Panhandle Amateur Radio Club

Promoting Amateur Radio in the High Plains of Texas Through Education

EmComm Special Interest Group

Panhandle EmComm Net every Tuesday at 7:00 pm on Caprock Intertie frequencies

EmComm Gathering every FIRST MONDAY each month, 6:30 pm, 1800 S Harrison, Amarillo, TX

Caprock Intertie Map

Emergency communications are critical to the Nation’s ability to respond to devastating natural disasters, terrorist threats, and other emergency events, incidents, and routine activities affecting our communities every day. When faced with these situations, the public safety community has a collective
responsibility to share information. Achieving this goal requires communications capabilities that are resilient and secure today, yet agile enough to integrate advanced and emerging technologies tomorrow. This important component of national preparedness relies on coordinated input from the whole community, including individuals, the private sector, nonprofits, and all levels of government (e.g., federal, state, tribal, territorial, regional, jurisdictional, and local).

FEMA – National Emergency Communications Plan


This is the best way to stay in touch with breaking news or activities – it’s easy and up-to-the-minute with info about training, exercises, operations, etc. Download the SLACK app from your app store and email us to request to join.



Corpus Christi, Texas

6th CST-WMD Army Communications Vehicle
Multi-Agency Communications Exercise brought in all the big trucks and equipment to show us.
Multiple Agencies Staging at TXDOT. Last minute checks of equipment and set up of stations to verify systems status.
6TH CST-WMD SFC HAWK Communications Chief US Army


Provide Auxiliary Communications to public safety agencies to ensure the continuity of government in the event of catastrophic events or other maladies affecting any or all areas of the State of Texas.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). They were the host of the event.


To exercise the RACES system of moving information to and from the highest levels of government to the individual points of contact with ground truth inside disaster areas.

To build the network and relations between State RACES operators and their served agencies.

Mobile Command Post for Texas General Land Office (TGLO). The inside was huge and full of radios rack mounted equipment.


  • RACES operators will receive information and/or requests from multiple locations of deployment from multiple teams of served agencies integrated with RACES operators.
  • RACES will relay any information and/or requests for information they received from the other emergency communications locations that are set up across a wide spread disaster area.  
  • RACES will set up their stations at remote locations to operate voice and digital modes to get messages passed for their served agencies at the remote locations to which they have been assigned.
  • Mobilize resources to the field to simulate the response resource necessary for initial activities and conduct RNA utilizing NDOW procedures.
  • Train on relevant equipment that would be used with the state’s interoperability plan.
  • Organize and deploy responders within 1 hour of notification.
  • Combine communication resources from all responding agencies including local ARES as well as the HAMS operators.
  • Determine communications resources as needed with all responders.
  • Strengthening partnership to ensure resources are utilized to benefit emergency communications capabilities.
  • Ensuring communications plans procedures, and resource documents are current and prepared.
This was the main command post at TGLO location. We met here every day and went over specific criteria for ICS forms needed for the exercise. We went over frequencies and contingencies. We learned from each other new ways of operating and tricks of the trade. The entire team of RACES operators was incredibly knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge with everyone else.


The city of Corpus Christ , Texas and Aransas, Nueces, and San Patricio Counties has been threatened by area storms dropping six to eight inches of rain, flooding much of the city. The flooding has submerged more than 100 vehicles and has pushed the city’s intricate electrical power system affecting 85% of the northern side of the city. Unreliable public safety communications systems have compromised the ability of emergency responders across the city of Corpus Christi. Immediate request from City, County and State have been activated.

A multi-agency communications task force formed and will be mobilized to Corpus Christi, Texas to provide communications dispatch system throughout the immediate counties and emergency management first responders affected by the storms.

Planned Actions:

  • Field Teams: Assign field teams deployed to remote access areas and mid points throughout the city.
  • Field teams will be divided between Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie Branches as seen on the attache d204’s.
  • Field teams will request the support of a local HAM and ARES mobile operators in collecting data, wireless network capabilities, ACU, etc. while utilizing hand-held radios for communication.
  • Field teams will be responsible to fill out and turn in their ICS forms; 201, 205, 213, 214.
  • Field teams will work on the COML and COMT task book.

Operating Plan:

  • RACES primary communications plan was to utilize 2 of the local amateur radio repeaters to communicate between the 4 locations.
  • RACES also was tasked to utilize WINLINK to communicate with various relay stations across the state to give information updates and relays for information to the Austin SOC.

What Went Well:

  • Teamwork across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.
  • RACES operators were able to function as required to assist the served agencies.
  • Training from the exercise is dispersed to other areas of the State and lessons have been taken back to all home districts.
  • Experience gained by all who participated, both in Corpus and as Relay
  • Hands on practice setting up radio stations mobile, and remote locations without internet.
  • Figured out which gear is needed, and which gear is not.
  • Was able to use the printer at the hotel to make copies of required ICS-Forms, had extra to hand to COM-L when he needed them. (Primary ICS forms utilized were (201, 205, 213, 214)
  • Was able to manually program an HT (Yaesu FT 60) on the fly. Also, able to program on the fly an HT for a teammate.
  • Started the AUXC PTB (Auxiliary Communications Position Task Book)
  • Gained understanding of the equipment and capabilities of served agencies in times of disaster.
  • Overcame heavy rain by folding down the seats to my 4 runner and set up radio operations inside the vehicle with coax running out the small opening in the door. This was dry and worked well.
  • Brining extra boots and socks were greatly needed and utilized when there was cold rain blowing in at high winds with gusts. 
  • Had multiple antennas with me for various deployment situations and locations.
  • Had extra parts and gear to loan out to others when needed. (Multi-meter, forms, cables, batteries, mic., cordage, coax, etc. )
  • Multiple stations were able to send and receive P2P messages via relay and direct to K5SOC at Charlie Location while being deployed for the drill.
  • Had secondary station up and running as backup at Charlie Location in case my station had a failure or became ineffective.
  • Was able to take over as COM-L for the served agency when they were relocated to another site that needed more assistance.
  • Successful relay of needed information to the COM-L at Charlie Site.
Charlie Team having a bite of lunch at Mustang Island. Great food, and fellowship of our peers. Thank you to Gerry and Ted for taking care of me and making our deployment successful!

Challenges Encountered:

  • Wind causes telescopic mast to fail. Wind is likely in hurricanes and storms that RACES responds to.
  • Large OCF dipole is not optimal for expedient deployment of station.
  • Urban environment had limited grass/trees to set up antennas. The Delta Loop for a vehicle roof mount was the ideal solution for NVIS in this environment.
  • Heavy rain causes issues for operating in outdoors/unprotected environments.  Setting up shade was helpful but still couldn’t protect against the blowing rain.
  • Rain was cold, and boots got soaked.
  • Lack of familiarity with the NSWIC and amateur radio operator procedures when asked to use radios of the served agencies.
  • Finding latitude and longitude without using internet requires downloading offline tools for navigation. Or use of land nav with a paper map.
  • Training/administrative issues as far as communication of when a resource was “in play” vs, it hadn’t been officially “in play” at a specific time.
  • P2P relay stations were heavily taxed for very little exercise play. They spent a whole lot of time being ready on the air and waiting for us to connect to them. We were unable to connect at the times they thought were going to.  It was not possible to stick to a “window” of time that we would send messages because of the changing environment and needs of the exercise as it unfolded.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Bring more socks, dry towels, and paper towels.
  • Have the frequencies already programmed into radios ahead of time if possible or as soon as possible after arrival.
  • Train more with gear in portable/remote/off grid settings.
  • Find a way to get a mast up in high wind and stormy conditions.
  • Spend more time understanding the radio systems and communications plans of the served agencies.
  • Spend more time with the served agencies periodically.
  • Have more than one computer/laptop/device for digital modes in case one set up fails. Verify that they are working.


Numerous Amateur Radio Operators from all over the State of Texas worked together as a team to test the ability to assist served agencies in communications during a simulated disaster in Corpus Christi. New connections and to public service agencies were made and new skills were developed. An incredible experience like this one is what can build technical skills and spread leadership through out our entire Panhandle Emergency Communications Team.

Charlie TEAM is the BEST TEAM!!!!
Thank you to KI5IJM, I wouldn’t have been able to make it had you not been there. Thank you to Ted and Gerry, our new contacts in Hill Country. These guys had stations that were able to deploy quickly and worked effectively.

Respectfully Submitted,

73 de KA5IRA

EmComm Open House at Amarillo Red Cross Dec. 4, 2021


… will be listed here.



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