2020 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET)

The 2020 SET will be conducted throughout the Maryland/DC section on Saturday, Oct. 10. The exercise will get under way at 0900, and should wrap up by noon. This should be a fun and productive activity for all involved.

There will be an opportunity to participate in a “dry run” prior to the actual exercise. Montgomery County ARES members are invited to participate in the dry run scheduled for Saturday, September 26, 0900-1200. Please don’t forget to RSVP to Tom if you can participate on September 26 or October 10 (or better yet, both dates).

Montgomery County ARES members should have received an email from W3TDH with further details. The exercise involves surveillance of USGS/NOAA river gauges throughout the state. Six gauges are located in Montgomery County. The following information is provided as a reference.

As a reminder:

  • On the morning of the exercise, check in on the WA3YOO repeater, 443.900. Since many of us will be running APRS on 2m, we will plan to use 440 MHz for our voice operations.
  • We will use the buddy system in the field, but please practice social distancing at all times. Program one or more of our preferred simplex frequencies into your radio ahead of time to facilitate coordination with your buddy.
  • If you have APRS capability, set your radio up ahead of time so we can track your progress.
  • Make a plan for how you are going to report your information back to the net. Winnlink is the preferred method, but you may use any means available. If you can send your report from your field location, so much the better, but if that is not practical, it is ok to send your data from a nearby high spot or even after returning to your home base.
  • Be safe. Park your vehicle in a safe location off the road, and use caution while navigating from your vehicle to your assigned gauge. Do not approach the gauge if you cannot do so safely.

Special Election to Fill Open Position on the MCACS Board

MCACS members are reminded that a special election is under way to fill a vacant at-large position on the MCACS board of directors. You may nominate yourself or another, but all nominees must be Full Members of MCACS. In addition, nominees must agree to serve before being placed on the ballot. So if you are going to nominate someone else, please confirm that they are willing to serve before submitting their name.

Please think about upping your level of involvement in MCACS. You don’t need a ton of experience, just a willingness to put in a modest amount of time toward advancing our mission. None of us was an expert when we started in this game. We learn as we go.

The election will be conducted entirely by email. Here is the plan:

  • You may submit your nomination by sending an email to our president ( no later than September 15.
  • We will give the candidates a week to submit a statement, should they choose to do so. 
  • On September, a member of the board will announce the slate of candidates on our weekly net, and ballots will be sent to all voting members of MCACS. (Remember, you must be a Full Member to vote.)
  • We will establish a deadline of October 6 for returning ballots via email.
  • The winner will be announced after the ballots have been counted.

MCACS vs. ARES — What is the Relationship?

The relationship between MCACS and ARES has been a point of confusion for many new (and not-so-new) members of MCACS for some time. There is a lot of background material under the heading of About MCACS in the website menu at the top of the page, but it has been suggested that this particular topic needs more prominent placement. So we have added a new website page explaining this relationship, with a link to the new material in the menu. Here is a shortcut to the new material.

New Net Script Available

A revised script for our weekly training nets has been uploaded. It is available under Resources > Operational Aids. Comments are invited. Send feedback to any board member.

Winter Field Day

Winter Field Day at dusk (photo credit W3CID)

We had another successful Winter Field Day deployment on the last weekend in January, although the weather was more spring-like than winter-like. We set up two stations in a tent and a third station in the MAIPN Van. Operating over a 24-hour period, we made contacts in 34 states and four Canadian provinces. Click here for the full story.

Maryland/DC Hospital Drill

Ten MCACS members participated in the quarterly Maryland/DC hospital net on the evening of Jan. 2, operating from stations at three county hospitals. Winlink traffic was passed to and from all participating hospitals, and a voice net was conducted on the Central Maryland Repeater Group’s network of linked 70 cm repeaters. The next hospital drill will be after the pandemic subsides!