EmComm for Saratoga

Emergency Communication
Don Steinbach
Saratoga Amateur Radio Association
EmComm for Saratoga
MOU with City of Saratoga
EOC Comm Capability
Go Kit
Operating Tips
Training Opportunities
MAC Program
Issues & Concerns
EmComm for Saratoga
• ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service)
– The emergency communications arm of the ARRL (American
Radio Relay League).
– Not directly connected with any government entity.
– Organized on a section-by-section basis within the ARRL
field organization and responds on a local or regional level.
• We are the Santa Clara Valley Section in the Pacific
– Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa
Cruz counties.
– ARES operators provide their own insurance.
– You become an ARES amateur radio operator by joining
ARRL, but you do not need to be a member of ARRL to
participate in ARES.
EmComm for Saratoga
• RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service)
– A civilian entity established by the federal government after
World War II
– A radio service using amateur radio stations for civil defense
communications during periods of local, regional or national
civil emergencies.
• Now the communications branch of FEMA.
• When a governmental entity (City, County, State or
Federal) requests amateur radio assistance, the
response is through RACES.
– Defined under Part 97 of the FCC Rules (47 C.F.R. 97.407)
– RACES operators are covered by government insurance.
– You become a RACES amateur radio operator by signing up for
DSW and registering with your local ARES/RACES organization.
EmComm for Saratoga
Think of ARES as “civilian” and RACES as “government; ARES as “no
insurance” and RACES as “insured.”
During a “non-declared emergency”, ARES can operate under ARES,
but when the emergency or disaster is officially declared by a
governmental authority, the operation can become RACES with no
change in personnel or frequencies.
Each city in Santa Clara County has an ARES Emergency Coordinator
position, and the person in that position is also that city's RACES Radio
At the county level is the ARES District Emergency Coordinator who is
also the RACES Chief Radio Operator.
An exception is Gilroy, which has as of 1996 put a new aspect of radio
communication, the Auxiliary Communications System (ACS), in place.
EmComm for Saratoga
• A current amateur radio license is required.
• Saratoga residency is not required.
• No formal training is required.
– Members should participate in the weekly net and the
quarterly drills to maintain operating proficiency.
– Should be able to program/reprogram radio, or follow
instructions to do so.
– Net Control experience is a plus.
– CERT training is a plus.
– Familiarity with ICS is desireable.
• Registration as a DSW for Saratoga is required for RACES
– See Jim Yoke to register.
EmComm for Saratoga
MOU with the City of Saratoga
SARA agrees to:
• Establish and maintain fixed, mobile and portable station
emergency communication capabilities for local amateur radio
coverage and point-to-point contact between City officials and
remote locations.
• Assist in operating, maintaining, and programming the Traveler’s
Information System (TIS) AM broadcast station.
• Conduct the monthly EOC radio test with County
EmComm for Saratoga
MOU with the City of Saratoga
The City of Saratoga agrees to:
• Make space available for a ARES/RACES two-way radio system
and placement of an antenna on the City’s antenna tower.
• Make reasonable accommodation to store a 8’ x 24’ tower-trailer
in the City Yard.
EmComm for Saratoga
SARA supports Saratoga CERT with radio communication resources.
– SARA ARES/RACES operates the EOC to communicate with
CERT divisions and the County.
• Each CERT division has one or more hams to communicate
with the EOC and between divisions.
• CERT uses FRS within the divisions.
– SARA conducts classes for Technician Class license exams.
– SARA provides orientation and training classes for new licensees.
• HT Orientation
• Two-Way Radio Basics
• HT Selection Seminar
• Radio cheat sheets
EmComm for Saratoga
EOC Comm Capability
• The EOC is equipped to communicate with:
– Local amateurs on 2-meter and 70 cm fm voice
– The County EOC on 2-meter fm voice
– The County EOC on 220 MHz packet
– The County EOC via the EOC radio net on 39 MHz
– Amateur radio stations and the OES on HF
• Requires installation of a temporary antenna.
EmComm for Saratoga
• ARES/RACES activation will probably be coincident with CERT
activation if the incident involves Saratoga.
• Monitor the SARA 2-meter repeater (K6SA) output frequency on
146.655 MHz if you suspect something is going on.
– This is your best source of local information.
– Has backup power system.
– Others with high-power base or mobile stations will fill in if
the repeater is down.
– Instructions will be given on this frequency.
• “Alert SCC” might provide telephone notification.
– Performance to date has been iffy.
– Telephones may be out of service.
EmComm for Saratoga
Activation Issues
• Spontaneous Untrained Volunteers
– There are about 300 licensed amateurs with a Saratoga zip
code in the FCC database.
• Many of them will want to help – this is good.
– May show up on the repeater.
– May show up at EOC.
– Ok to use for status reports from home, but must be DSW to
be deployed in any RACES activation.
• Will be referred to volunteer registration area, same as
any other volunteer.
• We need (and don’t have) a handout for all communicators.
• Telephone notification tree with City and within ARES/RACES is
EmComm for Saratoga
Go Kit (12-Hour)
Amateur Radio license.
Driver’s license.
DSW badge for requesting agency.
Personal supplies/snacks/water.
– CERT graduates already have this.
– Remember prescription medication.
Radio programmed with local frequencies
– Spare battery pack for radio
– Cheat sheet for radio
Pad and pencil or pen
Safety vest & hard hat
EmComm for Saratoga
Go Kit (12-Hour)
• Nice to have:
– Lapel speaker-mic or earpiece
– Improved HT antenna/rat tail
– Thomas Guide or local map
• See the SCC ARES/RACES website for more comprehensive
go-kit recommendations.
EmComm for Saratoga
Primary SARA Frequencies
Normal operation (duplex):
• 146.655 MHz, negative offset, 114.8 Hz PL tone
Repeater failure – stay on repeater output:
• 146.655 MHz, simplex, 114.8 Hz PL tone
Contingency (simplex)
• 146.505 MHz, simplex, no PL tone
• 145.595 MHz, simplex, no PL tone
EmComm for Saratoga
Alternate SARA Frequencies
Normal operation (duplex):
• 443.150 MHz, positive offset, 100 Hz PL tone
Repeater failure – stay on repeater output:
• 443.150 MHz, simplex, 100 Hz PL tone
• 28.400 MHz (Upper Sideband).
EmComm for Saratoga
Other Frequencies
• County Message Net (W6TI)*
147.360(+) MHz, PL 110.9 Hz
• County Command Net (WB6ZVW)*
442.500(+) MHz, PL 100.0 Hz
• County Resource Net (AA6BT)*
146.115(+) MHz, PL 100.0 Hz
• Santa Clara County ARA (W6UU)
146.985(–) MHz, PL 114.8 Hz
• West Valley ARA (W6PIY)
147.39(+) MHz, PL 151.4 Hz
*These assignments can change!
See the SCC ARES/RACES website for complete County frequency list.
EmComm for Saratoga
Operating Tips
• Keep the keypad locked when not in use.
– Prevents unintentional configuration changes.
– Disable everything except the memory channel selection
knob (maybe that, too!).
• Know how to program/reprogram your radio.
– Make, buy or steal a cheat sheet.
• YAESU users - be sure WIRES is turned off.
• Keep your batteries charged.
• Keep the HT antenna vertical when communicating.
EmComm for Saratoga
Training Opportunities
• Self Study
– Program your radio and make a cheat sheet to carry with
– Test signal strength to the repeater from various locations.
• Press PTT, identify yourself, press”8”, release PTT
– Make a rat tail for your HT.
– Available through County FD (contact Jim Yoke)
• Quarterly Drills & Communications Exercises
• SARA Classes
– HT Orientation, Two-Way Radio Basics
• Weekly Saratoga Net
– Sunday 2100 hrs
EmComm for Saratoga
Training Opportunities
• ARRL On-Line Courses
– EC-001 Introduction to Emergency Communication
• ICS & NIMS On-Line Classes
– IS-100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System
– IS-200 – ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action
– IS-700 – National Incident Management System, An
– These classes may become a requirment for “first
• MAC Classes
– Available through County ARES/RACES
EmComm for Saratoga
Changing Times
• It used to be that if you had a two-way radio and showed up at
an incident, you were welcomed.
• Now you’re likely to be viewed as a pest or a terrorist.
• So …..
– Be professional.
– Follow instructions/orders/requests.
– Resist the temptation to voice “a better way.”
– Stay alert.
– Avoid talking to the news media.
EmComm for Saratoga
MAC Program
• Mutual Aid Communicators (MACs) are amateur radio operators
who have volunteered their time, their expertise and their
equipment to provide communications services during times of
• These individuals are trained and prepared to provide a variety
of communications services and are available for deployment
throughout the county, according to the county mutual aid
• The MAC Program defines standards of performance and
includes several types and levels of qualifications.
– These qualifications are the basis for resource typing and
effective and efficient resource assignment.
EmComm for Saratoga
• NIMS (National Incident Management System) was developed
so responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines can
work together better to respond to natural disasters and
emergencies, including acts of terrorism.
• ICS (Incident Command System) is a part of NIMS. It is a
widely applicable management system designed to enable
effective, efficient incident management by integrating a
combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and
communications operating within a common organizational
• You’ll see ICS being used in the EOC during exercises and
– Not much different than Field Day.
EmComm for Saratoga
• The following three ICS courses are web-based and take an
hour or two each to complete.
• They are required for all MACs and recommended for RACES
– IS-100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System
– IS-200 – ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action
– IS-700 – National Incident Management System, An
EmComm for Saratoga
Issues and Concerns
• EOC emergency power
– Unknown if Fire Department emergency generator actually
powers the building/EOC.
• County Command Net (WB6ZVW) signal is marginal
• MAC course availability
– Almost always on the first Saturday of a month.
• Saratoga activation procedure
– Never successfully exercised from top down?
EmComm for Saratoga
Useful Links
• Santa Clara County ARES/RACES
– www.scc-ares-races.org
• Silicon Valley Emergency Communication System
– www.svecs.org
• American Radio Relay League
– www.arrl.org
• County frequency list
– www.scc-ares-races.org/freqs/freqs.html
EmComm for Saratoga
Alphabet Soup
SARA – Saratoga Amateur Radio Association
CERT – Community Emergency Response Team
MOU – Memorandum of Understanding
ARRL – American Radio Relay League
ARES – Amateur Radio Emergency Service
RACES – Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
EOC – Emergency Operations Center
DSW – Disaster Service Worker
MAC – Mutual Aid Communicator
SUV – Spontaneous Untrained Volunteer
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
NIMS – National Incident Management System
ICS – Incident Command System
ACS – Auxiliary Communications Service
SEMS – Standardized Emergency Management System
EmComm for Saratoga