On Saturday March 30, thirty-five Seattle ACS team members participated in the Washington State Emergency Management Division’s (EMD) Statewide Communications Exercise to test communications with state and tribal emergency operations centers (EOCs) using two-way radio and email over radio to simulate a statewide emergency where commercial communications are interrupted.
Additionally, Seattle activated teams of radio operators at the EOC and in six geographic sectors of the City to practice its capability to send and receive messages using a variety of wireless technologies including the high band-width HamWAN IP network which enables voice over IP telephone, video image transfer and email messaging. In a disaster these systems will be available to support City operations, back-up for 911 services and provide messaging to the community. ACS used RapidTag to sign-in and track all participants during the exercise.
ACS also staffed a table at a Girl Scouts event at Magnuson Park and incorporated that site into the exercise with the opportunity to demonstrate emergency communications.
Thank you to Dave Wilma for organizing the exercise and to George Thornton for coordinating the sector support as well as a special thanks to the COMT team for all their prep work in helping team members setup and test HamWAN prior to the event. It was a great exercise – thank you all for being there, an after action report is being written and you can view photos of the event by following this link.
If you’re like me, then you read every ACS email, in which case you also know we got to play with radios today and not just our own! We had about 30 people out today to assist with our SR99 testing project. Most of those being ACS members, but we were also supported by SFD and WSDOT. The task was to determine the range of effective communications of our radios in and through the new tunnel.
We were also loaned 800 MHz radios by SFD for the exercise. Our testing consisted of staging a ham every three-tenths of a mile for the entire 2.1-mile stretch, end to end on both the north and southbound lanes. We tested simplex frequencies on VHF, UHF, and 800 MHz. We found that the higher frequencies had the best coverage. The 800 MHz radios were readable from start to finish, while 440 covered a majority of the length for HT’s with the standard “rubber ducky” antenna.
Overall, it was a fun afternoon despite the chills of the first day of Winter. Thanks to Franz (N3HFS) for the idea, everyone who assisted, and leadership for making it happen!
On April 28, 2018, from 0830 to 1200, the Seattle Neighborhood Hubs and Seattle ACS will hold a field exercise. ACS will support the hubs by deploying sector teams and hub operators simulating a general communications failure. Please follow this link to view the Media Advisory Information
Participating amateur radio operators will need radios programmed with the ACS frequencies and the ability to receive Fldigi digital messages. Winlink email will be the default mode for sending messages from hubs and sectors. Voice will be used for coordination and as a last alternative for messaging. The emphasis of this exercise will be efficient and accurate message handling as well as practice deploying and operating as cohesive teams.
To simulate an unplanned emergency a full briefing will be broadcast the night before at 1900 on UHF Channel 4, the Columbia repeater. The net will also be announced via Alert Seattle. ACS will activate at 0830 on Saturday morning. The exercise will conclude at 1200. Please plan to participate, we hope this will be a helpful learning opportunity and a lot of fun.
After Action Review – .We have set a date for a joint Hub and ACS After Action Review, it will be Wednesday, May 2, 7:00 pm at the Discovery Park Environmental Center. 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199 . If you can’t attend, please get feedback you want to share to me or someone in your sector who can present it for you.