Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 MARS COMEX & ARES-Oklahoma 8 NOV 2015

2015 MARS COMEX & ARES-Oklahoma
Exercise Date  Sunday, November 8, 2015
Exercise Times  Amateur activity may operate during the approx. time frame - from 1000L and should conclude activity by 1700L.

At the end of this week Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) will conduct a coronal mass ejection (CME) disaster communication exercise.  ARES-Oklahoma, as well as all any Radio Amateur group involved in providing emergency communications (such as supporting a local EOC) in Oklahoma are asked to assist with this exercise.
ARES-Oklahoma participation
To support the MARS COMEX we ask all ARES-Oklahoma to participate in gathering information requested by MARS stations working the MARS COMEX.
To that end ARES-OK will call THREE Statewide HF nets and ALL LOCAL groups, ARES-OK or other affiliation are encouraged to call at VHF/UHF net to support local information gathering during the MARS COMEX.
What's working in this exercise?
VHF/UHF Simplex or Repeaters
Our ingenuity
Statewide HF Nets during MARS COMEX
The ARES-OK Statewide HF ARES Net will be active at several scheduled times to support the MARS COMEX - the times noted below.
ALL Radio Amateurs in OKLAHOMA are encouraged to check-in to the ARES-OK Statewide HF ARES Net.
The ARES-OK Statewide HF Net will be active in support of MARS COMEX for the purpose of forwarding messages over longer distances than can not be handled on local VHF and UHF nets, and to give increased exposure to ARES throughout the state and to encourage ARES membership and activity through a high level of visibility. This is also a good opportunity for all OKLAHOMA Radio Amateurs to test and practice operations HF equipment -- IF POSISABLE -- BUT NOT REQUIRED - on back up powers systems and/or NVIS type antennas.
Net #1 ARES-OK Statewide HF Net -Start time 1100L
Net #2 ARES-OK Statewide HF Net -Start time 1300L
Net #3 (the Regular weekly) ARES-OK Statewide HF Net -at 1530L (2130 UTC)
Length of each Net will be based on traffic volume and need.
Primary frequency: 7260KHz  Lower Sideband Phone +/- QRM (+/- QRM = translates to up or down the band depending on use or noise).  ALT frequency:      3900KHz  Lower Sideband Phone +/- QRMYou may have to tune around to find the net.
ARES-OK Net Control Stations (NCS) will be controlling this net session.For Net #1 & #2 of the day these will be open to ALL stations supporting the MARS COMEX. NCS will NOT use the "Roll Call" check-in system for these nets. Suggest that the NCS take check-in by Regions of the State (Section).Net #3 checking into the net will follow the "Roll Call" check-in system that is normally conducted during the weekly Sunday ARES-OK HF Net.Once the roll is complete the Net will be open to check-ins/comments from ALL Radio Amateurs in OKLAHOMA. At the discretion of the ARES-OK Net Control Station -- any of the nets should be opened up to check-in stations from outside of Oklahoma.
Local VHF/UHF Nets during MARS COMEX
ARES-OK or other affiliation are encouraged to call a VHF/UHF net to support local information gathering during the MARS COMEX. It is highly recommended that there be a strong liaison between each local net/group and the Statewide HF nets to facilitate the efficient movement of traffic and information gathering for the MARS COMEX.LOCAL VHF/UHF Net -Start time 1200L Length of the Net will be based on traffic volume and need.
ICS-201 and ICS-205 forms for the upcoming COMEX have been uploaded to the file area of the ARES-Oklahoma Yahoo group.  They provide detailed information that is summarized below.
1) The exercise officially goes from 071200Z Nov to 102359Z Nov and is a simulation of a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) event and geomagnetic storm.  That will put the exercise from 06:00 AM Saturday, November 7th to 6 PM on Tuesday, November 10th.
2) Messages will be sent within the MARS network to KC5MWZ.  KC5MWZ will forward the messages via RMS Express/Winmor to the AE5ME-12 system.  Messages should be addressed to KC5MWZ@KC5MWZ to insure they are routed correctly through the system.
3) EOCs and individuals will retrieve the messages from the AE5ME-12 system on either HF (Winmor) or packet (VHF).  No telnet connections will be allowed, as it is assumed that internet facilities have been compromised and are unreliable.
4) EOCs and individuals will respond the messages and place them back on the AE5ME-12 system to be relayed back to KC5MWZ.  KC5MWZ will then collect the messages and pass on the appropriate information back to MARS.
5) 071200Z through 080900Z Nov will be the "notification" phase of the COMEX.  That will be from 06:00 AM Saturday to 03:00 AM Sunday.  A CME is considered "likely" and preparations will need to be made to protect radio and computer equipment.
6) At 080001Z Nov (6:01 PM Saturday), MARS will be notified of the pending CME.  All equipment is to be disconnected from ALL wiring and antennas between 080900Z through 081200Z Nov (3:00 AM Sunday to 6:00 AM Sunday).  No radio operations will be conducted during the simulated "geomagnetic storm".
7) High Intensity Network operations will commence shortly after 081200Z (6:00 AM Sunday).  Requests for information for county messages will be forwarded to MARS and MARS stations will begin contacting counties.
8) While the exercise it expected to last until Tuesday, I would expect the most intense amount of messaging to be after 6:00 AM on Sunday until 6:00 PM Sunday.  The AE5ME-12 system will be operating on a combination of battery and generator power during the first 24 hours of the exercise, then restore commercial power on Monday and Tuesday.
9) The 146.985 repeater will be available for technical questions during the Sunday portion of the exercise.  If you are having problems sending or receiving messages on RMS Express, contact AE5ME on that frequency.  Messages still get routed through VHF and HF on the published frequencies in the ICS-205.
10) A group of 8 hams have been busy getting up to speed on RMS Express and operating on either VHF or HF on the AE5ME-12 system.  The list includes KF5RCI, AD5JL, WB5ANX, WA5VXI, WD9GET, WY7RM, KD5NJR, and KC5SHE.  Of course, KC5MWZ and AE5ME will be involved as the "hub" stations for OKC and Tulsa respectively.
Documentation & ReportingAll events REQUIRE proper documentation.All tactical traffic should be logged by each station on an ICS-309AR form. station/group should log all activity on an ICS-214 form. message traffic should be written to insure proper handling of the message. To better interface with our served agencies ARES-OK will work toward transitioning to the NIMS message form ISC-213. The ISC-213 form may be downloaded from and reproduced as necessary.  There is NO reporting requirement for non-MARS stations.
Got Questions?If you have questions about the MARS portion of this COMEX, please contact Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY  If you have questions about DIGITAL please contact Jeff Scoville, AE5ME ae5me@yahoo.comIf you have questions about ARES-OK please contact your Regional EC via the "Contact Us" tab on and/or please feel free to contact the SEC.
Good Luck,Mark Conklin, N7XYO
Oklahoma Section Emergency Coordinator
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
BACKGROUND:ARES/RACES Teams Expected to Join MARS in Coronal Mass Ejection Disaster ExercisePreparations are nearly in place for the previously announced Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) coronal mass ejection (CME) disaster communication exercise, which will take place Saturday through Tuesday, November 7-10. Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) groups are expected to participate in the quarterly contingency HF exercise in support of the US Department of Defense.
"We are looking forward to this exercise and the opportunity to partner and train with the larger Amateur Radio community," Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, told ARRL. The exercise scenario will simulate a CME event and focus on actions that radio operators should take prior to and following such an event, which could impact HF propagation. English said leaders from Army and Air Force MARS will hold a final exercise coordination teleconference on October 28 "to answer any final questions about the exercise and make sure everyone is ready to train."
English said he's responded to some 90 inquiries from ARES and RACES groups as well as from individuals who would like to involve their ARES teams, and he expects about 50 ARES/RACES-affiliated organizations to participate. He said a few additional active duty military units also hope to take part in the exercise.
English said the November exercise would simulate a radio blackout as well as infrastructure damage. "During the exercise, we will simulate the blackout with a 3 hour pause, and then we will bring stations back on air and begin handling requests for information," he told ARRL.
Training objectives for this exercise will include understanding what a CME is and how much forecast lead time can be expected; the effects associated with a CME, and what precautions radio operators take to protect their equipment, prior to a severe CME. Following the simulated CME, operators will assess its effects and report that information. This will involve "inter-operation with Amateur Radio operators and groups to assist in assessment," English said.

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