Eastern Massachusetts ARES Exercise: Operation Home Station Support

Date and Timeframe of Exercise

Saturday February 25th, 2006
Start Time 10 AM
End Time: 12:30 PM
Duration: 2.5 Hours

Please allow time for setup and take down of any equipment during this exercise.

Purpose and Scenario

Eastern Massachusetts ARES will conduct its first exercise of 2006 on Saturday February 25th, 2006 from 10 AM-1230 PM. The scenario will be as follows:

A widespread medical emergency from a contagious illness has caused problems across the section. This medical emergency and its highly contagious nature have grounded most deployments to field stations and EOC’s. People across the section have been asked by local officials to remain in their homes for several weeks and not to venture outdoors for fears of the illness and its contagious nature. Amateur Radio usage will need to come largely from support at home stations and a few selected club or EOC stations that are on the air. Official agencies are currently overwhelmed by the medical emergency and have not called for Amateur Radio support as of yet. ARES leadership is requesting ARES Nets to activate on designated frequencies to collect the resources of home stations and Amateur’s abilities to withstand a prolonged period of time at home and providing vital communications via their homes for as long as possible so that when requests are received, they can be handled remotely as required.

The purpose of this drill will be the following:

• Local ARES team coordination and deployment as well as local NTS and tactical message handling.
• Intra district and interdistrict tactical and formal message handling.
• Gathering home station resources and capabilities across the section via drill messages disseminated from section leadership.
• Utilization of HF, VHF, UHF, Packet, IRLP and EchoLink modes of communication. This includes utilization of SKYWARN frequencies as required to fill the gap of local ARES frequencies and SKYWARN frequencies.
• Utilization of home stations at various points across the section and interfacing with any EOC’s or Simulated EOC’s in our section or other sections where appropriate.
• Utilization of the New England Network integrated conference server, which is the EchoLink *NEW-ENG* conference node and IRLP Reflector 9058 as a command net for communications within the section and outside the section.

For this exercise, it is expected that all ARES DEC’s/EC’s, or their designee will support this drill and what is to be exercised. Those SKYWARN liaisons that also perform ARES/RACES are also asked to participate. As always, at the local level, message handling and formation is critical and keeping Hams at the local level busy must occur. The Eastern Massachusetts ARES leadership will inject message traffic into the system requesting information from net participants in NTS and tactical message format in an attempt to get responses from those participating. We will be requesting information from Amateurs on their equipment and resources to operate effectively from home and that their personal needs can be met from home for an extended period of time without venturing outdoors. This is in the hopes to generate more traffic and build an updated database of home station resources in the region. We will ask for messages be directed to their local EC, DEC or the Net Control on frequency.

Net Controls are asked to use their discretion in doing call-ups and to be prepared for the ARES leadership to pass traffic of tactical and formal nature to each net. Amateurs are asked to then build tactical messages and formal messages in response to this traffic as required. For this drill, the Eastern Massachusetts ARES SEC will be located either at home or at the Southeast Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association Club in South Dartmouth Massachusetts, performing his duties as ARES SEC and other duties to support operations as required.

Exercise Control Team

The exercise will be controlled and walked through the scenario by the SM, SEC, and DEC’s or the staff will assign a designee to walk through the scenario on the air. This will be done through a series of tactical message announcements. Also, as stated previously, the staff will be injecting NTS traffic messages along with tactical message announcements on the air in an attempt to get responses from people on the air concerning their home resources. This will make it easier to have more message traffic during the course of the exercise and should allow for easier play by those participating. It will also build up an updated database of ARES resources in the section.

Exercise Objectives

The objectives of this exercise are as follows:

• Have all teams have one liaison that monitors their local RACES Repeater in addition to their local operations.
• Have as many home stations on the air as possible passing tactical and NTS traffic on their capabilities.
• Establish district wide communication utilizing the following modes:
o IRLP and/or EchoLink nodes.
o Utilizing the integrated EchoLink *NEW-ENG* Conference Node (Node #9123) and IRLP reflector 9058 as a command net for contact with the Eastern Massachusetts section and surrounding areas.
o Utilizing Various 2 Meter Repeaters that the ARES teams will be utilizing in the area when necessary.
o Utilizing SKYWARN frequencies as an additional backbone as needed to ARES and RACES infrastructure.
o Utilize RACES frequencies where active for support in the drill along with local ARES and SKYWARN frequencies.
• Establish contact with other ARES districts and EOC’s/Simulated EOC via HF (3943 and/or 7245 KHz depending on band conditions).
• Test and evaluate the range of Home stations for relay operations.
• Amateurs are encouraged to test their backup power equipment wherever possible.
• Mobile “roving” Amateurs are not required but welcomed to participate.
• Practice sending many test NTS messages.
• Practice sending many test tactical messages.
• Practice sending traffic between home stations within each ARES team.
• Practice sending traffic between any EOC’s or home stations within the Eastern Massachusetts section.
• Practice sending traffic to other section’s ARES/RACES/SKYWARN personnel where appropriate.
• Assure MARS Liaisons have a way to gather ARES reports to formulate into EEI’s (Essential Elements of Information).

Operational Ground Rules

The following are some operational ground rules for this exercise:

• All communications options should be utilized. EC’s may throw in “failures” to test out “failover” of communications wherever possible as long as they are properly communicated up and down the ARES leadership.
• Many messages of both a tactical and NTS formal nature should be sent within the teams participating, between teams and between districts wherever possible. In this drill, we’ll be looking for answers to specific requests on home station capabilities and resources.
• Frequent usage of the phrase “This is a Drill” should be incorporated with any messages, traffic or announcements relating to the drill as required.

Operational Players

The following is a list of agencies and a general list of EOC’s that will be playing in the exercise.

Various EOC’s and Simulated EOC’s

There may be various city/town EOC’s, Red Cross Chapters and simulated EOC’s participating in the exercise. While this drill is focused on home stations, EOC participation will be welcomed if it occurs. If enough of them become known, the document will be updated to provide a short listing.

SEMARA: Southeast Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association (W1AEC)

The club station will be active for this exercise staffed by Amateurs from the Southeast Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association and the club’s ARES group known as SEMARA-ARES. This station will act as one of the key hubs for the region.

Home Stations

This drill is focusing on home station capabilities. We encourage many home stations across the Eastern Massachusetts section to monitor and check into nets across Eastern Massachusetts district for ARES assistance. We encourage them to answer the requests made via NTS either in NTS or tactical format. Some home stations can act as “simulated EOC’s” or net controls where appropriate. We encourage stations to generate tactical message traffic and formal message traffic for ARES where possible.

Mobile Stations

Mobile stations are encouraged to participate utilizing all modes at their disposal and can be utilized as roving stations as required. While this drill is focusing on home station support, we understand many Amateurs may be mobile and we want maximum participation in the exercise and mobile stations can give their home station resources while they are mobile.

Amateur Radio Frequency Plan

The frequency plan will utilize existing SKYWARN and RACES repeaters that are well documented via the web. The following links detail these frequencies:

SKYWARN Frequencies:

RACES/Simplex Frequencies:
Please note that the SKYWARN Frequencies are more up to date on the first link.

It is noted that IRLP and EchoLink nodes maybe connected either to the *NEW-ENG* Conference node or IRLP Reflector 9058. This will again serve as a command net for communications within the Eastern Massachusetts ARES section and for stations outside the section that wish to participate. Individual Hams are welcome to listen and if they have no other means to pass their information they can pass it over this system as needed.

The following additional frequencies will be utilized during the drill in the Southeast Massachusetts district:

SEMARA ARES Response Team Frequency:
147.000-Dartmouth Repeater

Fall River (BCRA) ARES/RACES Team Frequency:
145.15-Fall River Repeater PL: 123.0 Hz.

The MMRA Repeater System will potentially be linked up as needed during portions of or during the entire drill time period and we will attempt to have a Net Control monitoring the system full-time and facilitate traffic at a section level for Eastern Massachusetts. Below is the link for the frequencies that can be linked up utilizing the MMRA System:


The following are important regional frequencies via HF for this drill:

Regional ARES/RACES Net Primary for this drill:
3943 KHz LSB

Regional ARES/RACES Net Secondary for this drill:
7245 KHz LSB

There are additional local frequencies that maybe utilized in this drill at your local town/city level or at a regional level. Please contact your ARES DEC or EC for further information on additional frequencies that maybe utilized in your specific area during the drill.
Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 1-800-445-2588 Ext.: 72929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com

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