Emergency Radio Club of Reno County
Hutchinson, Kansas

Home Up SET Report
 

Reno County SET Exercise

September 29th 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
September 30th 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

 

 

Purpose:           To test the ability of the Emergency Radio Club of Reno County (ERCRC) to provide emergency communications from the county to other areas of the country. This should be accomplished using Amateur Radio HF and/or VHF frequencies with the assistance of members of the Reno County Kansas Amateur Radio Association.  

Scope:              This exercise will be limited to the Emergency Radio Club of Reno County (ERCRC and the Reno County Amateur Radio Association (RCKARA) in cooperation with Reno County Emergency Management. This will be a functional exercise consisting of a 12-hour operational period, followed by a 12-hour break, followed again by a 6-hour operational period. This exercise will be carried out in a field setting using emergency power and procedures. 

Objectives:       This exercise will test: 

o       The ability of the ERCRC to establish a stand-alone station off of the main power grid on short notice.

o       The ability of the ERCRC to staff and operate a station under emergency conditions for extended periods of time with heavy traffic volumes.

o       The ability of the ERCRC to establish an operator’s schedule on the fly.

o       The operator’s ability to operate HF under contest conditions in addition to emergency conditions.

o       The ability of the ERCRC members to report from mobile/portable locations with tactical traffic and the ability to follow written directions.

 Specific Objectives:       

o       The ability of the ERCRC to establish a stand-alone station off of the main power grid on short notice.

o       Within 1.5 hours after notification of the emergency, the ERCRC and RCKARA will establish an emergency amateur radio station using emergency power, operating from the Old Fire Station at the Field Day site.

o       The ability of the ERCRC to staff and operate a station under emergency conditions for extended periods of time with heavy traffic volumes.

o       For a period of 12 hours the first day and 6 hours the second day and using the emergency station established at the Field Day site, the members of the ERCRC and RCKARA will work as many stations in the Texas QSO Party as possible, simulating the handling of emergency traffic.

o       The ability of the ERCRC to establish an operator’s schedule on the fly.

o       Within the first hour after the station is operational, the Emergency Coordinator (EC) will establish an operating schedule in cooperation with the willing Amateur Radio Operators (ARO) present or those contacted by VHF amateur frequencies or phone, if available.

o       The operator’s ability to operate HF under contest conditions in addition to emergency conditions.

o       During the ARO’s scheduled operating time, the ARO will make as many contacts as possible with Texas stations participating in the TXQP and log such contacts on the computer program. ARO’s may have an assistant to help with logging duties, if the schedule allows.

o       Any requests for assistance, such as food, additional manpower, to replace inoperable equipment, etc. should be handled over VHF using the 146.67 repeater, or simplex operations.

o       The ability of the ERCRC members to report from mobile/portable locations with tactical traffic and follow directions.

o       VHF Mobile stations will report to the operating position to pick up a packet of exercise messages and an instruction sheet. They will follow the instruction sheet, which will direct them where to go and what to do.

 

Narrative:         At 0730 local time (1230 UTC) an earthquake occurs in South-Central Kansas. Power, phones and water lines have been severed in and around Reno County. The power and phone lines from our area to the rest of the world have been destroyed and could take days to reestablish. Local phone service is sketchy. Road and bridges are impassable. The entire area between Salina, KS, Dodge City, KS, Oklahoma City, OK, Springfield, MO and Little Rock, AR has had moderate to severe damage. In Hutchinson, the main EOC at the Law Enforcement Center is damaged, but is being used for brief department head and agency meetings. Cell phone towers are down and public service radio towers are destroyed. A call goes out to the ERCRC to establish HF communications to the outside world. By some stroke of luck, the 146.67 repeater is operational and the antenna remains intact, even though the tower above it collapsed. A net is established on the .67 repeater. Amateur Radio Operators are asked to the old fire station on West Fourth Avenue to establish a temporary communications link on HF to the outside world.

 

            The station must be operational by 0900 local time (1400 UTC). The old fire Station on 4th Avenue, the Reno County Emergency Management’s Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V Field HF transceiver, laptop computer, and a generator have been loaned to the ERCRC for the operating position. The RCKARA is asked to assist by providing operators and other assistance. Members begin to arrive at the site by 0800 local time (1300 UTC) to begin setup. A dipole is strung into the trees and an NVIS antenna erected. Coax is connected to the antennas and the radio. A generator is fueled, started and prepared for operation. Power cords for the radio and other equipment are attached. As soon as everything is ready, we will make the first contacts with the outside world (at 1400 UTC when the Texas QSO Party begins). As soon as the first contacts start being made, the EC begins a schedule of operators (and loggers, if needed). Those who don’t need to operate or log immediately are released to return home, or sent to locations to gather and pass traffic on the VHF net.

            By 0900 local time (1400 UTC) “traffic” should be being passed. The local VHF net is collecting traffic to be passed and is relayed by HF to the NTS. Many ARO’s are assisting by taking their scheduled turn at either operating or logging the “traffic”. A schedule of operators has been made and posted. ARO’s are notified of their shift, either in person, by VHF or by phone, if possible (remember local phone service is sketchy). Requests for assistance such as food, water, manpower, or equipment are being passed via the VHF repeater or simplex. At 2100 local time (0200 UTC) the “night shift” takes over. (This is the end of the contest for Saturday night. The “night shift” is simulated.) At 0900 local time (1400 UTC) the ERCRC and RCKARA take over from the “night shift” and resume operations. Operations continue in similar fashion from the previous day, until 1500 local time (2000 UTC). At this time, we are told we may stand down. SBC has repaired the main phone lines, KDOT has their COW in the area and most communications are back to normal.

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts:

            DO:

  • Present the exercise to the members of the ERCRC and RCKARA. Go ahead and let them know one of the purposes is to get the field day ops some time with the radio without the pressure of field day.
  • Read the scenario to the members. Nothing has to be a surprise. Surprise has no effect on the exercise.
  • Find out who can be there and who is interested in operating. Let them know that the schedule won’t be established until the morning of the first day, but all requests will be honored as close as possible.
  • Work as many stations in the Texas QSO Party as possible. The fun part of this is while training for Field Day and exercising our abilities to operate under emergency conditions, we will be working a real contest and scoring points.

 

DON’T

o       Have anything pre-positioned. The radio, computer, antennae and hams should all be wherever they would normally be on an ordinary day.

o       Let anyone get a “head-start”. The “earthquake” happens at 0730 local time. Everyone should pretend that they felt the quake, turned on their 2 meter and heard the call go out.

o       Plan to bring a grill, or steaks or anything else that makes this a field day. We want to test the “emergency and contest” aspects of Field Day without the “picnic or social” aspects. There is nothing wrong with those aspects, but they do not need to be tested.

o       Get frustrated. There is no pressure to win anything. Also, don’t take it so seriously that you forget to have fun. It is meant to be a learning experience. If something goes wrong, take notes and be prepared to give suggestions in an after-action report.