FEMA HF Interoperability Exercise

On the third Wednesday of each month, FEMA Region X conducts a COMMEX consisting of radio check in’s from authorized state, tribal, federal and amateur stations to test HF interoperability in case of an emergency or disaster response.  Cities, counties, tribes, authorized Federal agencies and amateur operators that support jurisdictional emergency management organizations are welcome to participate.  The coordination and authorization of this net between Federal stations and amateur licensees has been coordinated and authorized by the NTIA and the FCC. (Download full FEMA press release by clicking: RX COMMEX Plan_MAR2017_PublicRelease.)

This 3rd Wednesday net will include a digital component intended as a 1-way broadcast message to test the ability for FEMA to send messages, and remote stations to receive.  In order to ensure compatibility with amateur stations digital transmissions will follow the ARRL recommendations for amateur digital use on 60m from http://www.arrl.org/60m-channel-allocation.

The voice net will open on 60m Channel 1 – 5330.5kHz at 1730z with net control announcing the digital net.  Check-ins will be postponed until after the first round of digital transmissions.  Following the initial set of digital transmissions net control will call for voice check-ins on CH1.  ALL stations will be expected to check-in with their callsign, city and state of operation, and a report on the ability to receive the digital messages, along with which mode is preferred.  The alternate frequency for the voice net is 5403.5 KHz USB in case the primary frequency does not propagate well.  If you do not hear traffic on 5330.5 KHz, please check 5403.5 KHz.

Messages will all be sent using FLMSG 4.0 using the Blank form template.  This method will allow users of FLMSG to validate 100% decoding of the message, but will also allow stations who do not have FLMSG to still read the text.

The digital portion of the net will consist of two different messages, each repeated using different digital modes.  The first message is a short intro message intended to validate that stations are correctly setup to receive the digital messages.  The second message is much longer and reports will help determine recommendations for modes to use in future exercise or real-world events.

The digital portion of the net will occur on Channel 2 – 5346.6kHz USB with the digital software centered at 1500hz.

Third Wednesday Region X HF Interoperability Testing Schedule:


Start Time (z) Action System Frequency Participants
1730 Open net, delay check-ins 60M CH 1 – 5330.5kHz USB Region X authorized stations

Federal Stations included in the GMF (DHS, USCG, FEMA, Army (including MARS), Air Force (including MARS and CAP), DOC) and General Class or higher Amateurs only

1735 Net Control sends first digital message 60M


CH 2 – 5346.5kHz USB
1740 Net Control repeats first digital message using alternate mode 60M


CH 2 – 5346.5kHz  USB
1745 Net control calls for check-ins and reports 60M CH 1 – 5330.5kHz USB
1815 Net control transmits 2nd digital message 60M


CH 2 – 5346.5kHz  USB
1825 Net control re-transmits 2nd digital message using alternate mode 60M


CH 2 – 5346.5kHz


1827 Net control calls for reports 60M CH 1 – 5330.5kHz USB
1850 Net control closes the net 60M CH 1 – 5330.5kHz USB

*note: all times listed are Zulu (UTC).  A tool available to assist you in converting the time to your local time zone is http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html


SHARES and Amateur Stations with winlink email are encouraged to send a test message from your winlink account to laura.goudreau@fema.dhs.gov during the exercise period.

Media Outreach Test

At 1900z on the third Wednesday of each month, FEMA Region X will send out a voice broadcast to listening media outlets to test sending out emergency public messages.  Media outlets influence the public with their ability to deliver information and are a key asset if they can continue to deliver information to the public when disaster strikes.  The media can develop the knowledge, skills and ability on how they can receive emergency public messaging from state and federal emergency managers when traditional communication methods are down.  At 1900z, FEMA Region X will send out a voice message to media outlets in Idaho, Oregon and Washington on 5330.5 KHz Upper Side Band (USB).  This will be a short message used to confirm media outlets can receive the message.  Additionally, at 1915z, FEMA Region X will send a digital message using FLDIGI in PSK31B on 5346.5 USB.  Upon receipt of or more of the messages by media outlets, we request a confirmation email be sent to laura.goudreau@fema.dhs.gov and FEMA-R10-NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov by each media outlet that receives the information with a summary of what the public message contained.  Media outlets are reminded to NOT transmit on either of the two frequencies without proper licensing.

Exercise Results

At the conclusion of each exercise, results of contacts made will be published at http://fema.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=0335a7bcad04462ebd632decb4427261.  This is a public facing site and no special permissions are needed to view the information.


2 thoughts on “FEMA HF Interoperability Exercise

  1. downloaded rx-commex-plan_mar2017_pulicrelease But it will not open on my computer running Windows 10 and Word


  2. Hi Roger, sorry I’m late with this reply–I just saw your comment. The link opens fine for me on Windows 10 and MS Word 2007, so I’m not sure what to suggest. Let me know if you want me to try and find it on the FEMA website…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s