As of this writing, we are at AmCON-2. There is a heightened risk of cyber attacks against critical infrastructure in western nations due to the escalating war in Europe.
If escalations continue, we can count on large scale cyber attacks targeting (at minimum) infrastructures that include telecommunications, internet, transportation and navigation, and commerce. This includes satellites, and has the potential to affect just about every person on earth either directly or indirectly.
EXPECT CYBER ATTACKS AND DISRUPTIONS
- An EMP, while possible, is much less likely than cyber attacks. Still, keep any unnecessary/unused radios, electronics, thumb drives, etc. stored in faraday.
- Cyber attacks can be very precisely targeted. Just because the grid is down where you are doesn’t mean it is for other states or whole regions.
- AmRRON operators are on the air all the time, during what is called the Persistent Presence Net. For most of AmRRON operators, the grid going down is mostly a business-as-usual ordeal in terms of radio operations and finding others on the air. This is a great way to request the latest information from others who may have traffic (SITREPS, Intelligence Briefs, etc.). The Persistent Presence Nets exist for the purpose of increasing the chances of reaching someone if you need help or need to pass traffic through the net to a destination. If you need to call for “help!” there is a station monitoring and able to receive messages and traffic nearly any time of day, every day.
- What do we DO if war breaks out? We don’t do anything different than what we do every day already.
- We make contact with other operators and find out who is out there and determine what quality of path we have with them. (JS8Call and FSQCall are superb digital mode tools for this).
- We stay informed by getting information from the net if there is any new news
- We report information that might be of significant importance to others
- We stand by ready to relay traffic from one point to another, if needed.
- We are ready to serve, if requests for handling traffic or running a net is announced.
- ICE (In Case of Emergency) — Specifically, if you suddenly find yourself in a grid-down situation that you strongly suspect is related to a cyber attack
- Assess: Do you have commercial power? Cell service? Data? Internet? Landline? Roads passable? Medical emergency? Normal services? Local ham repeaters operational?
- Turn on VHF/UHF radios and tune to your local AmRRON net (if you have one); Turn on scanner and monitor local ham repeaters, emergency services, airports, NOAA, etc.
- Create an abbreviated STATREP to share with others, if you have transmit capabilities. Share locally, and be prepared to share regionally or statewide if you are HF capable.
- Refer to your Signals Operating Instructions. Tune in to the next scheduled net. If there is not a net scheduled right away, then tune to the AmRRON Persistent Presence Net on the HF bands. Digital mode software is used on the HF bands, such as FLDIGI, JS8Call, and FSQCall, primarily.
- Even if you are not equipped or experienced in transmitting over the HF bands, you can still tune in and receive information, even if you’re not licensed. You can learn more about how to do this at https://amrron.com/2022/01/13/how-to-receive-net-traffic-and-nwotw-if-not-an-hf-station/.
- AmRRON NETS
- Do more listening than transmitting! Avoid adding to unnecessary congestion on the air.
- In the event of a cyber (or other) attack on critical infrastructure resulting in loss of internet, cell, data, phone, etc., assume that we are at AmCON-1.
- For stations with adequate backup power, we encourage as many as possible to maintain a presence on the Persistent Presence Net.
- AmCON-1, expect to go to ‘Schedule 1’ nets (See Page 14 of your Signals Operating Instructions), unless directed otherwise. One National Daytime Net on both 20 meters and 40 meters, and one evening Regional Rolling Net on 80 meters.
- Be flexible. We will adjust the net schedule based on the situation. Keeping one regional net per day will help direct stations to a common time, frequency, and mode, for those managing backup power resources, such as generator fuel and/or solar battery power, etc.
- Be sure to maintain a local presence on your VHF/UHF frequencies, and don’t neglect the CH3 stations. Share what you know.
- If an NCS is running a net, follow instructions and allow for Priority or higher traffic. Emergency/Priority traffic has the right of way.
- ACTION ITEMS
- Stow unused electronics, thumb drives, external drives, radios, etc. in faraday protection boxes/containers
- Backup your hard drives and sensitive or valuable files on thumb drives or external drives
- Top off fuel and charge batteries
- Conduct communications checks and finalize comms plans with others in your local networks
- Update any software and program your radios, including updating your scanner radio receivers
- WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE AIR
- Expect to send in an abbreviated STATREP when NCS asks for it, so have it prepared and keep it updated
- Expect to receive an IES (Initial Event Summary) from Net Control (NCS), sharing what he/she knows about the extent of the event, the size and scope, and any other information he may have gathered up to the moment that the grid/comms went down. These will vary from one NCS to the other if you are able to tune in to more than one net. Compile these to help you gain a clearer picture of the situation.
- Expect SITREPs and other additional details in subsequent nets as the NCS, and others, are able to collect information
- If there is a significant development and you have first-hand, or confirmed, knowledge, be prepared to submit a SITREP (Situation Report) to the net, but consider its relevance to others you are sending it to. It’s not critical information to someone in Georgia to know that a bridge is out in Wyoming.
- Don’t expect regular check-ins like you would normally see during practice nets. It’s not about “checking in” unless the NCS asks for check-ins