Here is some guidance for participating in T-REX 2018!
1. ///EXERCISE EXERCISE/// Some of the traffic we pass is very plausible and realistic. Many who stumble across our traffic nets may not realize we are conducting a training exercise and could believe there is a real world emergency developing. Always precede and end your traffic with the disclosure that this is a training net. In voice modes, say "Exercise Exercise Exercise. The following is traffic for the T-Rex disaster preparedness exercise of 2018." And at the end, "... again, this is only a training exercise." For digital modes, add slants before and after your emergency training traffic: /// EXERCISE /// or /// TRAINING EXERCISE /// 2. As the Army training adage goes, 'Train hard, fight easy', or 'An ounce of sweat in training saves a gallon of blood on the battlefield'. Although we want people to have successes and victories during training, which builds confidence, we also need to embrace the 'suck' when we're training. Due to the solar cycle and other solar weather factors, the band conditions are expected to absolutely SUCK! This is a very real world factor that we could be (and have been) faced with in real world emergency situations. Make every reasonable attempt to pass or relay traffic. Use whatever method or mode you can, as often as you're able, until your traffic gets passed, or until you receive traffic others are attempting to pass to you or others. If you are having great difficulty due to band conditions, DO NOT FREAK OUT, and do not get discouraged. Pass what you can, when you can. There WILL be traffic that never makes it out of the gate or never reaches its intended destination. Some of you WILL have antenna, transceiver, tuner, power, computer, software, etc failures. Don't sweat it. Work through it the best you can. This is training and this is designed to reveal shortcomings in your communications equipment, training, and overall capabilities. 3. DIGITAL MODES WILL RULE THE DAY. If you do not have (at the very least) digital receiving capabilities, you need to go to www.AmRRON.com and type 'Digital' in the search box. There are several articles there to help get you up to speed. The software is free. This is how most traffic will be passed in this training exercise, and real world events. It is reliable and gets through when voice does not. When tuning in to talk or listen, follow the Signals Operating Instructions. However, keep in mind that some of the bands may be unusable due to propagation, sun spot activity, sometimes for hours or days. If you cannot hear activity on 20m, wait for the 40m band time window. If you cannot copy any activity on 40m after ten minutes, switch to 80m frequency (applies to both voice and digital time windows). If the band has deteriorated and has become unusable, Net Control Station (NCS) operators should move the nets from 40m to 80m (or from 80m to 40m) after ten minutes of attempting to use the primary band. Obviously if the band has deteriorated, the NCS cannot tell everyone to switch (aka. QSY) to the alternate band. Each operator should follow the net and do this on his own. Remember the rule of thumb -- TEN MINUTES of no activity? Then switch! The AmRRON SOI calls for Contestia 4/250 and MT-631KL for the standardized digital modes. However, the situation on the ground (in the air) will often dictate your course of action in a real world situation. USE WHATEVER MODE GETS THE JOB DONE THE FASTEST! Feel free to use MFSK 64 (fast), 32 (medium), or 16 (slowest but surest) modes. The MFSK modes are also best suited for sending images using fldigi. 4. Take good notes about what went well, what did not, and improvements needed to your station, your equipment, your skills, and your local/area/regional network. 5. NET CONTROL STATIONS. You are expected to be on the air, but you won't be alone! There will be six SIGCENs (Signals Centers) with three to ten operators who are deploying together. They will be coordinating with other SIGCENs across the country and will be standing by to assist you. They will also help establish a roster of volunteer stations so you can have some relief, and they are prepared to step up as Net Control Stations where gaps are identified. SIGCENs will also be contacting you to distribute Executive Summaries, News and Information releases, etc. We're all in this together. We're all patriots. We all want to help each other succeed, so don't get frustrated and take it out on others who are trying to come alongside and help you. 6. SIGCENS. You have been requested to provide communications support by various elements of leadership in your community or region. For some of you, your local sheriff who does not have an active ARES/RACES group in his county has asked for help. For others, groups of community leaders inside and outside government positions have asked you for assistance with communications to stay informed on regional/national developments. And for others, the local ARES/RACES groups are overwhelmed with what needs to be done and you have deployed to augment communications and fill gaps that the county EOC cannot cover. In all cases, the SIGCENs' secondary function besides local EMERGENCY traffic, is to correspond and coordinate with the other AmRRON SIGCENs, and National SIGCEN, to keep the network informed and connected. DO NOT NEGLECT THE CH3 COVERAGE, MONITORING, AND TRANSMITTING OF INFORMATION. There is no other viable system to keep the 'average joe citizen' connected and informed in a grid down situation. Black Echo Broadcasting Stations can be a huge asset in many cases.