2020 SATERN Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Exercise

On October 3, 2020, Johnson County ARES, Johnson County Emergency Communications Service (ECS) (the County RACES organization) and the Kansas/Western Missouri Division of SATERN participated cooperatively in the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) with a common exercise plan. Due to Covid-19, participants this year will mostly be operating from their homes rather than being deployed to field locations.

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) is an all volunteer organization made up of currently licensed amateur radio operators who volunteer their time and efforts toward aiding The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services ministry. The purpose of SATERN is to acquire and train personnel skilled in emergency communications and message handling, who will support Salvation Army operations in local, regional and international disaster situations.

As a member of SATERN in Wichita, Kansas, in addition to participating in the message handling exercise, I’ve been tasked with running net control of our VHF net for the Wichita area. Net control duties went fine but some of the message handling was challenging. Messages passed locally on 2 meters was pretty simple but the HF traffic presented some challenges. How well you hear other stations on HF, of course, is highly dependent on propagation and it was not great during this exercise. I was able to get some relays through the International Satern net on 7.265 Mhz, albeit with quite a bit of interference from other stations. Apparently, the California QSO Party kicked off about the same time as our exercise and the band was full of signals.

Like previous exercises I’ve participated in, when it was over I was exhausted.