Past Events and Tests

Use the links below or our menu to see the events we have recently completed. Older events are below.

SARC Hamfest

 SARC Hamfest on May 5th at the Blake-Lowe building in Welborn

Hamfest and Tail gate at Welborn from 08:00 to 15:00. Arrive early for a Blueberry Breakfast starting at 07:30. Pancakes eggs bacon coffee all for $5.00. This just across the tracks from the water tower.

Tables available inside first come can have one no charge. Also no fee to get in. There will be food and drinks for sale cheap VE testing if needed. The shotgun net- 410 repeater to guide you in.

Directions

Route 90 from Madison to Welborn. Turn Left at the S&S, Signs will direct to the location. Look for the water Tower.

Blake-Lowe Building
1517 Fourth Avenue
Wellborn, FL 32094

Down Home Days 2018

WX4NHC On-Air Communications Test 2017

Feb 2016 Connectivity Testing

Hermine Makes an Impact

Older Test Information Below

Madison ARES Test Activation and Exercise

Madison County Emergency Management requests site-to-site radio communications during the mass casualty exercise/drill

Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

“Code Red” telephone alert

Lee, Florida 145.190 repeater for deployment procedures.

Radio communications from Lee School to the Madison County Dispatch Center in Madison.

Assignments

Lee School:  Jim (W4FAO), Sarah (KD4SMA), and Bob (WA1TCC).

Madison Dispatch: Pat (K4NRD), Jr (KC4VPJ)

Home Station West:  Gina (W4GNA)

Home Station East:  Dan (W1JXG)

Simplex Relay:  Jim (KM4TTT) and Andy (KM4TTS) at Hwy 6 and Hwy 90,  Jim (WA4BEV) Hwy 90 East  at Pafford Hill

Frequency Assignments:

Circuit 1:

Lee School:  H/T RX 145.190, TX 144.590 with a tone of 123.0  Direct to the Lee Repeater.

Dispatch Center: H/T Simplex:  446.800 Tone of 94.8

Mobile Crossband Repeat:  RX 446.800 Tone 94.8 and TX/RX 145.190/144.590 Tone of 123.0

Circuit 2:

Lee School:  H/T simplex 146.550 with a tone of 94.8.

Mobile Crossband Repeat:  RX 146.550 Tone of 94.8; TX/RX 447.000/442.000 Tone of 123.0

Madison Dispatch Center: H/T RX 447.000, TX 442.000 with a tone of 123.0 Direct to the Madison North UHF repeater.

Circuit 3:

Mobile Relay Stations:  146.520 with no tone.

Printable PDF below

Madison ARES Test Activation and Exercise

The Madison County ARES group participates in several activities to sharpen our skills and hone our equipment. We do random field testing on communications efficiency of various locations in Madison County and test the quality of our transmissions with our current equipment. We also participate in local and regional simulated emergency exercises concerning different disasters such as Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Natural and Man made disasters and accidents. This can involve the local region, county wide, state wide or national participation depending on the scenario. Many of our local Amateurs have assisted in the past and are continuously training for the future.

Upcoming Events

Madison ARES Test

Wednesday March 22, 2017

Details on the ARES page

The Great Southern Hamfest

HAMFEST/CONVENTION

03/18/2017Start Date: 03/18/2017
End Date: 03/18/2017
Location: Thomasville Exchange Club Fairgrounds
2057 Highway 122
Thomasville, GA 31757
Website: http://www.thomasvilleamateurradioclub.com
Sponsor: Thomasville Amateur Radio Club
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Talk-In: 147.195 (PL 141.3)
Public Contact: Jimmy Jones , KK4ZYC
206 Spruce Pine Drive Thomasville, GA 31757
Phone: 229-221-3972
Email: jjones@rose.net

Mini Ham Fest

This has been postponed due to an injury to Pat K4NRD, he is alright but laid up and we need him for leadership!

The Madison Amateur Radio Club is having an informal tail gate party on Postponed. This will be at the Lee, FL City Hall. There will are tables outside but to set up inside you’ll need to bring a table. We’ll have hotdogs and hamburgers, chips and drinks for sale. The coffee pot will be on and maybe biscuits for the early arrivals. We’d love you to come and join us. Bring any ham related items you’ve been meaning to clear out and put it on a table for sale. It’s a good way to make a little Christmas money or buy your own Christmas present. We will officially open at 10 AM but come early to set up and have a cup of coffee. Lee City Hall 286 NE County Rd 255 Lee, FL 32059 For info contact W4GNA Gina 850-673-1427

Hermine Made an Impact !

Florida Governor Rick Scott recognizes Amateur Radio with proclamation of Amateur Radio Week. See proclamation below.

Amateur-radio-week

Follow up article on Madison ARES contribution to Emergency Services in Madison County

Reprinted with permission Madison Enterprise Recorder. Thanks to Ashley Hunter for the report.

Madison ARES Article 062416

Madison County ARES has been featured in QST June issue. We just missed being the centerfold! Check out the story by Rick Palm K1CE

July 12

Special event and monthly meeting

Digital Repeaters ! Demo and Hands on at Lee Town Hall RSVP Please

The club is the team of Radio Amateurs who also provide support for Madison Emergency Services. We are a group of amateur radio enthusiasts who are active in the Amateur community and enjoy our radios and all that goes with them such as equipment building and antenna installations. We meet at the Madison Emergency Center the second Tuesday of the month at 18:30. Part of this meeting involves our support of Madison with our communication services while the rest of the meeting is as a radio club. If you are interested in either support for Madison Emergency Service or Amateur radio you are invited to attend. We can assist anyone in the process of getting an Amateur license and how to best get on the air.

Mini Ham Fest

Postponed due to an injury to Pat K4NRD. We will reschedule.

Lee Town Hall

The Madison Amateur Radio Club is having an informal tail gate party on Saturday December 10. This will be at the Lee, FL City Hall. There will are tables outside but to set up inside you’ll need to bring a table. We’ll have hotdogs and hamburgers, chips and drinks for sale. The coffee pot will be on and maybe biscuits for the early arrivals. We’d love you to come and join us. Bring any ham related items you’ve been meaning to clear out and put it on a table for sale. It’s a good way to make a little Christmas money or buy your own Christmas present. We will officially open at 10 AM but come early to set up and have a cup of coffee. Lee City Hall 286 NE County Rd 255 Lee, FL 32059 For info contact W4GNA Gina 850-673-1427

 

July 12

Special event and monthly meeting

Details below from Jim W3FAO

The Madison County Amateur Radio Club will meet July 12 at 6:30 pm local time.

There will be a special presentation by Pete Dulac. K4QHR and the subject will be on DMR radio. Pete will have a portable DMR repeater and 8 different Handhelds for a hands on demonstration of the features and capabilities of each different radio. There will be a theory session also on the projector to explain how all this DMR stuff works.

The location for this event will be in Lee, Fl at Lee Town Hall under the water tower. This event usually fills up fast so please RSVP asap to Sarah Anderson (KD4SMA) at: jaxtides@yahoo.com to ensure a seat.

Talk in will be on 145.19 – 600 khz PL = 123.0

Everyone is welcome! You do not have to be a Ham!

Thanks

Jim, W4FAO

Madison ARES Summer Test

A Summer test details to follow

Completed Events and Exercises

TS Colin

Madison ARES was put on alert with a Code Red Broadcast from the Madison Emergency Manager Alan Whigham the day before he storm arrived. Team members were immediately on our repeater discussing the alert. Our EC Pat Lightcap K4NRD called for a net that night on Simplex due to issues with the repeater. All stations were maintaining a situational awareness as the storm approached the next day. We monitored the Simplex net as well as the Tallahassee net on the 147.030 repeater. The Tallahassee team managed their net from 8:00 am to 10 PM on two hour shifts collection weather data and distributing information. Pat was our main contact relaying Madison conditions to Tallahassee. Overall we never received any extraordinary weather with light wind and some heavy rains – 4 inch totals in a number of places. I (WA1TCC)  heard Pat warn of an approaching weather band as I was heading to the EC to test equipment and ran into a downpour so bad I had to pull off the road for a couple of minutes. Overall this was a great exercise to test our preparedness for the next emergency. We want to thank Jim W4FAO and Dan W1JXG who went out into the weather to fix our repeater so it was operational in the morning. ( Lightening strike)

May 28

More details to follow

WX4NHC

This is a fun event. I recommend you to take some time to participate.

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 from 9AM- 5 PM EDT (1400z- 2200z)

WX4NHC will be On-The-Air on

HF

VHF

UHF

2 & 30 meter APRS

WinLink wx4nhc@winlink.org subject must contain “//WL2K”

Hurricane Watch Net frequency 14.325 MHz

VoIP Hurricane Net 4pm-5pm EST (2100-2200z)

(IRLP node 9219 / EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203).

http://www.voipwx.net/

Florida VHF & UHF Repeaters will be contacted.

I have copied the email from the center below.
“Please direct any questions to the NHC via www.wx4nhc.org. 73 de Doug, K4AC, and Mike, AA6ML Announcement from WX4NHC Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center, Miami Florida WX4NHC will be On-The-Air for the Annual Station Test Saturday, May 28th , 2016 from 9AM- 5 PM EDT ( 1400z- 2200z) This will be our 36th year of public service at NHC. The purpose of this event is to test Amateur Radio Station equipment, antennas and computers prior to this year’s Hurricane Season, which starts June 1st and runs through November 30th. This event is good practice for Ham Radio Operators world-wide as well as NWS Staff to become familiar with Amateur Radio communications available during times of severe weather. We will be making brief contacts on many frequencies and modes, exchanging signal reports and basic weather data exchange (“Sunny”, or “Rain”, etc.) with any station in any location. WX4NHC will be On-The-Air on HF, VHF, UHF , 2 & 30 meter APRS and WinLink wx4nhc@winlink.org subject must contain “//WL2K”. We will try to stay on the Hurricane Watch Net frequency 14.325 MHz most of the time. Due to space and equipment limitations, we will have 2 operators per shift, we can not be everywhere and every mode at the same time. You may be able to find us on HF by using one of the DX Spotting Networks, Such as the DX Summit Web Site: http://www.dxsummit.fi/Search.aspx We will also be on VoIP Hurricane Net 4pm-5pm EST (2100-2200z) (IRLP node 9219 / EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203). http://www.voipwx.net/ Florida VHF & UHF Repeaters will be contacted. QSL Cards are available via WD4R. Please send your card with a S.A.S.E. Please do NOT send QSLs directly to the Hurricane Center address, as it will get delayed. Due to security measures; Please, NO VISITORS will be allowed entry to NHC without prior clearance from NHC PIO and Security. Only WX4NHC Operators on the pre-approved operating schedule will be allowed entry. For more information about WX4NHC, please visit our website www.wx4nhc.org Thank you for your participation in the WX4NHC Annual Station Test event.”

May 21, 2016

Capital District Communication Test

1. 0845- Capital District Net informally opens
2.  0900  Net opens-Exercise explained.
3.  0900-0920(approximately) stations check in on the 147.03 repeater
        NCS asks each station if they are on emergency power and using an 
"emergency" antenna.  Stations report

4.  0920- NCS announces the simplex portion of the exercise
        Two "superstations" will be announced.  Other stations will 
attempt to contact them on 146.55 MHz (simplex)

5.  0920-0950  Simplex operation
6.  0950-1000 Stations return to 147.03 MHz
         NCS calls roll
         Stations report on success with superstations or superstations 
report on contacts
         NCS announces HF test-3.955 MHz at about 1010 hours
1010-1025  HF test-
          NCS takes check ins on HF frequency,  3.955 MHz
          Discussion of HF conditions, etc.

1025       Return to 147.03 to announce digital test
1025-1030   Check ins for digital test,  explain test
1030-1045   digital test on HF 3.590 MHz
              pass traffic using mode other than PSK 31
              check into Winmor
              check into Winlink
1045-       Return to 147.03 for discussion of digital test.

May 18

Hurricane Test Activation

Madison ARES participated in the Hurricane test.  Dan W1JXG was the first station to pass traffic for the exercise. Pat K4NRD also logged into the SAR Net later in the morning. Many members of Madison County ARES were monitoring the bands listening to the stations passing traffic. As always it is listen first and pass only when needed. Dan was our contact so we were at the ready listening to as many as three bands at once. The 80 meter net was extended since traffic passing was enhanced with the help of Bob W1LBV with his strong signal and great reception. SAR net was congested as expected. Madison County ARES has planned to use alternate methods of communication in an emergency since the state wide coverage of the SAR net will use up that bandwidth quickly.  In the afternoon 40 meters was usable but the state EOC in a remote location was impacted by local noise. With the help of Strait KT4YA who collected and relayed messages the day was a success.

Later that afternoon the Madison County EOC issued an ARES alert to Madison COunty ARES that their services were being activated. Code Red issued a call to all members to contact our EC Pat Lightcap. Even Jr on vacation down in the Gulf received the message. Jim and Sarah  were first on the repeater (W4EAO KD4SMA) and I (WA1TCC)  grabbed the mic to answer their call. Since I was driving I needed them to confirm the message – don’t text and drive! Pat join in a few minutes and Dan was right behind him. Pat validated the call and our activation and scheduled a net for 7:00 PM.  Below is his report completed with all the details of our activation. We are a small group but we are always there when needed.

MADISON COUNTY AMATEUR RADIO RESPONSE TO HURRICANE DRILL

May 18, 2016

Madison County Amateur Radio Services (ARES) received an activation request from the Madison County Emergency Management office on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 3:14 PM. The alert came by way of the Code Red telephone contact system and provided information about the Madison County Emergency Operations Center going to Level 2 activation at noon tomorrow as well as the opening of a shelter.

Madison County ARES followed their activation plan by immediately going to the Lee, Florida 145.190 VHF repeater.  Emergency Coordinator Pat (K4NRD) told the radio operators checking in that there would be a radio net tonight at 7:00 PM to create our response plan to the need of establishing radio communications between the EOC and the shelter located at Madison County Central School.  The Emergency Management Director Alan Whigham also wants the radio staffed 24/7.

At 7:00 PM Pat (K4NRD) began the special ARES Net on 145.190 to facilitate planning for the local communication needs as a result of the statewide hurricane exercise.  The following stations took part in the planning process:

W1JXG-Dan, W4FAO-Jim, KD4SMA-Sarah, WA1TCC-Bob, KG4JRG-James, KD4AMP-Jon, and K4NRD-Pat.

The following schedule was developed for local deployment:

        MADISON COUNTY EOC                                   MADISON COUNTY SHELTER

Noon to 8:00 PM: K4NRD                                             Noon to Midnight: W4FA0/KD4SMA

8:00 PM to 3:00 AM: W1JXG                                        Midnight to Noon:  WA1TCC

3:00 AM to 8:00 AM: KG4JRG

8:00 AM to Noon:  open

Equipment/Supplies for radio operators to provide:

Hand-held radios with extra batteries and chargers and power supplies.

Cross-Band capable dual band mobile radios for shelter deployment.

Personal medications and special foods.

It is expected that most needs will be met by the Shelter and EOC hosts.

THIS IS A DRILL     THIS IS A DRILL    THIS IS A DRILL    THIS IS A DRILL   THIS IS A DRILL

This a table-top exercise and no deployment will be made.

Any comments or questions should be directed to:

Patrick Lightcap, Emergency Coordinator for Madison County ARES

361 SE Bunker Street

Madison, Florida 32340

850-973-2313

phlightcap@embarqmail.com

PDF of the report is below.

HurricaneExerciseReport05182016

Hurricane Test  Prep

Documents attached below. W1JXG Dan will be reporting for Madison ARES and WA1TCC will be monitoring to assist. ALL stations are encouraged to listen and be ready to respond if required. The Hurricane season is starting at the end of the month and we need to be prepared.

Hurrx 2016 ARES Message Questions

ICS Form 213 Template

State Of Florida Amateur Radio Hurrx 2016 Instructions

EXERCISE Tropical Depression #11 Forms EXERCISE CODB Advisory 1601X.doc

Madison ARES will be working with our EOC and the Hurricane nets. Details attached above.

April 14-16, 2016

Madison Down Home Days

No Exercise or activation just show up with a HT and use our down town UHF repeater 442.000 PL 123. Monitor that frequency and also log in and tell us what is happening where you are.

Down Home Days was a great event with many people attending and a great bunch of cars to check out.  W4FAO, KC4VPJ and WA1TCC all tested the 442 repeater with varying success. Access to the repeater was attained with ease throughout the downtown. I (WA1TCC) confirmed that we have a problem with Baofeng HT on that frequency. More investigation and research before I will know if there is any way of working around this issue. That is why we test!

April 2, 2016

Tailgate

Suwannee Amateur Radio Club

See details below.

tg2016

February 23, 2016

ARES Weather Activation

Madison Amateur Radio Emergency Service ( ARES) participated in a weather emergency activation on February 23 at 20:30 hours EST in coordination with the Capital District and the Weather Service out of Tallahassee. This activation was initiated due to the severe weather warnings issued by the Tallahassee Weather service for the North Florida area. The Capital District activated their net on the local Tallahassee repeater and Madison as well as a number of over counties joined to provide support for the Capital District and to monitor weather conditions in North Florida.

Propagation conditions were difficult due to the weather front and Madison relied on Dan Beffa W1JXG to work through the night maintaining contact with Tallahassee and providing weather reports. Other Amateurs from Hamilton and Suwanee county also participated. Many of the Madison ARES group monitored the Tallahassee repeater, our Madison repeater and public service channels while maintaining a weather watch. Fortunately, Madison had no major damage with some power outages and reports of many lightning strikes.

ARES is a volunteer organization of Radio Amateurs many of them also certified SKYWARN weather observers who provide for reporting of weather conditions to the weather service. ARES also provides emergency and support communications for emergency and public service agencies in our respective counties. Anyone interested in weather, emergency service or emergency communications are welcome to come to our monthly meeting at the Madison EOC 6:30 on the second Tuesday of the month. March 8 is the next meeting and we will have a guest speaker.

Stations I heard participation ( I was not a net control ) were

K4NRD Pat ECC

W1JXG Dan

W4FAO Jim

KD4SMA – Sarah ( of course if we hear Jim we know Sarah is close by)

KC4VPJ Jr

KE4CQX John

KI4TRR Joe

I am sure I missed a number of stations – I was not logging them but all your efforts are appreciated and are in the logs of the Capital District. I could not reach the Tallahassee Repeater and had hard copy but monitored until Wednesday 08:00. Excellent job and what we train for. Remember Pensacola is not that far away and the damage they sustained.

Join us in the next exercise soon to be announced for spring.

 Feb 6, 2016

Madison County Test

Exercise Instructions

146..550 Simplex 145.190 Repeater and 442.000 Repeater. Either QTH or mobile WA1TCC will be mobile on river roads. Purpose of this test is to conduct connectivity exercises between our stations and repeaters and to map mobile hot spots for simplex and repeater use on the river during emergency operations. All stations in and around Madison County are encouraged to join us. There will be time between contacts so being HAMs talk to each other while the mobile stations move about. Sign in to our Sunday net and get more information as the day closer.

Update:

River Road Run has been completed and was a success.  We didn’t hit all of our points but we made it through Madison County. A complete report will follow and hot spots added to our map.

A recording of the simplex portion of our test is below in WAV format. Recording was done with Open Source software at this location. Recording is tinny due to being over driven my fault for not checking the sound levels.

Home

WAV file Simplex communication (large)

Simplex MP3

January 30

Capital District Simplex test

See calendar for details.

 

 

 

River Run – A trip up the Withlacoochee to test radio connectivity back to Madison and our repeaters.
River Connections – Test to check points on roads where connectivity to Madison and our repeaters are enhanced. This will allow us to have standard relay locations established before an emergency.
Our Outside Connections – A test from each corner of Madison County to test connectivity to our neighboring Amateurs. This will allow us to establish the connectivity in our radios before an emergency.
Simplex Testing – This is done on a regular basis to establish the use of the bands and the connectivity to each of the ARES members and establish locations where the best connectivity can be had when no repeaters are available.
StraitHollisand MadisonARES 003fas
Photo:  Left to right:
Carter KJ4JIG, Suwannee County CERT Dan, W1JXG, Madison County ARESPat, K4NRD, Madison County Emergency Coordinator for ARESStrait, KT4YA, North Florida Section Emergency Coordinator for ARESSarah, KD4SMA, Madison County ARES Alan, KI4IFH, Madison County Emergency Manager Jim, W4FAO, Madison County ARES Bob, WA1TCC, Madison County ARES
Not Pictured:  Junior, KC4VPJ, Madison County ARES

November 19, 2015
AMATEUR RADIO OFFICIAL VISITS MADISON
Madison County Emergency Management hosted a meeting on Thursday, November 19, 2015 between local Ham radio operators and Strait Hollis, the North Florida Section Emergency Coordinator.  Mr. Hollis lives in Eustis, Florida and has the responsibility to coordinate amateur radio emergency communications for forty-three counties from Orlando to Jacksonville to Pensacola. He is new in this position and wanted to visit with members of Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) as he traveled to Jackson County.  At the Emergency Operations Center in Madison Strait was able to discuss his vision of how amateur radio operators can help in times of disaster when ordinary communications are either out of service or overloaded.  He encouraged the local ARES group to build positive relationships with like groups in adjacent counties and provide public service communications to test the ability to communicate under various conditions.  He said “all emergencies are local” and radio operators need to have a response plan that is tested on a regular basis.  Alan Whigham, Madison County Emergency Manager, works closely with the local Ham radio operators and considers them an asset to the Madison community.

Nov 8-10 2015

MARS Stimulated Coronal Ejection Test

Madison Amateur Radio Club was proud to serve as a North Florida connection with the Military Auxiliary Radio Service ( MARS) in the first of quarterly tests to connect the Amateur community to the Military  community to assist in the event of an emergency. Our Sunday night net was set as a sign in for the test and a relay was made to our MARS contact Ron Downes KK4DWE . We will continue to work with MARS in these exercises to provide emergency services to Madison County.

http://qrznow.com/mars-amateur-radio-exercise-an-overall-success/

October 10, 2015

Capital District Simplex test All bands

This exercise started in the morning with stations going mobile with HT and Mobile units in various locations in the Tallahassee area to test the capability of using simplex connections in the event that repeaters were unavailable. Madison members also decided to support the test with many other Amateurs located in the surrounding counties. Our first tests were with 2 meters which provided great information on the coverage with communications from Madison being received throughout the area. We found that simplex would be operable in a relay between Madison and the other counties. After testing extensively on the 2 meter band the testing provided results from bands up to 160 meters with mixed results. We do have much information for North Florida with the connectivity tested daily on the 3950 and 7242 nets morning and nightly. Madison will continue to test simplex through the year on the 2 meter and 70 cm bands and map out our results and document for an emergency use.

October 3, 2015

I was there but I don’t remember what I did. Old age wins again!

August 22, 2015

Madison Fire Services Test

Pat K4NRD and Jr participated in this event which tested connectivity between the fire stations in Madison County on 154.400 151.4375 The fire departments used simplex to test connectivity when the repeaters are down.

May 30

Capital District Emergency Hurricane Test

May 20

Florida State Emergency Test

20 Meters – 14.305

70 Cm – Sarnet

May 19, 2015

Madison Security Expo

The Madison Amateur Radio Club under our ARES duties manned a table at the annual security expo. This has become an annual event to teach the community about the available services for Madison County in any emergency and to provide resources and information for any future emergencies. ARES will provide emergency communications for any event or emergency in the county and we displayed some of the equipment we would use for emergency communications and provided copies of ARES support literature and past issues of QST magazine. We anticipate this event growing each year and are looking forward to next years event.


Exercises:
May 21, 2005: Red Cross Hurricane Drill.
May 13, 2006: Madison County Simplex communications drill.
June 3, 2006: Red Cross Hurricane Drill.
April 17, 2007: Local Hospital Drill
April 28, 2007: Madison 5K Run
May 12, 2007: Red Cross Hurricane Drill
March 15, 2008: Madison County Simplex Test

Actual Events:
Jan 4, 2007: Local Communications Emergency: written up in QST May 2007.

Other Items of Note:
March 2006: Sponsored a General Class Study Group that lasted several weeks.
April 2006: Photo ARES ID Cards for all members.
Nov 2006: Skywarn Weather Spotter Training for all ARES members by NWS.
Most members have their NIMS 100, 200, 700 and 800 certificates.

Remainder of 2008:

  1. Developed an exercise with Suwannee County and Columbia County ARES for a simplex exercise from county EOC’s.

  2. Developed a similar exercise with Brooks County and Lowndes County Georgia.

  3. Participated in the Capital District and Red Cross Hurricane exercises.

WHAT IS A SET? (Simulated Emergency Test)

To give an example of such an exercise, this is one of such an exercise:

PLANE DOWN, SEARCHERS NEEDED!” 2009 SET

MADISON COUNTY, FLORIDA ARES

OCTOBER 3, 2009

October 3, 2009 Madison County, Florida ARES Emergency Coordinator Patrick Lightcap, K4NRD, was notified by Georgia Section Emergency Coordinator Mike Brown, KE4FGF, that South Georgia Airlines Flight 1003 overshot it’s landing at the Valdosta Municipal Airport and is considered down some where in South Georgia or North Florida. The aircraft is a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 with crew and passengers totaling 42. The ELT beacon is functioning and the FAA requests assistance in locating the crash site. This was the challenge facing Ham Operators in a very rural area of North Florida between Lake City and Tallahassee north of I-10.

This was the scenario for the Simulated Emergency Test that was designed by Georgia officials with the goal of erasing the State line and practicing cooperative emergency communications by

two states.

The notification came at 8:34 AM and the first signal from the ELT was detected at 8:39 AM on 147.420 MHz. K4NRD contacted Madison County ARES members KI4IFD, KJ4AOU, KC4VPJ, W4GNA and KD4EKS (AEC). KI4TRR the EC in Suwannee County, Florida just to the east of Madison County gave a signal strength report on the ELT from his location. That information coupled with the beam heading from KC4VPJ showed the crash site possibly in the northeast quadrant of Madison County, Florida or the southwest quadrant of Lowndes County, Georgia. W4GNA was asked to coordinate the search for the crash site on 146.550 MHz while K4NRD went on the 9:00 AM North Florida AREC Net on 3.950 MHz requesting assistance from stations where major hospitals are located. Telephone service out of Madison County was not possible because of a compromised fiber optic cable. North Florida Section Emergency Coordinator W2DWR who happened to be Net Control for the AREC Net sent available stations to 3.955 MHz where K4NRD became net control for the SET exercise.

Simultaneous Holt (Okaloosa) Florida nets on 146.550 and 3.955 resulted in the following stations assisting:

Jacksonville (Duval) Florida: W4BXT (acted as asset net control). Gainesville (Alachua) Florida: N4AYS, KG4LQK. Lake City (Columbia) Florida: WA5RKR, KE4BQI (Columbia County EC). Tallahassee (Leon) Florida: AI4GF, AG4UU, WQ4M, KI4HGO (Capital District EC), K4MVL, W1ABT (Leon County EC).

Monticello (Jefferson) Florida: KI4JOO (Jefferson County AEC), KA3FZO, KI4AGD, N0TW. Moultrie (Colquitt) Georgia: K4BEE (Colquitt County EC), KJ4HII (SWGA ADEC). Thomasville (Thomas) Georgia: N4KGT, AI4CW (Gadsden County AEC). Cairo (Grady) Georgia: KI4RGD. Live Oak (Suwannee) Florida: W2DWR (North FL Section EC). Port St. Joe (Gulf) Florida: W4NFG. Crawfordville (Wakulla) Florida: KI4PRX. Crestview (Okaloosa) Florida: N4GXX.: N4CU (West Panhandle District.)

On the VHF Net the following stations participated:

K4NRD: Madison County EC and Net Control, KD4EKS: Madison County AEC and RDF consultant, KJ4AOU: RDF local team, KC4VPJ: Madison County Hospital station, KI4IFD: Traffic handling going east

W4GNA: RDF coordinating station, KI4JOO: RDF coordinating station – VHF relay to Georgia, WD4CJI: Georgia RDF team and Brooks County Georgia hospital, KJ4GON: Georgia RDF Team and Brooks Hospital

KJ4GOJ: NWS-DEC and Brooks Hospital, W4FWL: Tallahassee RDF team, KJ4KUK: Georgia RDF team,

KI4TRR: Suwannee County, Florida EC, KE4FGF: Georgia SEC and ELT transmitter team, KJ4LOO: NWS ADEC and ELT transmitter team.

While the HF Net identified available medical response resources throughout North Florida and South Georgia the local VHF net on 146.550 continued coordination of RDF (radio direction finding) activities. W4FWL from Tallahassee, WD4CJI, KJ4GON, and KJ4KUK from South Georgia and KJ4AOU from Madison County, Florida combined their efforts to locate the “crash site.” The ELT transmitter was finally located at 11:47 AM and W4FWL assumed on-site Incident Command. His report indicated 8 fatalities, 18 burn patients, and 16 additional trauma victims. Resources identified on the HF net were called upon to respond including medical helicopters, ambulances, and hospitals to receive the injured as well as FAA notification.

The nets were closed down at 12:30 PM after all needed contacts had been made. A total of 23 operators were on the 3.955 HF net and an additional (unduplicated count) 15 operators on the 146.550 local VHF net. The two nets worked cooperatively and without using any local VHF repeaters. A Georgia Net on 3.975 was also involved but no count of operators was taken by the Florida units.

The objectives of the exercise were accomplished. RDF teams found the “crash site” transmitter within 3 hours of notification. Communications to critical treatment centers within 120 miles of the rural incident were established. Stations from multiple ARES Districts in Georgia and Florida were directly involved. VHF communications used primarily simplex frequencies with relay stations rather than repeaters. As HF propagation changed HF relay stations filled in the gaps. All stations participating maintained good discipline and demonstrated a high level of good emergency communications protocol.

Special thanks go to Mike Brown, KE4FGF (GA-SEC) and Zack Chandler, KJ4LOO (NWS-ADEC), for setting up the exercise and driving to Florida to install and monitor the ELT transmitter and “crash site.” Thanks also to Gina McCulley, W4GNA for offering her north Florida property as the “crash site.”