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After-Action Report of Simulated Emergency Test 2019

posted Nov 11, 2019, 2:40 AM by C. Matthew Curtin
Central Ohio Traffic Net's After-Action Report (AAR) for the annual Simulated Emergency Test (SET) 2019 is now available from the collection of COTN Reports. As reported to ARRL earlier, we had a high level of activity this year, moving a total of 122 messages, including some agency traffic delivered as populated ICS-213 General Message forms. Over two days of operation, we had 37 unique stations join the nets, 25 of which were on emergency (non-grid) power. Of the 37 stations, 13 were new licensees since 2015, seven acted as net control stations for at least one session, and seven acted as NTS traffic net liaisons.

Five minutes short of 26 hours of operation, SET nets highlighted both strengths and weaknesses of COTN specifically and of the traffic system in Ohio generally. Assessment of those strengths and weaknesses led to several recommendations.

Strengths identified include our ability to fill a schedule of more than twelve hours per day for two days, effective use of repeater systems, clear and consistent use of directed nets, maintaining circuits to agency stations at Ohio EMA, Franklin County EMA, and Ohio Military Reserve, maintaining liaison with other voice nets, prompt and complete session reporting, and good delivery of traffic by phone, email, and in person.

Operation also identified areas for improvement, namely limited effective footprint in simplex operations, some difficulty in switching between directed and free nets, ambiguities in net control logs, limited use of available circuits to move traffic in parallel, limited number of liaison stations, limited number of stations able to operate in CW and digital modes, and a need for improved procedure for handling traffic originated from and to be delivered in standardized forms such as the ICS-213.

Nineteen recommendations followed:
  1. Create improved system for calling and maintaining emergency mode operation.
  2. Make regular use of all repeaters identified in our SOP.
  3. Conduct more simplex nets.
  4. Create a simplex coverage map of our served area.
  5. Continue to operate directed nets.
  6. Eliminate requirement for directed net.
  7. Conduct free nets.
  8. Establish procedure for switching between directed nets and free nets.
  9. Continue operations with W8SGT.
  10. Continue operations with W8OMR.
  11. Move stations to other circuits for relay.
  12. Coordinate with FCACC to provide net control operators.
  13. Train and encourage operators in HF voice traffic handling.
  14. Encourage CW operators.
  15. Encourage NTSD/DTN operators.
  16. Train in logging.
  17. Encourage non-voice modes.
  18. Encourage liaison stations.
  19. Ensure that message delivery is exercised at agencies such as Franklin County EMA.
The complete report is available from the COTN Reports collection as AAR SET 2019.

COTN thanks everyone for their participation and looks forward to developing the training plan for calendar year 2020 and making other recommended changes that will improve performance in ensuring that amateur radio remains ready and capable for public service.
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