EmComm

Winlink to Play Role in 'Cascadia Rising' Exercise

Cascadia Rising Logo

"Cascadia Rising," the largest FEMA exercise of 2016, will get under way on June 7, and Oregon and Washington ARES/RACES organizations both will be heavily involved, with a significant investment in HF activity planned. The scenario will be an earthquake and tsunami disaster involving the entire Pacific Northwest, and the exercise will start with a blackout of all normal, regular communication systems. Amateur Radio will provide emergency/disaster alternate communication systems, and participants will include Maxim Memorial Station W1AW at ARRL Headquarters. The plan calls for W1AW to be active and monitoring, and possibly passing traffic, if necessary, W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, said. ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said Cascadia Rising will also involve the Emergency Response Team at ARRL Headquarters.

"Along with participation via Winlink and HF voice, we will use it as an opportunity to exercise the ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team," Corey said. "This team is called up to support the ARRL Field Organization during a major disaster, when support cannot be provided during normal business hours. The last activation of the team was during hurricane Irene in 2011."

According to FEMA, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), and the resulting tsunami would present the most complex disaster scenario that emergency managers and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face; Cascadia Rising is an exercise to address that disaster. The exercise will conclude on June 10.

According to FEMA, emergency operations centers (EOCs) and emergency coordination centers (ECCs) at all levels of government and in the private sector will activate to conduct simulated field response operations within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands. The military departments in Washington and Oregon will activate.

"Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels -- cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations -- as well as non-government organizations and the private sector," FEMA said. "One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team."

Thanks to John Core, KX7YT, Oregon ARES District 1 Emergency Coordinator for some information. Republished with permission by the ARRL.
For more information see the FEMA web site https://www.fema.gov/cascadia-rising-2016
Participating SHARES, Amateur and MARS Winlink operators may want to download, install, and practice the Washington State HTML forms package.

Mexican Amateurs Support Winlink for Emergency Communications

XE2/N6KZB tests XE2BNC Gateway.

A three year program to fund Winlink gateways was completed this week with the installation of XE1CRG.

Mexico is a diverse country where HF communications plays a role in disaster recoveries and during emergencies. While Mexico's infrastructure is complete and modern, there are areas where Internet connectivity does not exists. And so Mexican amateurs who provide support to local Protection Civil offices and other agencies have had a history of using HF voice.

We conducted a demonstration for officials In 2011 of various HF data modes. Mr. Pinilla XE1VP, from the University of Mexico was impressed with the portable Winlink HF station and easy delivery to internet-based email recipients. This started a planning and funding process to install 4 complete Winlink gateways.

To date four systems at a cost of $20,000.00 have been established at reliable sites with local area support.

XE2BNC Tijuana
XE1VP Toluca
XE2EOS Chiapas
XE1CRG Guanajuato

Each system is configured with the Icom 7200 with an SCS Dragon Pactor modem. The sites are secure with local battery back-up. All gateways run Pactor and WINMOR 1600. The sites also have packet radio ports for training and local use.

Since Mexico is allowed auto-forwarding and Pactor 4 operation, all the gateways participate in the Winlink Hybrid Network, offering radio-only message transport in the event of internet failure, and MPS (Message Pickup Station) delivery. One site near the Guatemalan border, XE2EOS, looses internet connectivity from time-to-time but with HF auto-forwarding email continues to reliably flow.

This commitment by Mexico's small amateur community is also supported by F.M.R.E., (Mexico's ARRL), http://www.fmre.org.mx. Technical and financial support has come from many local amateurs: XE2SI XE2GF XE1RZ XE2EOS XE1BRX.

Winlink has proven reliable and robust for the remote email and peer messaging needs in Mexico. These systems are open to the worldwide amateur community and are actively exercised by US amateurs and many foreign visiting boaters and voyagers on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The comfort level for officials for emergencies provided by these gateways is a testament to the dedication and hard work of
many, to include the Winlink Development Team.

--Mike Burton, XE2/N6KZB

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