NFARES 2017 SET

Each year in October, NFARES participates in an Simulated Emergency Test (SET). This year, the SET will be held on Saturday, October 7, between 9a and 2p.

The ARRL ARES Manaul says "The ARRL Simulated Emergency Test is a nationwide exercise in emergency communications, administered by ARRL Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers. Both ARES and the National Traffic System (NTS) are involved. The SET weekend gives communicators the opportunity to focus on the emergency communications capability within their community while interacting with NTS nets."

It goes on to define the purpose of SET:

    To find out the strengths and weaknesses of ARES and NTS, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and other groups in providing emergency communications.
    To provide a public demonstration -- to served agencies such as Red Cross, Emergency Management and through the news media -- of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need.
    To help radio amateurs gain experience in communications using standard procedures and a variety of modes under simulated emergency conditions.

For the past several years, North Fulton ARES has put together a team of radio communicators from NFARES and NFARL, deployed thoughout the North Fulton communities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs. Participating locations include fire stations, police departments, Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), hospitals, schools and shelters.

The territory is divided into regions to facilitate simplex communications nets. These regions mostly consist of city pairs, like Alpharetta/Milton and Sandy Springs/Johns Creek. Roswell usually has enough locations and people to operate its own simplex net.

Messages, both voice and digital, are passed within and between the regional simplex nets operating on 2 meters. Each net is assigned its own simplex frequencies (a primary plus two others) to allow messages to be passed concurrently with other messages or net operations. Net Control Stations (NCS) for each net coordinate the flow of messages within their own nets.

In addition to the 2m simplex nets, we establish a backbone (inter-city) net on 70cm linking the regional NCS locations. This net is used to facilitate the flow of messages between regional simplex nets, particularly if a simplex link cannot be established on 2m.

For digital messaging, we use Fldigi and Flmsg, part of the NBEMS suite of software programs. Of the many digital modes supported by Fldigi, we use MT63-2KL. To format the messages, we use Flmsg. We are able to select various formats, such as NTS Radiograms or ICS-213, a standard message format used by most, if not all, of our served agencies.