Thursday, February 5, 2009

Statewide Tornado Drill

We held a Chatham County ARES Drill this week in conjunction with the Georgia Statewide Tornado Drill. We created a simple scenario and ran a local "Resource Net" on the 146.970 repeater. We also held a "Tactical Net" on the newly re-located 147.330 repeater. I was the net control operator for the Resource Net and Mac, KF4LMT, was the net control operator for the Tactical Net. We had all stations initially check in to the Resource Net to provide information regarding location, capabilities, availability, etc. We used this info to determine how to best apply the available resources.

We practiced assigning the mobile and portable stations over to the Tactical Net where Mac logged them in and tracked them as available mobile resources. Mac and I maintained a coordination "channel" between the two net control stations initially with our newly operational Echolink node running with the 146.700 repeater. We used both voice and instant message capabilities of the Echolink program. We then simulated a loss of Internet Access and failed over to our secondary coord channel by using the 442.700 UHF repeater. After a successful test of 70cm, we simulated it's loss and failed over to our tertiary mode of simplex on 146.520. It worked well.

As local operators continued to check into the net, we assigned Tactical Call signs based on location or uniques attributes. We assigned callsigns such as Candler 1, Memorial 1, HF Liason, Liberty EOC, TSA Liason, etc. We had a total of 20 check ins which was pretty good for a work day morning.

At 0910 the local weather alert sounded and we moved everyone from the Tactical Net back over to the Resource Net where we did a quick roll call and thanked everyone for participating in the exercise. We then formally closed the net and returned the frequency to normal amateur use. These drills are so important as a training tool so that we can be as prepared as possible if/when we're ever called upon to assist in an actually emergency. Thanks to the following operators for thier participation.

K4GTM - Guy
KF4LMT - Mac
AJ4MY - Ryan
WD0GFG - Kevin
K4SDJ - Steve
W4SWJ - Sue
KJ4FAW - Peter
KC5VCF - Alf
KJ4EGZ - Ted
K4DJD - David
KF4EFP - Doug
KB4GNX - Bob
KJ4HEX - Matthew
KF4JBQ - Lester
KT4RW - Heyward
KC4MKD - David
W4REQ - Ralph
W4WTO - Bob
K4MUM - Memorial Hosp
W3SJC - Candler Hosp

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