in the Prince William County Forest. We usually need about 20 operators for this event and a sign-up link will be sent once the Program Office provides it.

The Turkey Trot is normally the third Saturday of November, this year, Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Marine Corps Base Quantico. This is a good introdcutory event. We use about a dozen operators for this event. Details will be provided as we get closer to November.

And there we have it. It is already a busy year for us and more events will be added as the year progresses. For example, there has been a discussion about doing a county-wide exercise, but there are no details availble yet.

As always, if you have questions, issues, or things you would like to talk about, please contact David, KG4GIY.

Good-bye 2015

Where did the year go? No, really? What happened to 2015? It will go down as being warm. Thank you El Nino for providing us with one of the warmest Christmases on record. It was quiet, from a hurrican perspective in the Atlantic basin. Again, thank you El Nino. It was, weatherwise, a very calm year.

It was also a quiet year event wise. Prince William County ARES participated on one exercise, Operation Summer Deluge and a couple of Marine Corps runs providing safety and security on the course. We will be doing it again in 2016.

We have had a couple of quiet years. It has been nice. We have added new members, and focused on beefing up our digital activities. We will move on in 2016 to increasing our use of digital systems and work with Prince William County to integrate with their systems as best we can.

Our goals for 2016?

  • Practice, practice, practice. There is never enough time to practice.
  • Traffic handling. We need to practice traffic handling, both voice and digital. Again, we never practice this enough.
  • BBHN. I am looking forward to seeing what BBHN can do to improve our digital connectivity.
  • HF Digital. I would like us to work on our HF skills, and HF digital is an increasingly popular way to do that.
  • MCM support. We will again be supporting the Marine Corps Marathon program office at the Crossroads 17.75 and Turkey Trot directly as well as the Marine Corps Marathon indirectly.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Did I mention we will be doing lots of practice?

Want to get more invovled? Our next meeting is Saturday, January 16, 2016, at 0900 at the Prince William County EOC, 3 County Complex, Prince William, VA. Hope to see you there.