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Standard Operating Guidlines (SOGs) for Hawaii Amateurs

The Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) for amateur radio emergency communications in Hawaii are based on these standards:

  • A number of agencies are involved in emergency management, and assisting individuals in the community to prepare for emergencies and disasters. They include:
  • Each agency/location is responsible for the acquisition and support of emergency communications, including the operating location, emergency power, equipment, operators, message handlers, technicians, etc to assure itself of its communications capabilities during emergencies. It can be in the form of commercial and unlicensed radios, clerical staff and portable generators, for example. It does not have to be only amateur radio operators and equipment.
  • Amateur radio and amateur radio operators assists and supplements this basic emergency communications effort, especially for communications between agencies where they do not share the same type of radio equipment. These amateurs register with the agency they serve. Non-amateurs may also register with the agency they serve. These operators operate under the direction and in support of the served agency.
  • Operators are trained, equipped and proficient to handle formal and tactical messages in an accurate and timely fashion.
  • Amateur radio operators are trained and equipped to handle HF NVIS, VHF/UHF FM, and packet radio for emergency communications in varying degrees.
  • Additionally, amateur radio operators may be certified in emergency communications through the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (ARECC).
Alert and Activation
  • A mechanism of alert is used which includes the National Weather Service (NWS), Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), State Civil Defense (SCD) and Oahu Civil Defense (OCDA). Participants are encouraged to get a NOAA National Weather Service receiver with SAME decoding to receive alert bulletins via the National Weather Service. Frequencies active in Hawaii include 162.40 and 162.55 MHz.
  • The Diamond Head 147.06 net for State-wide amateurs is established until the EOC can be manned and made operational.
  • Initial command net on Diamond Head 146.88 is established for Oahu amateurs. It serves as an initial coordinating frequency for Oahu (DEM) Department of Emergency Management RACES, SCD (State Civil Defense) RACES, and the American Red Cross.
  • An assessment is made to determine the nature and the extent of the alert. As needed, the amateurs make contact with their assigned agencies to verify that they have been officially activated in support of the event and to get further directions.
  • The HF net for State-wide amateurs on 7.088 MHz is established until the EOC can be manned and made operational. Operations alternates with 60 meters 5330.5 MHz. If 80 meter propagation is better, the net convenes on 3993.5 MHz and status bulletins are issued on the VHF state-wide repeater network.
  • The amateur radio operators involved with Healthcomm and the health care community activate on their designated frequencies. 3888 kHz, 5371.5 kHz, 7080 kHz, 147.220+ MHz, 147.280+ MHz
  • The amateur radio operators involved with Pacific ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) activate on their designated frequencies.
  • Maui County uses the Wailuku 146.76 MHz, Mt Haleakala 147.02 MHz and the around-the-island UHF IRLP repeaters to activate and coordinate activities.
  • Hawaii County on the Big Island uses the BIWARN (Big Island Wide Area Repeater Network) repeater to activate and coordinate activities.
  • Where equipped, responders activate APRS on 144.39 MHz to send out beacons indicating information such as response and activation status and frequencies monitored.
  • Equipment and operators are deployed, configured and operated as nets. See Oahu response plan and net overview for overview information.

Deployment and Chain of Command

  • The Incident Command System (ICS) is used as the model for scaling the initial response into a larger response in an orderly fashion. Participants are encouraged to be trained in NIMS (National Incident Management System) procedures and terminology.

  • Controlled nets are under the control of a Net Control Station (NCS).
  • Formal messages are handled in NIMS ICS 213 Format and ARRL Radiogram Message Format.
  • Well-composed messages should include:
    • Addressee (name, title, location, optional telephone number)
    • What is the situation?
    • What is being requested?
    • Who is the requestor?
    • Where should the material or people be sent? Where is the transfer point?
    • What are the available times for arrival?
    • Is the access to the site expected to be clear?
    • Who should the responder locate?
    • Is there a frequency, telephone number or other means of contact in the local area? Or, while the response is in progress?
    • Who should be notified when the response is under way?
    • Any other considerations?
    • Signature (name and authority of sender)

  • Messages are passed in accordance with the status and operating procedures for the served agencies. Individuals who are not affiliated with the served agencies should check in with the net control station (NCS) and wait to be acknowledged before proceeding with their message or information.
  • Messages are sent via the most direct route possible, with a minimum of relays. Stations should expect to use simplex radio techniques and not be reliant on repeaters that can fail and stop operating during disasters. The messages need not be handled exclusively on amateur radio and may use the telephone system (as an example) if it is operational. See other web pages on this site for additional information.
  • The sending station looks for the receiving station on the net that supports the receiving stations's organizations and requests to the Net Control Station (NCS) that the two stations pass the message, usually by changing to another frequency and contacting each other directly. Short tactical messages can usually be passed on the radio net. If the sending station cannot contact the receiving station's net directly, then sending station relays the formal message to a radio net that can forward the message.
  • Receiving stations should listen for special operating instructions from the sending station and follow them. There may be equipment or other limitations at the sending site, and that station will not have the luxury of time to explain the situation. Follow the instructions to ensure contact or proper handling of messages. Similarly, if the receiving station has special instructions, the sending station should be ready to comply.
  • Liaison stations that are monitoring and active on two nets may handle and pass traffic between the nets on behalf of the participant on each of the nets. The liaison stations should check in and out of the nets with the Net Control Station as they enter and leave the nets, so that the NCS knows which stations are available to handle the traffic.
  • Relays to those in the neighborhood can be accomplished via unlicensed FRS radios. See Neighborhood Emergency Communications Plan for details.

Operations during Failure of Repeaters

  • If a repeater should fail, switch operations to the output frequency of the repeater, operating in simplex mode (your transmit and receive frequency is the same as the output frequency of the failed repeater). Occasionally, monitor the input frequency of the repeater to see if there are those who are attempting to access the failed repeater and are unable to reprogram their radios to operate in the repeater output frequency. Be prepared to work the station by operating with the reverse split frequency pair of the repeater (ie, you transmit on the output frequency of the failed repeater, and listen for a response on the repeater input frequency).
  • Also monitor 146.52 simplex for newcomers, and direct them to the frequencies active in your area.
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June 2006 Updated: January 26, 2014

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