Looking at November 4th

There is a communications exercise this weekend that is being held by the United States Department of Defense involving the amateur radio community. That is to say, ham radio operators are doing a drill with the military in the United States. The subject of the drill is a simulation where a simulated Coronal Mass Ejection event causes a simulated nation-wide power grid failure and there is a call-up of stations on an interoperability frequency in the 60 meter frequency band to see who in all the three thousand counties of the United States of America is out there. The lights will not actually go out and there will not be an actual mass of charged particles hurtling towards Earth from our local star's corona that would make a human-created EMP generator's output look miniscule in comparison.

There is a tradition in amateur radio circles of service in emergencies. That also involves training and drill. This is seen through annual Field Day events as well as the Simulated Emergency Test that happens outside the usual summer Field Day time. Listeners with shortwave radios can look at the readings below and listen on the operators testing things out in the drill. To liven up the game of the exercise, operators have to use Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave antennas and the band they are operating on has a 100 watt power output limitation. The opening broadcast will happen on Saturday UTC and then there will be a broadcast update from exercise controllers on a different frequency during the day Sunday.

If anything, this will be fun. This is a simulation on a continental scale. Sadly, I don't have any working transmitting gear so I won't be able to fully take part. I will be able to set up the RadioShack DX-398 and listen in, though. Folks without radios at home can utilize the WebSDR (Software Defined Radio) network of receivers perhaps by learning more by pointing their browsers at http://websdr.org/.

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