Saturday, September 9, 2023 was our city-wide “Dry Run” exercise; a chance to test ourselves and our tools in preparation for our official October exercise. Photographer Deb Jones of Friendly Area Neighbors caught some of the FAN volunteers in action.
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 7:00 PM, there will be a Zoom training and prep session for our city-wide exercise that will be held the following Saturday, October 21. The training session will cover the flow of information, the use of ICS forms and ID numbers and general information about the exercise. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
The session will be held in place of our regularly scheduled on-air net. There will be a brief announcement about the training on 146.88 MHz (PL 100) at the regular net starting time of 7:00 PM.
The Zoom session will be held on our EmComm Zoom link. For more information or for the link, please use the Contact form.
Here is the link to the September 7 CERT radio workshop.
There is a new version of the ICS-309 Log form now available which includes a column for a message ID number. This version may be used to replace the previous ICS-309 even if your district is not yet using the message ID numbers.
In the heat of a real emergency, there is some basic information we each need that may not come immediately to mind. The EmComm wallet card is a place where you can note and keep some of this information handy for use in an emergency (or a drill, for that matter). Use of this card is not required; it is offered here as a tool for you to use as you see fit. In my case, I am a neighborhood Ham who receives information from neighborhood teams and relays it to the Neighborhood Net Control.
Here is an example of a card filled out with my information in NE Eugene.
Most of the information should be self-explanatory, but briefly:
- Your name and FCC callsign
- Your tactical callsign in the emergency or exercise, assigned by your region
- Incoming comms are the frequencies or channels you will monitor for incoming traffic. On my card I have listed both the main and alternative FRS channel for my neighborhood
- Outgoing comms are the frequencies or channels you will use for outgoing traffic
- Your ICS ID Prefix is the assigned prefix to use to number your message forms
- Report to is the next level up in your region’s communications chain
- Documentation lists the forms you will use to document your work
I have printed out a number of these cards on card stock to share in my neighborhood. I have created a PDF which will print 10 copies. I would encourage you to print and share these with your neighborhood teams.
During the Wednesday night net May 31, 2023, Andy Davis KJ7JDN reviewed a number of common prowords and clarification language standards that can be used to improve our accuracy when transmitting messages. Many of these can be found in the document ACP-125 (rev. G) Communications Instructions Radiotelephone Procedures (PDF), an Allied manual for radio operators. For more concise versions, check out Common Prowords, and ACP-125 Excerpts. All items are downloadable PDFs, and can also be found on the Docs & Maps page.
Thia (KJ7CNH) introduced the international geolocation system and app “What3Words” on the regular weekly Wednesday night net on April 5, 2023. Visit the What 3 Words website for more information and links to the app. Wikipedia has a good explanation of the system in their article on the topic.
Three members volunteered to look into the system further and report back in a couple of weeks: Mike (KJ7HCH), Thia (KJ7CNH) and Gerry (KK7GAB).
Another Geolocation System
There are alternative systems to what3words that use numeric or alphanumeric identification strings, but one that are quite as user-friendly. The US National Grid system (link to federal government site on using USNG; a good Wikipedia article) is based on NATO’s Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) . There is an explanation of how it is being implemented in some areas in an article in Evacuation Safety magazine.
During the net on Wednesday night, March 29, 2023, Riley (W7RIL), made reference to the Net Control Station Training Manual as an excellent resource for Net Control operators. The manual can be read and downloaded from this link.