Category Archives: Events

Welcome to 2018

Here we go again, it is a new year, and that means new things to talk about.

Let’s start with what the ARRL has in store. I forwarded an email from the League in late December that essentially said changes are coming to the ARES program in 2018. Details to follow. You now know as much as I do about what those changes are. But, I can make some guesses. First, I would guess that all ARES members are going to be required to take some Incident Command classes. Likely ICS 100 and 200. But since you are a member of PWCARES, and Prince William County already requires us to take not only 100 & 200, but also 700 (NIMS) and 800 (NRF), we are ahead of the game. Prince William County will also require some additional classes this year, and as they tell me what they are (and how we can get them), I will pass them on and include them in our required training regime.

Speaking of training, this year, Prince William County will be having at least one, and possibly three training events. They will focus on Shelter activities, a national event based on a hurricane coming up the Chesapeake Bay, and a full county activation exercise. Again, once things are nailed down, I will pass on the details.

Also, our friends at the Marine Corps Marathon program office are excited with how we performed at the regular events we have supported in the past (Crossroads and Turkey Trot) plus how we stepped up at the Quantico 100 and especially the Triathlon. So excited in fact, that this year, they want us to support the Triathlon & 12K again (August 25), as well as the Run Amuck (June 23), along with the Crossroads (March 24) and Turkey Trot (November 17). The dates will be added to the calendar. There is no Quantico 100 scheduled for this year as it was a one-time thing. They have also asked for our help in the Historic Half marathon that happens in Fredericksburg. As it is outside the PWCARES area, I have politely declined, but the ARES team down there may need some help. Also, the Big Event, the Marathon, is on October 28 and all the help they can get is appreciated.

Finally, what do you want to focus on this year? Some topics have been flying around the Slack channel, and they include APRS, Wire Antennas in EmComm, and HF operations for EmComm. Also, coming up in June, Field Day 2018! An opportunity for us to show our stuff. It has been a decade since our last field day. Maybe we can start a tradition!

Our first meeting of the year is Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 0900 at the EOC. We will discuss the Action Plan (as we always do), review the new EOC layout, and hopefully get a chance to see the new WebEOC. I encouraged everyone to come out, meet your fellow ARES members, and contribute to this year’s event calendar.

See you then!

The Heritage Hunt Update

By Tim Tatum, K6SLK, liaison to Heritage Hunt

This is the latest update from Heritage Hunt:

1. We have formed a club with a constitution, bylaws, officers, dues and whatever. We meet the the third Tuesday of every month except December (7:00 pm, Garden Room, Marsh Mansion — three story white building 1 1/2 miles inside the gate). We just received our club call — WA4HH.

2. We continue to run a 2 meter simplex net every Saturday morning at 9:00 am, 146.475. We are using the new club call for running the net. I am usually the net control guy. Steve, KI4SA, is my substitute and also the club president.

3. We have added quite a few new hams to our roster. Not all are formal members of the new club but we are working on them. A copy of the roster is attached. It may surprise you to know that we have 32 hams on the roster, four of them live near but not in Heritage Hunt.

4. We will be participating in Field Day(our second time). It will be in the same location. You and anyone else that is part of your group are invited. We will be running 3 HF stations and possibly a 2 meter SSB station. We had great fun last year.

5. Last November we participated with the Emergency Preparedness Committee in running an exercise. We used digital over 2 meter simplex for the first time. Some of our operators were using digital for the first time. Although there were a few small bumps in the road, we were pleased with the result. The committee was happy enough that they just purchased four SignaLink interfaces to go with our FT-8800 radios. My thinking has always been that any of your ARES hams in an emergency could use any of our radios and feel right at home. We will be running another exercise in the fall but no date has been set.

6. Although it is a small challenge to get our hams to venture outside the gate, please feel free to call on us if you are short on hams to support an event. Keep in mind that you are always welcome to come our way for an ARES training event. Give us some advance notice so we can reserve a room.

That is about all the news that is fit to print. Thank you for all you do for this community and for the county.

Turkey Trot 2016

Turkey Trot participants
Turkey Trot participants

On Saturday, November 19, 2016, PWCARES again supported the Marine Corps Marathon program office at the annual running of the Turkey Trot at the Quantico Marine base. On this occasion, we did not gather until 0630, which gave folks a chance to rest and gave David, KG4GIY, several extra minutes to return home for his radio, and then the handouts. By 0700, a dozen members of the cadre were out on the course ready for the race to begin. The race officially kicked off at 0850 and the first runner was back shortly before 0940.

David, KG4GIY and Spenc, KG4GFW
David, KG4GIY and Spenc, KG4GFW

What went right? We learned that the right gear will get you good coverage, even in the deepest of holes. Good mentoring session for new Amateur Phong, KM4PRX who joined us from Fairfax CERT.

What can we do better? One suggestion was to move a cross band antenna/radio near where mile 1 was located as K3FBI was just not receptive enough for HTs. More work at Quantico needs to be done as the Marines will let us.

A good time was had by all in the nice (mid 60s) weather. Thanks to Andy, KJ4MTP for the pictures.

Turkey Trot Mile 1, EMS staging
Turkey Trot Mile 1, EMS staging

Thanks to: Richard Spencer, KG4GFW (PIO), Ray Hutt, AA4SI, Andy Gamponia, KJ4MTP, Greg Gresham, KM4CCG, Mary Moon, KK4GOW, Phong Nguyen, KM4PRX, Tony Ohe, KM4KLB, Bill Payne, K5AE, Ben Piper, KM4CCF, Mark Redlinger, W3SR, Rick Shannon, KJ4ZIH, Leslie Touart, NW4O for their participation.

2016 SET After Action

Set After Action

Radios up and runningOn Saturday, October 1, 2016, PWCARES participated in the ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET). The objective of this year’s exercise:

Objectives:
* To provide a public demonstration to served agencies and through the news media of the value of Amateur Radio in times of need.
* To provide training and experience in communication under simulated emergency conditions.
* To provide a framework allowing all District Emergency Coordinators, Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers to evaluate how well they are performing.

Chuck, KA3EHL running the radio room
Chuck, KA3EHL running the radio room

The scenario: A line of powerful thunderstorms, spawned by a hurricane, is approaching the state from the southwest. Strong winds, flood producing rains, damaging hail & lightning have paralyzed most of the counties in your district. Wind speeds exceeded 85 MPH and have produced many downed-trees causing power lines to fail. Estimates are between 85% and 90% of homes are without power. Many roads are impassable due to flash-flooding, tree debris, and downed-power lines. Communications has suffered greatly as well. Downed utilities, power outages, and failed back-ups have crippled normal communications. Amateur Radio operators have not gone unscathed. Repeaters without back-up power are no longer operational.

Derek, KV4SH, waiting for traffic
Derek, KV4SH, waiting for traffic

This gave us an opportunity to practice traffic handling and interact with both HF and digital networks. It also gave us the opportunity to practice with the ICS forms, especially the ICS–213 message form and the ICS–214 unit log.

What worked:

  • No problem checking into the HF SSB net. Good comms with only 10 watts on battery power. Many check ins, but didn’t hear them passing any message traffic. Was also able to copy PSK31 on 7050 KHz.
  • Several EOCs from other counties (W4COV and AD4TJ) then used VDEM frequencies, digital modes and waterfall to perform antenna checks, software checks and other tasks.
  • PWCARES VHF1 (simplex) worked well for passing traffic into and out of the EOC but verbal messages are slow. Effective but slow.
  • Numerous messages were sent successfully by voice

Some issues:

  • Appears that the HF net was really only check-in. There was no formal message traffic passed. While the net-control was able to hear and speak to most all districts and conducted a professional level as net control. The main thrust of the exercise seemed to be to verify that all counties could be reached via HF
  • Some Counties used FLMSG for ICS traffic. Others used WordPad to create and pass exercise traffic. When FLMSG was used, W4COV (not VDEM) asked me to stop and use WordPad instead
  • After the initial 40m check in, VDEM Digital NCS (N1XP) left the net and remained offline for the entire exercise. Nothing heard on 80m. 40m was open throughout the exercise
  • VDEM should set a single procedure for passing ICS traffic—FLMSG or WordPad
  • VDEM should maintain a digital NCS throughout an exercise.
  • Need to improve FLDIGI support at the EOC
David, KG4GIY running the SimCell
David, KG4GIY running the SimCell

In all, the exercise was a success from the PWCARES perspective, although I would say it was less than successful from a section level. Because they did not pass traffic, there was no indication of how the traffic would flow or if the net would be able to handle it. Traffic sent to the section from PWCARES was not transferred.

Thanks to the cadre for their participation and to Andy, KJ4MTP, for the photos.

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

Overview


Participants

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

Return to Summary


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


Results

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

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

Return to Summary


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

Return to Summary


Simplex

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

Overview

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.

Equipment

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.


Maps

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.

Welcome to 2016!

Welcome to the New Year!

Summary

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.

SET

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.

Operation Summer Deluge

Operation_Summer_Deluge_20150811_CotsOn Tuesday, August 11, PWCARES participated in Operation Summer Deluge, a full scale shelter exercise at Freedom High School in Prince William County.

The scenario:

On August 10, 2015, the remnants of a tropical storm struck Prince William County, Virginia. The storm caused an average of five to seven inches of torrential rainfall per hour overnight, causing ground saturation and flooding. Given the expected rainfall in the next 24 hours, there exists significant probability that an overtoping event at Lake Montclair Dam will occur, which could destroy at least a dozen home and displace households withing the inundation zone. The Director of Emergency Management has authorized the opening of a shelter with an anticipated need to shelter two hundred individuals.

An overtoping is EM speak for water will overflow the dam, and that is a bad thing.Operation_Summer_Deluge_20150811_antenna

There were numerous objectives, but for PWCARES, our objectives were straight forward:

  • Evaluate the shelter for radio opartions
  • Get traffic from the shelter to the EOC (and back)
  • Demonstrate BBHN for use in a shelter in the event of Internet interuptions

The exercise was for both a human shelter and a pet shelter, just in time training, and to practice shift change, starting at 0900 and ending at 1500.

PWCARES had the following operators:

  • ECIC: David, KG4GIY
  • First Shift: Chuck, KA3EHL and Mary, KK4GOW at the shelter. Keith, KM4AA and Ric, KJ4ZIH at the EOC
  • Second Shift: Zach, K4RSU and Spenc, KG4GFW at the shelter. John, KG4LAA and Jeff, WB6UIE at the EOC
  • BBHN: Clarence, K4CNM and Terry, WA5NTI

We used ICS-213 as our message template and ICS-214 as our unit log.

What went right:

  • We got a signal out of the shelter site using an antenna and a cross-band radio
  • We practiced sending traffic
  • We practiced a shift change, which is not something we have done
  • We got a view of the shelter operation process
  • We got to demonstrate BBHN
  • We gained valuable exposure for our skill and professionalism

What we need to work on:Operation_Summer_Deluge_20150811_registration

  • CSALTT: We need to make sure our messages contain Capability, Size, Amount, Location, FEMA Type, Time needed
  • We need to practice sending messages via voice
  • We need to work on our digital set ups. While we did not do one for this exercise, we probably could have
  • We need to work on our handwriting. Many of our forms have to be read by others. Some options suggested include a portable printer at each site to print off messages.

It was a good exercise, with lots of opportunities to practice. A success in all people’s eyes.