DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club Participates in Emergency Exercise – “Winter Storm 2012”

October 17, 2012
by: 
William Freddy Curtis
KD4WFE-Clarence Gilley and KG4IKT – Jeff Estal
W4ODB – David Brown -Portable Amateur Radio Setup
N4WJT – Billy Hooper- Portable Amateur Radio Setup

Members of the DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club participated in an emergency exercise on Saturday, October 6th, 2012. The Simulated Emergency Test exercise was titled “Winter Storm 2012.” The drill was conducted in association with DeKalb & Cannon County EMAs. The exercise scenario was a Winter Storm entered Tennessee from the West near Memphis and moved into Middle Tennessee West of Nashville by noon on Saturday. The storm shut down all major Interstates and Highways across West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee. There was major widespread Power Outages across West and Middle Tennessee during the next several hours which included Cannon and DeKalb counties.

Local Amateur Radio Operators utilized local radio repeaters and then utilized their emergency skills for stations in point-to-point contact. Portable High Frequency and VHF/UHF stations and antenna systems were constructed, evaluated for performance, and deployed at several locations including DeKalb West School, Woodland School, and atop Short Mountain. Emergency Amateur Radio stations at Cannon County High School, DeKalb Community Hospital, and Stones’ River Hospital were also activated and evaluated for effectiveness.

The Amateur Radio station at the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center located at the Smithville Fire Hall was the Command Center for the exercise.

Communications were sent to the State Emergency Operations Center at TEMA in Nashville, Tennessee via wireless computer-radio access. These messages relayed the latest emergency status in DeKalb and Cannon Counties. This involved the following process: Messages were sent from either the DeKalb EOC or a mobile station setup atop Short Mountain. It was transmitted by HF radio to an automated station in another part of the U.S., outside the local simulated disaster area. It then went via one of five hardened servers located worldwide (for redundancy), and then into the regular Internet, to be delivered via e-mail anywhere that e-mail is available. Thus, if the Internet were down locally or even regionally, by using the Winlink 2000 system, we would still have some e-mail capabilities. This is in addition to and separate from the usual local and area VHF/UHF operations.

A total of 14 Amateur Radio Operators from throughout Middle Tennessee checked into the emergency radio network. Local amateur repeaters were utilized, as well as, VHF/UHF and High Frequency point-to-point contact. Those local DeKalb /Cannon County Amateur Radio Operators involved in the exercise included W3HKG – Bob Mitchell, N4WJT – Billy Hooper, KD4WFE – Clarence Gilley, N4LZY - Jerry Elkins, KK4GBO – James Young, AC4QP – Buck Barton, KG4IKT – Jeff Estal, W4ODB – David Brown, KK4JUO – Wade Campbell, NN9J – Steve Kujawski , NF9G – Kathy Kujawski, and KC4GUG – Freddy Curtis - DeKalb & Cannon County Amateur Radio Emergency Coordinator. Additional stations checking into the radio network were KD4WX – John O’Conner ARRL – ARES District 6 Emergency Coordinator, KK4ISW – Dallas Rife of Shelbyville, and WB4CWS – Gary George of McMinnville.

The club would like to thank DeKalb County Emergency Management Director Charlie Parker, Faye Morse – Cannon County EMA Director, DeKalb Community Hospital, and Stones’ River Hospital for their support of local participation in this annual state-wide exercise.

The DeKalb County Amateur Radio Club is an organization of Amateur Radio operators from DeKalb/Cannon and Surrounding Counties and is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League. The next club meeting will be on Thursday, October 25th, 2012 - 6:30 PM at the DeKalb County Complex, 722 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. Any person interested in Amateur Radio is invited to attend.

Picture Captions:

Picture 1
KD4WFE – Clarence Gilley and KG4IKT – Jeff Estal - Portable Amateur Radio Setup atop a very foggy Short Mountain at the SET Exercise on Saturday, October 6th, 2012.

Picture 2
W4ODB – David Brown – Portable Amateur Radio Setup in a portable trailer at Woodland School in southern Cannon County, TN.

Picture 3
N4WJT – Billy Hooper – Portable Amateur Radio Setup under the pavilion at DeKalb West School in Liberty, TN.

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