October 1, 2011 marks the date for the 2011 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET). The SET is a readiness exercise to test the capabilities of ARES/RACES emergency communications groups. Unlike Field Day which is more points based and social, the SET drill is usually based around a scenario. This year our local ARES/RACES group chose to test our capabilities by assembling a HF, VHF/UHF station in the parking lot of one of our served agencies, the Marathon County Red Cross.
Our ARES group designed our SET scenario to test a few different capabilities: Use ICS forms to plan the operation, assemble the station in a wild location, be a regional resource for the state’s ARES/RACES communication network. Despite a few hiccups, we achieved our objectives that we outlined in the plan. The ICS forms worked well for our purposes and all future ARES activities will include filling out an ICS-202 prior to starting the activity. If your ARES team is ICS-100 and IS-700 trained, there is no reason why you shouldn’t utilize these resources.
As a side note, we used a KB9VBR 440 MHz UHF J-Pole to connect to a wide are net and a KB9VBR 2 meter J-Pole to run our Winlink station. HF antenna was a home brew 120 foot dipole with open wire feed.