ARRL, the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) will partner on Monday, August 21, to provide a nationwide communication link for local and regional American Red Cross units should a communications failure occur during the solar eclipse.
“Concern has been expressed by public safety, emergency management, and others that the large number of people — over 7.5 million nationwide — flowing into the relatively narrow path of totality may overload and disrupt the normal communication infrastructure in some local areas,” SATERN said in its August 17 newsletter.
If that happens, the Red Cross will use local Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) units to provide local back-up communication. The Red Cross is interested in regional and national HF communication capability and the ability to pass traffic to its Digital Operations Coordination Center (DOCC) at its national headquarters. At ARRL’s request, SATERN will activate its net on 14.265 MHz on an extended monitoring status, from 1400 until 2200 UTC on August 21. The SATERN Net also may be used as a clearing house for voice traffic if the Red Cross requires long-range or nationwide communication capability.
Stations checking into the SATERN net will be asked to report any local conditions that provide The Salvation Army, the Red Cross, or ARRL with such “ground intelligence” as telecommunications infrastructure outages associated with the eclipse, special preparations being made by communities for handling large crowds, and any ARES, RACES, or other Amateur Radio public service communications activated to assist during the eclipse.
In addition, W1AW will activate to provide WinLink connectivity to the Red Cross DOCC, monitor HF channels with federal partners, and provide coordination assistance between national partners and the field organization.
Contingency plans were discussed during an August 15 conference call that involved ARRL staff, American Red Cross headquarters staff and regional disaster officers, the SATERN national liaison, and ARRL Section Managers and Section Emergency Coordinators.
Most ARRL Sections have already been working with the Red Cross and will be on standby. Several shared ICS 205 Communications Plans with ARRL, SATERN, and Red Cross, indicating that they plan to use nets on 40, 60, and 80 meters to handle traffic, mostly between the field and state emergency operations centers (EOCs).
FEMA Region 10 will be monitoring and conducting a net, as necessary, on the 5 MHz/60-meter band frequencies in support of the upcoming solar eclipse on August 18-23. The following suppressed carrier reference frequencies, also known as dial frequencies or window frequencies, 5330.5 kHz, 5346.5 kHz, 5357.0 kHz, 5371.5 kHz, and 5403.5 kHz, will be used as part of the event.
FEMA Region 10 will be using call sign WGY910 from its regional office in Bothell, Washington. FEMA Region 10 will also be using amateur call sign KF0EMA from Redmond, Oregon. Other stations that may be monitoring and/or participating as necessary in support of this event.
The FEMA point of contact is Dave Adsit, KG4BIR, FEMA Spectrum Manager, (540) 272-4605.