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Posted: 9/13/2015 11:44:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2015 3:05:54 PM EDT by Gyprat]
It's been a while since we had to practice emergency communications. The purpose of this exercise is to improve our operating skills in a simulated "grid down" scenario. The original idea belongs to Piccolo. He initiated a similar drill about a year ago. We had to pass a message from the East Coast to Hawaii and pass a reply message back to the East Coast.

I started this thread to find out if there is any interest to do this again.  Maybe we can simulate several scenarios mentioned below.
I was thinking about doing this sometime towards the end of September or early October. This will give us some time to get ready. Maybe this will motivate you to install that antenna you purchased but never had time to install. Maybe you will purchase a new IC-7800 radio . I accept no responsibility if your wife kills you once she finds out how much the radio costs.

How about we try to pass a short message from coast to coast using radio communications only? It will be a "grid-down" simulation.
You can't use the Internet, Echolink, e-mail, cellphones, texting or any means of communication that involves commercial networks.
Using smoke signals is allowed.
CB radios are ok to use.
Using ham radios is encouraged. HF bands will work best for this exercise.
We will use standard Arfcom frequencies only. I'll post a link later.  
Any legal mode goes. You can use Voice, CW, Digital or anything else allowed by FCC and your ham radio license class. IMHO, SSB Voice would allow shortwave listeners who have SW radios with a BFO to participate by listening only.
Lets imagine that all satellites are down and we can't use them for this test ( tell me if I'm wrong about this).
The test results will be judged based on how long it takes to pass the message and how many participants receive it with 100% accuracy.
You must be licensed to transmit on the ham radio frequencies. Nothing illegal will be allowed and won't be tolerated. You don't need a license to listen on ham radio frequencies with proper equipment.

We can do several exercises making them progressively more difficult. Perhaps the first one will be done with your radios connected to the power grid and the antennas you currently have.
The second exercise can be done while limiting power sources to generators, batteries, wind, solar or any other emergency power sources only.
      How about we try a similar test again, several weeks later and limit ourselves to operating away from a home shack while using portable radios and portable antennas only and running off an emergency power source. This will simulate a condition when we are away from home and have a Go Bag with a portable antenna(s) and a small battery that can be recharged by solar power (or anything else that's portable and not tied to a power grid). I do realize that not everyone has a Go Bag. This may motivate people to build a Go Bag and antennas.  Want to run digital modes? No problem as long as you can carry a computer or a tablet ( with a sufficient power source) along with your portable radios. Please don't hesitate to tell me that it's a dumb idea. I'm open to any suggestions or any constructive criticism .

I volunteer to do all the logistics. We will need one volunteer from the East Coast and one from the West Coast. I can initiate the message from my QTH as I'm not that far from the East Coast (South Carolina).
We can try to pass a test message to Hawaii and back if someone who lives in Hawaii wants volunteer. We could also try to pass the message anywhere else on this planet if we find a volunteer from that area.

During the test, the participants can send me a PM with a message they receive, time received and their approximate location. This well allow me to estimate how long it takes to pass the message and pass a reply massage back.  I do respect your privacy and wont share nor post any personal information except your screen name and approximate location. Sending a PM message if you are away from your home QTH may be difficult. Just write down the information and time received and send me a PM on the following day. I'll summarize everything and post results a day later.

I would appreciate if you reply to this stating if you are interested and what time and day will work best. I'm guessing it's best to do this during a weekend. Also please feel free to make any suggestions regarding logistics, modes of communication or anything else. We have several weeks to get ready if there is enough interest.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 12:10:51 AM EDT
Fully into this.  But please, not Oct 3.
I'm already booked for a simulated emergency. :)  And we have a great lead with a lot of imagination.

Lights Out!

Operation Lights Out
Oct 3, 2015,

Saturday from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm.
This event is a Simulated Emergency Test that involves responding to a rolling power
outage across the section of Virginia that is serviced by Appalachian Power Company.
The scenario is the simulation of a rolling blackout that begins on Friday, October 2, near
Pt. Pleasant, WV at 4:30 pm and continues south and east until it covers much of
southern WV and all of SW Virginia from Lee County to 50 miles east of Lynchburg
Virginia, by 5:10 pm on October 2nd.  This simulation has brought about a simulated
disaster declaration from the Governor of Virginia. This has impacted Virginia for over
16 hours before the ham community is called upon for support at 9:00 am, Saturday
October 3rd.
The major blackout has caused signal lights to fail, service stations throughout SW
Virginia have closed unless they have generators large enough to pull their pumps.
Businesses have closed throughout the area.  Cash registers and ATM’s will not function.
Those in rural areas that have wells are without safe drinking water.  Those on insulin
and other heat sensitive drugs have no means of keeping their medication cold.  Most
homes will be without hot meals, heat or refrigeration.  Landline, cell and most Internet
services are down in the affected area.
The Amateur Radio response will be a communications only drill.  No other assets will
be moved unless an agencies wishes to drill other aspects of their agency.  Finding and
the rescuing of the scouts will be an exception to this guideline.  
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 12:17:15 AM EDT
tag as long as it's not pope weekend - I'm sure I'll be busy on the radio for other reasons
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 12:30:35 AM EDT
Might I suggest just going coast to coast with Hawaii and Alaska as bonus stations?
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 1:13:38 AM EDT
I like it. Could we have a QRP exercise to go along with the field test?



A special message generated and passed among operators using less than ~10W. Digital/CW would be fine along with voice.




Getting outside and using a 100W radio or an amp always seems to fly against the spirit of a go bag and a truly emergency situation. I know it's not a popular idea when people haul a chuckwagon and mobile shack to Field Day or an exercise. Just throwing an idea out.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 1:13:47 AM EDT
Israeli practice grenades with messages attached accepted?
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 2:17:53 AM EDT
Is this something my handheld digital scanner could receive. Would be interesting to catch the message go through the sierra mtns possibly.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 5:56:29 AM EDT
I'll do what I can.. 80M is best for me & it seems early AM is best for propagation 5-6AM
I'm might be the eastern most ARFHAM as well at W 67° 10'...
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 6:54:57 AM EDT
Sounds like fun!
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:19:31 AM EDT
I'm in
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 8:02:05 AM EDT
Sign me up as well.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 8:30:43 AM EDT
Definetely sounds fun but I'm limited to vhf/uhf right now. Definetely need to get a HF setup.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 8:43:41 AM EDT
Yeah man.

I'm down. I'm going to be putting up an antenna shortly in my new house.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 9:18:30 AM EDT
I'm in.

I can do HF/VHF/UHF.

My 2m, 1.25m & .7m setup is limited to FM. HF & 6m I can run most modes.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 9:30:36 AM EDT
Tag.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 9:57:28 AM EDT
Sounds interesting, I'm in.  I need motivation to string up the G5RV that's been sitting arond.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 10:00:30 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Dave_Markowitz:
Tag.
View Quote

Link Posted: 9/14/2015 10:18:16 AM EDT
September 26, Louisiana hams will participate in Operation Hack Attack.

SCENARIO NARRATIVE
Unknown assailants have engaged in cyberattacks on computer networks in Louisiana which has
systematically shut down and/or limited operation of critical communication systems. Those devices
directly affected will, in many cases, result in cascading failures in other systems. The first wave of trouble
shows up as a failure of the electrical grid, statewide. The hackers have gained control of many networks
used by the electrical grid.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:03:14 AM EDT
In!  Just not the weekend of Sept, 25-28.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:22:05 AM EDT
I'll probably be around.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 12:11:56 PM EDT
I'll participate if available.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 12:19:02 PM EDT
Well I guess this'll be the week I get my 80m loop built and in the air!
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 6:58:31 PM EDT
How about we do the first drill on Saturday, October 10th? A field/QRP test can be done the following week (tentative). The weather should be nice for being outside for the most of the country.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:22:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By smashedminer:
Is this something my handheld digital scanner could receive. Would be interesting to catch the message go through the sierra mtns possibly.
View Quote


I don't know a lot about scanners and I never had one. Tell us what frequencies your scanner covers. Can it receive SSB modulated signals on HF (shortwave) bands? Most scanners probably cover VHF/UHF frequencies only. VHF/UHF communications are limited to "line of sight" communications only unless you use repeaters and/or internet links. Shortwave signals travel very long distances. I can get on my radio right now and chat with someone on the West Coast for several hours without any issues. Heck, I often talk to my dad who lives 7,000 miles away. All we use are the radios, antennas and a power source. The infrastructure can go down 100% but I will still be able to use my radios without any issues. Using ham radio is not like picking up a phone and making a call. You need to know propagation specifics and a lot more. This is why it's good to get licensed and practice this often.

Back to your question. You can easily receive ham radio signals with a shortwave radio equipped with a BFO feature. Having a BFO will allow you to hear SSB modulated signals. You can also receive Digital modes if you download a free software for your PC. Hold a PC microphone next to your radio's speaker and you will be able to read the messages. It will take some practice to set everything right. It's best to use a dedicated HF ham radio though.
A long wire will do as a simple antenna if you want to receive only. It's best to run the wire out the window and into a tree. Just keep it away from large conductive objects, electrical appliances and wires.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:24:13 PM EDT
The "ARFRRL".
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:25:32 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FN64GR:
I'll do what I can.. 80M is best for me & it seems early AM is best for propagation 5-6AM
I'm might be the eastern most ARFHAM as well at W 67° 10'...
View Quote


How do you feel about being the "East Coast" station? I'll contact you a week before the event if you agree.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:48:10 PM EDT
I'm up for playing.

Keep in mind that the last drill was over in a matter of minutes, even though Pic intentionally threw in a stumbling block or two.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 7:55:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2015 8:02:40 PM EDT by SpanishInquisition]
Schedule permitting, I'll be happy to participate.  The last one was fun even if only 15 minutes from coast to coast and back.  :)

Congrats, you've given me a reason to get my OCF dipole squared away. :)


...and for the record, it's hella fun hearing someone calling "CQ ARFCOM, CQ ARFCOM..."  :)
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 8:10:53 PM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SpanishInquisition:

The last one was fun even if only 15 minutes from coast to coast and back.  :)

View Quote
This is why I threw out the idea of a separate message for a QRP field exercise. Make it a little tougher.

 
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 9:57:38 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SpanishInquisition:
Schedule permitting, I'll be happy to participate.  The last one was fun even if only 15 minutes from coast to coast and back.  :)

Congrats, you've given me a reason to get my OCF dipole squared away. :)


...and for the record, it's hella fun hearing someone calling "CQ ARFCOM, CQ ARFCOM..."  :)
View Quote


Message was received in Hawaii as well.  
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 10:07:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2015 10:08:49 PM EDT by Gyprat]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Frostbite:
I'm up for playing.

Keep in mind that the last drill was over in a matter of minutes, even though Pic intentionally threw in a stumbling block or two.
View Quote


True. This time we will not post time nor frequency. We will use standard Arfcom frequencies. Band selection will be based on time of day and propagation conditions.  "Lights out" simulation will begin at pre-determined time. I will ask not to post anything in this thread once the "lights" go out. Everything else is up to the participants. We will throw a few wrenches into the drill to make it more realistic. How about transmitting the initial message only once at 60 WPM CW (Morse code)? Just kidding..
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 10:51:39 PM EDT
What are the standard Arfcom frequencies ?  Man I'm just dying to hear CQ ARFCOM over the air.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 10:59:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By no_1:
What are the standard Arfcom frequencies ?  Man I'm just dying to hear CQ ARFCOM over the air.
View Quote


I have an older list and will need to find out if there is a newer, updated one. I'll post a link soon. Print it out and keep it handy. You computer may not work when the "lights" go out.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:03:46 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gyprat:


True. This time we will not post time nor frequency. We will use standard Arfcom frequencies. Band selection will be based on time of day and propagation conditions.  "Lights out" simulation will begin at pre-determined time. I will ask not to post anything in this thread once the "lights" go out. Everything else is up to the participants. We will throw a few wrenches into the drill to make it more realistic. How about transmitting the initial message only once at 60 WPM CW (Morse code)? Just kidding..
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gyprat:
Originally Posted By Frostbite:
I'm up for playing.

Keep in mind that the last drill was over in a matter of minutes, even though Pic intentionally threw in a stumbling block or two.


True. This time we will not post time nor frequency. We will use standard Arfcom frequencies. Band selection will be based on time of day and propagation conditions.  "Lights out" simulation will begin at pre-determined time. I will ask not to post anything in this thread once the "lights" go out. Everything else is up to the participants. We will throw a few wrenches into the drill to make it more realistic. How about transmitting the initial message only once at 60 WPM CW (Morse code)? Just kidding..


Just a suggestion....

I think a nationwide comm or power outage would be very noticeable and would be the trigger to drive us to fire up our HAM stations.  As such, I think it would be fair to make an "Exercise Exercise Exercise" post in this forum to announce the national emergency (with appropriate fog of war) to kick the exercise off.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:06:19 PM EDT
How do I get a list of the ARFCOM freqs?
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:39:48 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By vanman2004b:
How do I get a list of the ARFCOM freqs?
View Quote


Please be patient. I do have a link to the Arfcom frequency list. I want to make sure it's the latest version before I post it here. I don't want to end up with several versions of the list.
If anyone has the latest frequency list, please let me know.
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:42:31 PM EDT
There's a xls file linked somewhere in the stickies, iirc.

Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:46:19 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SpanishInquisition:
There's a xls file linked somewhere in the stickies, iirc.

View Quote


I know. The latest one posted there is a version 1.21, dated - September 16, 2013. Do you know if it's the latest and greatest?
Link Posted: 9/14/2015 11:52:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2015 11:45:03 AM EDT by SpanishInquisition]
I see no later revs via Google fu, so...
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/612380_ARFCOM_SHTF_EMCOMM_frequency_sheet.html&page=6#i11421960

ETA: This is the hotlink to version 1.21 of the ARFCOM Freq Sheet.
Here
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 12:12:06 AM EDT
This reminds me, we need the 40M digital guard frequency updated to 7114 since we moved up 2KHz a few months
ago. Who does one talk to in order to get that updated?
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 1:11:45 AM EDT
I have my owners manual that ill look at to see its capabilities. I was thinking i might be able to pick something up because im near a mtn summit that i could go up to pretty easy.Be neat the handheld can do it, if not im shit out of luck, I could go primitive com. and burn a stack of tires up there for smoke signals and make the paper and you'll know I tried communicating back. lol
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 1:14:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By smashedminer:
I have my owners manual that ill look at to see its capabilities. I was thinking i might be able to pick something up because im near a mtn summit that i could go up to pretty easy.Be neat the handheld can do it, if not im shit out of luck, I could go primitive com. and burn a stack of tires up there for smoke signals and make the paper and you'll know I tried communicating back. lol
View Quote



what model scanner?


most likely, no. If it will receive shortwave and sideband then you'd stand a chance.
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 7:27:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 8:51:23 AM EDT
Ok, I'll have an 80m setup online at the MOB by the weekend.

Link Posted: 9/15/2015 10:53:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By dispatch55126:
Definitely sounds fun but I'm limited to vhf/uhf right now. Definetely need to get a HF setup.
View Quote

That makes 2 of us.  
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 11:20:11 AM EDT
Gyprat...IM inbound..
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 12:43:14 PM EDT
I hope I'm home for this. Pretty much any Sunday night would be good. I know that might interfere with football, but Friday and Saturday are date nights with the XYL
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 12:58:08 PM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SCWolverine:


Silly Rabbits....it's listed in the Important Threads at the top of every page



http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/612380_ARFCOM_SHTF_EMCOMM_frequency_sheet____LAST_CALL_FOR_COMMENTS_____SEE_UPDATE_ON_PAGE_4.html



View Quote




 
I have created an updated version of the sheet with the current 40M Digital Guard Channel. Link is page 6 of the above thread. Please put any comments in that thread.
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 3:43:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2015 4:25:29 PM EDT by Gyprat]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SCWolverine:
Silly Rabbits....it's listed in the Important Threads at the top of every page

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/612380_ARFCOM_SHTF_EMCOMM_frequency_sheet____LAST_CALL_FOR_COMMENTS_____SEE_UPDATE_ON_PAGE_4.html

View Quote


I did not want to post a link in fear of having several different frequency lists floating around. It looks like Dave Markowitz updated the list to include a new 40m Digital frequency.
Thanks Dave!
Latest and greatest frequencies list is posted below.
Link Posted: 9/15/2015 3:54:44 PM EDT

ARFCOM FREQUENCIES. LATEST VERSION. CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW.

Link to the latest and greatest Arfcom Frequencies List

Additional link if the first one does not work


Here is a snapshot of the Arfcom frequencies only:
Link Posted: 9/16/2015 7:18:54 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brundoggie:


Just a suggestion....

I think a nationwide comm or power outage would be very noticeable and would be the trigger to drive us to fire up our HAM stations.  As such, I think it would be fair to make an "Exercise Exercise Exercise" post in this forum to announce the national emergency (with appropriate fog of war) to kick the exercise off.
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brundoggie:
Originally Posted By Gyprat:
Originally Posted By Frostbite:
I'm up for playing.

Keep in mind that the last drill was over in a matter of minutes, even though Pic intentionally threw in a stumbling block or two.


True. This time we will not post time nor frequency. We will use standard Arfcom frequencies. Band selection will be based on time of day and propagation conditions.  "Lights out" simulation will begin at pre-determined time. I will ask not to post anything in this thread once the "lights" go out. Everything else is up to the participants. We will throw a few wrenches into the drill to make it more realistic. How about transmitting the initial message only once at 60 WPM CW (Morse code)? Just kidding..


Just a suggestion....

I think a nationwide comm or power outage would be very noticeable and would be the trigger to drive us to fire up our HAM stations.  As such, I think it would be fair to make an "Exercise Exercise Exercise" post in this forum to announce the national emergency (with appropriate fog of war) to kick the exercise off.


I agree.

Yeah, the last one made it to Hawaii in like 15 minutes, but it shows the capabilities of ARFCOM. If you want to make it more difficult, contact several folks on here and give them a different message or a message to release upon hearing a primary message. Have like five different messages from different locations throughout the US. Just ask the individuals to let you know if they cannot participate!
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