On Saturday November 9th, the Cape and Islands ARES district held its Exercise #65 Operation “Black Autumn”. This was an emergency communications exercise based on a scenario of a cascading power blackout encompassing all of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. The exercise would be for EOCs and home stations using VHF/UHF, HF, and digital modes.
The exercise ran from 10am-noon. In the Cape and Islands district, the following EOCs were active. The County Multi Agency Coordination Center (MACC), Falmouth EOC, Harwich EOC, Dukes County EOC (Martha’s Vineyard), Joint Base Cape Cod EOC, Falmouth Hospital EOC. This included several home stations on Cape and Nantucket, including several that were on HF using 75m, 60m, and 40m. The VHF/UHF part of the operation was conducted on simplex with no repeaters being used. Digital NBEMS was successfully conducted on VHF in the Cape area along with the new PAC ARES digital system.
Many EOCs off Cape in MA also participated on HF, VHF or both. These included the Marlboro and Stow EOC and several home stations. South Shore Hospital, as well as, The National Weather Service station were also on the air. Statewide HF net control was conducted by several amateur operators using 75m and an experimental attempt at 60M.
Results were acceptable overall. HF propagation was reasonable on 75m, but a bit sporadic at times, with capabilities that extended well into the morning as we often see at times of solar minimum. The 60m experiment seemed to work effectively and will be attempted again in future operations. VHF simplex worked out well in most areas and emphasized the importance of being able to communicate without the help of repeaters.
Participation was excellent including the off Cape areas. Our thanks to all the stations that participated. They are too numerous to list everyone, but just a few of the participating stations include:
Ted Robinson K1QAR HF operations
Marc Stern WA1R HF operations
Bob Glorioso W1IS Stowe area
John O’Neil K1JRO South Shore Hospital
Charlie Bresnahan K1CB Falmouth Hospital
SEC Rob Macedo and W1SHS-Stu Solomon WX1BOX NWS station
N1EM Marlboro Eric Williams KV1J
Barry Hutchinson KB1TLR and Don Arthur K1DCA Cape area HF
Mike Wodynski, K2LEK Nantucket HF
Chuck Cotnoir KB1IHU Dukes County EMA Martha’s Vineyard
Frank O’Laughlin WQ1O Barnstable County Multi Agency Coordination Center (MACC)
Our thanks to everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules to help in the exercise.
The Cape and Islands ARES district will be having its Winter ARES filed exercise in late January or early February.
Frank O’Laughlin WQ1O
Cape Cod and Islands ARES DEC