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: Anchorage Communications Exercise (COMMEX 981103)

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

4. Number of amateurs participating: 6

5. Event start date/time: 10 Nov 98/2023L             6. Event end date/time: 10 Nov 98/2058L

7. Duration of event (hours): .58                              8. Total man-hours: 3.48

9. Number of repeaters used: 0

10. Estimated manpower cost: $34.80 (man-hours times $10/hr)

11. Estimated cost of equipment used: $2,100 (hand-helds, repeaters, etc.)

12. Total estimated cost of service: $2,134.80 (add amounts from lines 10 and 11)

13. Nets and/or frequencies used (including repeater call signs): Big City Simplex Net, 146.520 MHz

14. Number of messages handled: Six pieces of formal exercise message traffic

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

16. Please list call signs of amateurs who were major participants: KL0CY, KL5T, NL7SK, KL7HHO, NL7NN, WL7CKB

17. Other comments: See exercise summary attached.

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                                                                                                                          11 Nov 98

COMMEX 981103

A communications exercise (COMMEX 981103) was held on the Big City Simplex VHF phone net on 10 Oct 98. The net is held each Tuesday evening at 2000L on 146.52 MHz. After net check-ins tapered off, net control, KL0CY, turned the net over to KL5T for exercise execution.

The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate the importance of our ability to maintain proficiency in preparing, passing, and receiving formal ARRL formatted message traffic. Our goal was 100 percent participation. This exercise was a follow-up to the COMMEX held on 6 Oct 98. During that exercise, we passed ARRL formatted traffic, and hopefully learned a few lessons.

During this exercise, we reviewed the lessons learned from the COMMEX held on 6 Oct 98 and reviewed the elements of an ARRL formatted radiogram as outlined in the ARRL Operating Manual. Stations were then directed to prepare their own radiogram, identifying the transmitter and antenna they were using to participate in the net with. They were directed to contact net control when their messages were prepared, and then were directed to pass that message to another station on the net. Feedback was provided during the course of events.

Overall, folks did a great job preparing and passing their traffic. Of the 8 stations indicating they would participate, 6 successfully did so. One station departed the net without notifying net control, and the other was not involved due to an error by net control. Many had participated in the previous exercise, and it appears that, in combination with the review of the operating manual, net members improved their ability to prepare, pass, and receive traffic. A few items were identified during the exercise that were either noted real-time, or immediately following the exercise:

- One station omitted the time in the message preamble.

- There was some confusion regarding checks. We did address this issue though, and identified that if the message text was confirmed to be correct, then the message should be considered passed successfully. If the message were to be passed on, there were procedures in place for the new station to address the conflict with the checks. Believe further practice and review of this topic is in order.

- Message readbacks were conducted when not necessary. Again, we addressed this issued real-time, and explained this was not necessary unless there was confusion about the message.

- One station failed to pass "break" after passing the address and message text.

- One station failed to pass the message check in the preamble. This was caught by the receiving station and filled appropriately. Good job!

- Of general note: There were 12 stations checked into the net. Of those 12, 4 contacted net control to advise they would not be able to participate in the exercise. This was EXCELLENT! Net stations should ALWAYS contact net control if they need to depart the net early.

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 a few areas regarding message traffic handling that we can improve upon. A hearty congratulations goes out to the following exercise participants:

KL0CY
NL7SK
KL5T
KL7HHO
NL7NN
WL7CKB

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:

EXERCISE PREAMBLE

STATE: "Attention all net stations, attention all net stations, this is KL5T. This net will now conduct a communications exercise. I repeat, this net will now conduct a communications exercise. This exercise will be identified as COMMEX 981103. The current time is 2023L."

PURPOSE

STATE: "The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the importance of our ability to maintain proficiency in preparing, passing, and receiving formal ARRL formatted message traffic. Our goal is 100 percent participation from all check-ins. This exercise is a follow-up to the COMMEX held on 6 Oct 98. During that exercise, we passed ARRL formatted traffic, and hopefully learned a few lessons. Following are some of the observations documented from that exercise:

- CHECK (or word count): We had fun with this one. We had discrepancies on the word count in nearly every message passed. This was expected, as the operating manual dedicates a fair amount of space in an effort to clarify how this is to be determined.

- Failure to say "break" after passing the addressee

- Passing a handling instruction (HX), but only passing the suffix

- Stations spoke way too fast

- Stations inserted words into the text, that weren't actually contained in the written message, such as the word "is". This led to problems with the check

- Stations substituted the addressee for the station of origin

- Stations ended the message text with an "x-ray". This should never be done

- Stations failed to pass "end, no more" following the signature"

STATE: "Tonight we're going to review the elements of an ARRL formatted message. Following this review, each station will draft a small message with a specific message content as directed, and when prepared to send, will be directed to send that message to another station on the net.. This is KL5T. Are there any questions at this point?"

At this point, conduct a review of the contents of a radiogram per the ARRL operating manual. Advise stations to pull out their operating manuals if they have them, and follow along.

INSTRUCTIONS

STATE: "Attention all net stations, attention all net stations, this is KL5T. Following are exercise instructions. I say again, following are exercise instructions. All net stations, at this time, draft an ARRL formatted message identifying the transmitter and antenna your are currently using to participate in this net with. Again, all net stations, at this time, draft an ARRL formatted message identifying the transmitter and antenna you are currently participating in this net with. Once your message is drafted, contact me to advise that your message is prepared. I will then direct you to contact another station on the net to pass your traffic. So everybody needs to pay attention!. Once your traffic is passed, please stand by because you may be directed to receive another station's traffic! This is a communications exercise. Are there any fills?"

STATE: "While you prepare your messages, I'll pass my message to KL0CY to demonstrate."

Contact KL0CY and run your sample message. Ask is there are any questions.

STATE: "This is KL5T standing by."

Stations will call advising their traffic is prepared. Direct each station, one at a time, to pass their traffic to another station on the net. Provide feedback as necessary throughout this activity.

After all stations have passed their traffic, STATE: "This is KL5T declaring ENDEX. The current time is 2058L."

STATE: "Tonight we had 8 stations indicate they would participate in our exercise. Of those, 6 actually took part. One failed to stay with the net or indicate they were departing, and the other didn't participate due to an error by KL5T. Sorry about that KL0FZ! We did a pretty good job tonight, and outside of what we've already talked about, the only real discrepancy I noted was that one station failed to pass a time in their preamble. The exercise commenced at 2023L and terminated at 2058L for a total elapsed time of 35 minutes. Are there any comments or suggestions?"

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."