ARRL MI Section S.E.T
WB8TQZ – Presque Isle County
Random thoughts and observations that occurred to me in the course of the S.E.T.
Some of this stuff might not matter to most participants but it sounded like there were a few people new to the mode and they might be able to use it.
RxID is good for providing a Date/Time stamp if you miss something and want to record that data later. Just scroll up and there it is.
It sure is easier watching the info scroll by on the FlDigi screen than having to type or write notes down in a hurry on phone. I found, though, that keeping a separate note pad helped me to pull out the highlights such as Call Sign, County, Operator Name
People who are worried about their typing speed can get a lot of mileage out of Copy/Paste by opening up a notepad or word processor program, doing their composition in that sandbox while waiting for their turn to transmit, and copying it over to FlDigi or FlMsg. Some may already know this, some may not.
I found it helpful to use a little (not a lot) Squelch in FlDigi to suppress most of the random characters that would otherwise garbage up the screen.
I get my RX audio out of the headphone jack and find it helpful to leave the plug “ajar” so I can listen to the speaker. If something else grabs my attention in the shack, the modem tones remind me to look at the screen. Good when you're trying to multitask. Of course, if things are really loud and obnoxious on the band I find myself wishing for an independent volume setting.
I have to keep a list of setup parameters to make sure I don't miss something. It really helped today.
As with the MITN/MACS sessions, you can really tell when somebody comes on for the drill and is doing this stuff for the first time but, hey, at least they're trying.
Signals were none too strong up to 0900/1300Z but I had at least 98% copy. A few messages were corrupted and either did not save or would not open as wrapped for me but I was able to view almost all of their info in the “raw” as it came in.
A few were copied successfully down into the noise
SEOC faded badly around 0950/1350Z.
I inquired as to an alternate mode prior to sending my ICS-205. Did not get a response to that so used Olivia 8-500. Probably a good thing. The way conditions were, when I listened to a few others try different modes later, my transmission probably would have failed.
This was the first time I sent an ICS-205 with this or any other mode/application and I see where I should have left the unknown or undefined (TBD – To Be Determined) stuff out. The info characters were bad enough but the “overhead” imposed by the field designators in the wrapper were worse. My mistake. I don't think I'll make that one again.
The Presque Isle County ICS-205 really was a big one but those are all of the frequencies that are actually available and usable for us.
SEOC faded badly around 0950/1350Z
Some SWL reports:
W8KQ Alpena good readable up to around 0950/1350Z. I need to check that path out on 40M. Communications between our two counties has recently been a topic of conversation
NK8X Kalamazoo ICS-205 faded around 0956/1356Z, could not complete the copy.
N8JRN Marquette copied “raw” around 1000/1400Z but it was unable to unwrap.
N8OSL MT63-1KL 1006/1406Z started okay but faded quickly
KB8TAR Lapeer raw signal looked good at 1016/1416Z but FlMsg did not even save the wrapped file.
The QSY to 7.043 at 1019/1419Z brought SEOC up to very good readaS.E.T. a good one. Learned a few things, confirmed a few things. More practice couldn't hurt but I feel confident that I can handle ICS forms this way.
ARRL MI Section S.E.T 09-26-15 KC8YVF - Saginaw County
The Saginaw County S.E.T was conducted at the terminal building at Harry Browne Airport. This is a secured structure requiring a security code to access the building. The property is boarded by Wasdworth Rd, Airport Rd, Janes Rd and N Towerline Rd and the perimeter of the property is fenced and gated. Security was provided by Officer Jason Hendricks from the Buena Vista Police Department.
Stations included HF digital, HF voice, VHF packet, VHF voice, UHF voice, 220 voice/packet and Echolink. HF digital was conducted via a remote link to the home station of W8DW. A backup HF digital station was on site in case the remote link did not work or proved unreliable. The Saginaw VHF repeaters 147.240 and 145.330 were utilized for check in and local communications and the 224.280 was used for tactical. A broad band ham mesh net was set up between incident command and a remote location to provide IP phone and intranet capabilities. The Bay City repeater on 145.31 was utilized as the District 3 repeater.
The goal of the local exercise was to be 80% operational in a one hour time window with minimal planning. This goal was met. HF voice operations and one of three mesh net nodes were still outstanding at the end of the time window. All stations were online and operational within one hour and twenty minutes of arriving on scene.
Check in with state EOC via digital on Olivia 8/500 at 3.583 was achieved at 0736L and acknowledged
Check in on the District 3 145.31 repeater with N8OSL as NCS at 0800L
Radiogram sent via digital on Olivia 8/500 to state EOC at 3.583 occurred at 0836L and confirmed
ICS-205 sent via digital on mt63 1000l to the state EOC at 7.043 occurred at 0957L and confirmed, only frequencies utilized in the exercise, functions and assignment were listed in the form.
VHF packet operations were conducted between the remote location and Saginaw County’s EOC73 district packet station. An internet remote link was used to confirm the messages and reply. 220 packet messages were sent to each hospital ER station, 911 and the Red Cross. Confirmation of those messages will be confirmed at a later date. An attempt to connect from the local station and 911 with the new GLAD node was unsuccessful from either location.
In general, we had no issues with the HF signals, although the switch to 7.043 did not go smoothly. The local repeaters functioned normally as did the contact with the ADEC on the district 3 repeater. Local packet operations worked as expected although there was no contact to the new GLAD node. The mesh net covered a 200 yard area with 3 nodes and proved to be a good asset to have available when non-radio communication between locations are necessary (e.g. a location where non-hams are staffed)
Our local operation concluded at 1151L and checked out of the net at that time.
Six operators were on location, 3 checked in from sites in Bay City, Saginaw and Mansfield TX.