ARRL PUBLIC SERVICE

ACTIVITY REPORT

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About This Form

Amateur Radio donates thousands of man hours of supplementary public service communications in civil emergencies, official drills and events such as parades and marathons each year. Such events show Amateur Radio in its best light, and it is critically important that ARRL bring documentation of this public service work to the attention of the Congress, the FCC and other public officials. Your information below is an important addition to the record. Please complete and return this form to the Public Service Branch at ARRL Headquarters. Thank you.

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1. Nature of activity (Check one).

Communications Emergency. Amateurs supplied communications required to replace or supplement normal communications means.

Alert. Amateurs were deployed for emergency communications, but emergency situation did not develop.

Special exercise. Amateurs supplied communications for a parade, race, etc.

X       Test or drill. A training activity in which amateurs participated.

2. Brief description of activity: Communications Exercise. COMMEX 981101.

3. Places or areas involved: Anchorage, AK; Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska

4. Number of amateurs participating: 7

5. Event start date/time: 3 Nov 98/2022L               6. Event end date/time: 3 Nov 98/2052L

7. Duration of event (hours): .5                                8. Total man-hours: 3.5

9. Number of repeaters used: 0

10. Estimated manpower cost: $35 (man-hours times $10/hr)

11. Estimated cost of equipment used: $7,100 (hand-helds, repeaters, etc.)

12. Total estimated cost of service: $7,135 (add amounts from lines 10 and 11)

13. Nets and/or frequencies used (including repeater call signs): Big City Simplex Net, 146.52 MHz; Tactical net on 146.400 MHz

14. Number of messages handled: Continuous Tactical Traffic

15. Names of agencies receiving communications support: N/A, Communications Exercise

16. Please list call signs of amateurs who were major participants: KL0CY, NL7SK, WL7WH, KL7HHO, WL7BD, KL5T, AL7FI

17. Other comments: See attached exercise summary.

Please attach photos of amateurs in action, newspaper clippings or other data.

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Name of Amateur Radio organization providing service: South Central Radio Club, Anchorage Amateur Radio Club, ARES

Location of organization: City or town: Anchorage         State: AK

Your name: Larry K. Petty                                               Call sign: KL5T

Address: 2631 W. 27th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99517

ARRL appointment, if any: ASM, VE, ARES            e-mail address: lkpetty@alaska.net

Telephone: (907) 552-2448    (907) 248-3864
                          (days)                   (evenings)

I attest that the information provided above is complete and true to the best of my knowledge.

//signed//
LARRY K. PETTY                                                                                                                               3 Nov 98

COMMEX 981101

A communications exercise (COMMEX 981101) was held on the Big City Simplex VHF phone net on 3 Nov 98. The net is held each Tuesday evening at 2000L on 146.52 MHz. After net check-ins tapered off, net control, KL0CY, kicked off the exercise.

The overall goal of the exercise was to achieve 100 percent participation. The objective was to implement FM subnets via VHF packet direction. Net participants were queried as to whether they had packet capability, and if so, were directed to set their packet stations to 145.03 MHz. Each packet station was sent a message assigning them a tactical callsign as a subnet control, the stations they would have assigned to their subnet, a subnet frequency, and information they were to acquire from their stations. They were also told to standby on 146.52 for instructions from net control to activate their net and to call their stations. After acquiring the requested information, they were to pass a packet message back to KL5T containing that info. Once KL5T received the traffic, he was to advise the subnet control to secure the subnet and direct their stations to change back to 146.52 to check back in with KL0CY.

This exercise was partially successful. We had 14 stations checked into the net this evening at STARTEX. Of those, 7 participated in the exercise in some for or fashion; at 50 percent, that's down from 81 percent participation last week. Only 3 of the 14 stations had packet capability. KL5T acted as packet net control, and each of the other two stations were able to establish communications with him. Of the five 2-meter stations directed to report to a new frequency, 3 complied. The exercise commenced at 2022L and terminated at 2052L for a total elapsed time of 30 minutes.

This was a new experience for most net stations, and the instructions needed to be followed explicitly for it to come off. Generally, good net discipline was noted throughout the exercise. However, as with any exercise, some areas were identified that could be improved:

- Although both of the subnet control stations were able to establish communication with packet net control, only one of them was able to run 2-meter packet and 2-meter FM voice simultaneously. This resulted in a much lower participation rate because the stations assigned to that station's tactical voice net were never called. This demonstrated the importance of maintaining the ability to communicate in multiple modes simultaneously.

- Two of the 2-meter stations checked in to 146.52 did not respond when called for assignment to their tactical net. Stations should always stay with their net. If they must leave early, they should advise net control of their departure.

- One station on the tactical net failed to standby for the subnet control's instructions to change frequency back to 146.52. Again, stations should always stay with their net. If they must leave early, they should advise net control of their departure.

- The subnet control did not confirm called stations on 146.52 received their instructions prior to changing to the tactical net frequency. A tasking station should always ensure their communication has been successful before proceeding with activities depending on those instructions.

This was a GREAT learning experience for all involved. The observations listed above should simply be considered constructive criticism from which we all can learn. Remember, this is the reason we conduct these exercise: to identify areas where we might be able to improve our emergency communications capabilities. It identified our potential shortfalls with packet radio, and hopefully results in some of our group expanding and enhancing their capabilities through the addition of this important digital mode to their station.

A hearty congratulations goes out to the following exercise participants:

KL0CY
NL7SK
WL7WH
KL7HHO
WL7BD
AL7FI
KL5T

A special thanks goes out to KL0CY for his patience as net control!

Again, many thanks to those who participated in this evening's COMMEX. I highly encourage all to take the time script a communications exercise.

73,

de KL5T
 
 

Following is the script for the exercise:

At the start of the net, when net control asks for traffic for the net, advise the need to query if stations checking in are packet capable. If they are packet capable, request what their SSID is and direct them to set their packet stations to 145.03 MHz and to standby for traffic

As stations check into the net, KL5T will begin drafting and sending messages to the packet capable stations. The following will be the generic text of the messages:

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COMMEX Instructions

You are assigned as a subnet control for the Big City Simplex Net COMMEX 981101. You will activate your net upon direction from net control on 146.52. You will say nothing about your subnet assignment prior to specific direction from net control. Once directed to activate your net, you will call the stations identified below and direct them to QSY to the frequency indicated below. Once on that frequency, you will contact each station, request them to identify the closest public school and closest fire station to their home QTH. Once you've gathered this data, generate an informal packet message and send it back to me, KL5T on this frequency (145.03). You may need to digipeat through SUMMIT node, i.e. -"connect kl5t via summit". Once you are certain your message was successfully transmitted to KL5T, you will standby for instructions via a packet message to shutdown your subnet. Once this message is receive, direct your net stations to change back to 146.52 and check back in with net control.

Your assignment is as follows:

Subnet Identification and YOUR tactical callsign: TAC1 (we'll have as many TAC nets as needed. Will try to limit each subnet to 4 outstations.)

Frequency: 146.400 MHz (each TAC net will have a different simplex frequency. For example, TAC1 is 146.4, TAC2 is 146.43, TAC3 is 146.46, etc.)
Your Stations:

(calls as received during check-in.)

73, DE KL5T

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EXERCISE PREAMBLE

STATE: "Attention all net stations, attention all net stations, this is KL5T. This net will now conduct a communications exercise. This exercise is identified as COMMEX 981101. I repeat, this net will now conduct a communications exercise. The current time is 2022L.

PURPOSE

STATE: "The purpose of this exercise is to practice our ability to follow net control's instructions, operate our equipment, and establish a tactical network under packet radio direction. Our goal is 100 percent participation. This is KL5T. Please standby."

INSTRUCTIONS

STATE: "Attention all net stations, attention all net stations. This is KL5T executing COMMEX 981101. Break. TAC1 TAC1, call your stations.

TAC1 will call his/her stations and direct them to change to the frequency identified in the tasking message.

Repeat this TAC activation for each TAC net constructed.

KL5T will pass appropriate messages via packet to the TAC net controls. He will coordinate with 146.52 net control on dispatching additional checkins to TAC nets.

Once all traffic is run and all stations have returned to 146.52, declare ENDEX.

STATE: "This is ENDEX, or end of exercise. All stations please standby for a brief exercise summary. The current time is 2052L. KL0CY, I'll be off for a few minutes calculating some statistics and will report back shortly. This is KL5T."

Calculate exercise metrics based on the data collected, and announce the following:

"All net stations, the following are preliminary exercise results:

STATE: " We had 14 stations checked into the net this evening at STARTEX. Of those, 7 participated in the exercise in some for or fashion; at 50 percent, that's down from 81 percent participation last week. Only 3 of the 14 stations had packet capability. KL5T acted as packet net control, and each of the other two stations were able to establish communications with him. Of the five 2-meter stations directed to report to a new frequency, 3 complied. The exercise commenced at 2022L and terminated at 2052L for a total elapsed time of 30 minutes."

Note any comments or suggestions for inclusion into the written exercise summary.

STATE: "This is KL5T, net control for the Big City Simplex Net COMMEX. I want to thank all net stations for their participation in the exercise this evening. A written summary will be provided in the SCRC and AARC newsletters. I highly encourage net members to take the time to script communications exercises of their own, either for insertion into scheduled nets, or for upcoming monthly COMMEXs. Please contact me, KL5T, or any radio club or ARES officer or participant if you'd like to become more involved in our effort to improve and enhance our emergency communications preparedness. We need your help"

Turn the net back to net control.

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The following data should be collected:

1. Note the time of the initial call announcing STARTEX.

2. Note the total number of stations participating in the net at STARTEX, to include net control.

3. Note the total number of stations that indicate they were packet capable.

4. Note how many of the packet stations were able to participate in the packet portion of the net.

5. Note how many non-packet stations participated in the exercise.

6. Note how many packet messages were passed.

7. Note the time of ENDEX.

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