Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Oliver K6OLI
 

ARES LAX Northeast district uses NBEMS and Winlink quite extensively. We have written couple of Quick Setup Guides and we provide regular workshops as well as a weekly NBEMS/Winlink net on VHF. Our NBEMS/Winlink nets are all simplex because our basic assumption no infrastructure survives in a disaster and any that does is a bonus we are happy to employ. Simplex nets also have the advantage that they train operators to relay smartly, identify and address any station issues quickly and they are a lot of fun! 
Other groups like LACDCS practice NBEMS on repeaters so there is a variety of approaches for operators to choose from and practice with.

Our NBEMS net usually has an experimental portion, where operators can try whatever is on their mind, and an exercise portion, where we send mission specific traffic. We usually operate MT63-2KL on 2m FM and at times on 2m SSB for the practice nets.    

With respect to forms we use two approaches: for ICS forms we use the excellent built-in forms in Flmsg. For the forms required by L.A. County, i.e. Hospital Status Assessments, Resource Requests and Mass Casualty Incident Polls, we use CSV files. We did experiment with HTML forms for the latter but it turned out that CSV are easier to use, fill out and adapt when needed.

It is all part of our concept of Operational Flexibility where the operator deployed at a hospital makes the decision what the most efficient way of transmitting traffic is. We focus on bandwidth, so we would expect operators to choose AREDN MESH first, then VHF/UHF and then HF, if amateur radio is the only option.



73,
Oliver K6OLI


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