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Ex16-2

Controller Guide

Guide to controlling the 2016 SET

John J. McDonough, WB8RCR

American Radio Relay League Michigan Section

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Abstract
This document outlines the expectations for the District Emergency Coordinators or alternates who will act as controllers for the 2016 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test.
The exercise simulates the effect of a large scale coronal mass ejection striking the earth. The intent is to test the Section's ability to relay messages using only VHF/UHF circuits.
 
 

1. Introduction

Each year the Michigan Section uses the annual ARRL SET as an opportunity for an exercise. Exercises are intended to test specific capabilities. This year the Section has decided to test VHF relays.
The scenario this year will be around a massive coronal mass ejection (CME). Large CMEs can have a devastating effect on the infrastructure. Satellites, obviously, are at extreme risk, but other infrastructure can be damaged. Even a moderate CME results in an HF blackout.
This scenario allows the Section to simulate massive infrastructure assaults in the context of an HF blackout.
District Emergency Coordinators will act as exercise controllers, inserting a few injects into their District, and providing context to exercise players.
The load on any individual county will be light. This allows the individual counties to design activities to test those capabilities important to the local jurisdiction.
In addition to specific actions, this document, along with the MSEL, provides controllers with context to assist in responding to any queries from the players.

2. Background

A coronal mass ejection (or CME) is a giant cloud of solar plasma drenched with magnetic field lines that are blown away from the Sun during strong, long-duration solar flares and filament eruptions. A coronal mass ejection can escape from the Sun during eruptions on the Sun like solar flares and filament eruptions. However, not every event has a coronal mass ejection accompanied with it. Strong flares (M and X-class) are likely candidates to launch coronal mass ejections. C-class solar flares can also produce coronal mass ejections but only the long-duration and stronger C-class flares might do this.
Image of Coronal Mass Ejection
When the Sun isn't very active during solar minimum, coronal mass ejections are rare. There might only be one coronal mass ejection every week. When the Sun's activity increases towards solar maximum, coronal mass ejections become more common and we can see multiple coronal mass ejections every day.
In general, the physical danger is low and controllable. The biological hazard inherent in solar and geomagnetic storms comes from the exposure to radiation, which is mainly a concern for astronauts and people flying at high altitudes.
On the other hand, the disruptions that more severe storms can cause have the potential to bring about real damage. Milder storms may disrupt the satellites that handle GPS communications. But the more severe geomagnetic storms can spike the voltage in transmission lines which could damage grid transformers and potentially knock power out. A massive power outage in the province of Quebec in 1989 was blamed on a solar storm.
Dramatization of electrical grid effect
The solar wind distorts the Earth's magnetosphere. When the solar wind changes, this causes changes in the magnetosphere. Since antennas are large conductors in this moving magnetic field, currents are induced in the antenna which we see as noise.
When the sudden shock from a CME strikes the Earth, the violent vibration this causes in the magnetosphere causes a loud bang on HF, followed by eerie silence.
Image of Earth's magnetosphere
X-rays and extreme ultraviolet light from solar flares ionize the Earth's atmosphere, causing an enhancement of the lower part of the dayside (Sun-facing) ionosphere which blocks radio signals that normally are reflected off of the ionosphere. Reflection of radio waves off the ionosphere allows long distance radio communication without having clear line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver. When the enhanced ionosphere absorbs the radio waves, no radio communication is possible. This creates conditions referred to as Radio Blackouts.
D-RAP image of blackout
Practically speaking, a Radio Blackout is the absence of a capability to communicate on High Frequency bands in the 5 to 35 MegaHertz spectral range, but lower frequency radio communications may also be significantly degraded during a Radio Blackout event. The violent magnetosphere motion is most noticeable at lower frequencies, so although the cause is different, lower frequencies tend to be also unusable.
Most very large CMEs actually deliver a double-whammy to our home planet. Initially, high energy, lighter particles leave the Sun at relativistic speeds. These particles arrive with just a few minutes of the ejection, slamming into the magnetosphere at incredible speed.
The bulk of the mass takes much longer to reach Earth. This time can vary from as few as eight to as much as seventy-two hours, depending on the violence of the ejection. Although traveling at much lower speed, the greater mass of this material causes a much more long-lasting effect on HF propagation.
Many DXers note that the initial hit of the higher velocity particle will cause a blackout for only a few hours, after which HF conditions will be enhanced for several hours. However, when the second wave hits, it is time to turn off the radio and melt solder. HF conditions will be blacked out for a long time, perhaps days, and will not return quickly.

3. Controller Role

The exercise controller manages the exercise for a District. The controller is responsible for notifying players of changes in the situation, as indicated in the Master Scenario Event List (MSEL) and the Controller Guide (this document).
The District Emergency Coordinators have been selected to act as exercise controllers for their District. Some DECs may have other duties during the exercise, and in some cases may need to be players. In that case, the DEC may need to recruit an alternate to act as controller so the DEC can properly play in the exercise.

Preparation is necessary

Prior to the exercise, the DEC will need to identify a few key stations to interact directly with the SEOC and in some cases to relay to other Districts. DECs will need to identify the county for the first inject in Appendix A, Injects for all Districts.
Each DEC will identify a key station to communicate with the SEOC on the schedule in the appendices below.

Cooperation is necessary

Districts 3, 7 and 8 will need to coordinate to arrange stations, times and frequencies to relay traffic between the Districts.
The District 8 DEC will identify a key station to communicate with District 7 rather than the SEOC.
The District 7 DEC will need to identify a station to interact with District 8, and a station to interact with District 3. It is possible these might be the same stations depending on capability.
The District 3 DEC will need to identify a station to interact with the SEOC, and a station to interact with District 7. It is possible these might be the same stations depending on capability.

Do not share

Neither the MSEL nor the Controller Guide should be shared with players. The players should rely solely on the Participant Guide.
Controllers may share events from the MSEL after those events have occurred. Controllers should not share future events with the players.
Controllers should keep notes on those areas needing improvement and those things that went particularly well. The controller should be prepared to share these observations in an after-action conference call.

A. Injects for all Districts

Prior to the event
Select a county to exercise public warning (ESF#15). In a long term power outage, citizens will not be able to contact their local PSAP. Key AM radio stations will be on the air for quite some time, but few people listen to AM radio. Cell will initially be overloaded, but many cell towers will remain up for a day or two. However, their backhaul likely will not, so the cell system itself will be essentially useless.
Amateurs and LEOs may be dispatched to public sites such as fire stations, town halls, etc. to allow folks needing public safety services to report their need which could then be relayed back to the local EOC via radio, public service or amateur. Amateurs, CERT volunteers, firefighters and LEOs may need to go door to door to inform people of the mechanism for contacting their PSAP. In many cases, public safety radio systems may be unable to dispatch responders, so alternatives will need to be found.
How this response plays out will be different in each county, so the exact response must be worked out by the EC. Most likely the chosen county or counties will want to play this out as a tabletop or workshop.
Sat, Oct 8, 08:49
It is becoming obvious that the outage may be lengthy. Initiate your District activation plan. Advise your ECs:
  • Be sure their family is prepared for a long outage. Have adequate water, food, medications, fuel for generator if they have one, etc.
  • Be sure the car is gassed up. Gas stations will be unable to pump gas, or if they can, they will run out quickly. Fuel will be redirected to critical infrastructure.
  • Turn off your cell phone. Turn it on once an hour or so to check for text messages or email. These can often get through even with degraded service, and will use a lot less battery than voice. Many phones will quickly consume their battery if they cannot find a tower.
  • Check that your car phone charger is working. For as long as you have fuel, this will be the only way to recharge your phone. Where possible, do the same for your HTs.
  • If you have HTs that can operate from AA cells, lay in a good supply. Keep all HTs charged to the extent possible.
  • Monitor your District's emergency frequencies. Since HF frequencies are blacked out, the State's frequencies are useless.

B. District 1 Injects

Table B.1. District 1 injects
Time Action
08:40 Receive request for high level ICS-214 for the entire District from SEOC. SEOC will be on 146.580 simplex, analog.
Advise the responsible relay station of the current activities for the District so relay may compose radiogram to the SEOC.
10:19 Transmit high level 214 for D1 to the SEOC. Since the information will be transmitted by radiotelephone, it will need to be very high level and not necessarily in "proper" 214 format but rather a summary in radiogram format.

C. District 2 Injects

Table C.1. District 2 injects
Time Action
08:51 Receive request from SEOC to advise of the status of the E. Fermi II Nuclear Generating Station. Use DMR talk group Event 1 for communication with the SEOC.
Let responsible relay know that the E. Fermi II plant is at Unusual Event SU2.1 (Section J.2, “Unusual Event SU2.1”). The Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station in Frenchtown Township is one of the larger power providers in Michigan, providing 1098 megawatts to the Michigan grid. The boiling water reactor has been in commercial operation since 1988.
10:30 Send radiogram to SEOC advising of the status of the plant.

D. District 3 Injects

Table D.1. District 3 injects
Time Action
09:02 Receive radiogram from SEOC via the N8BBR analog repeater on 146.310 MHz.
Advise key station need to determine status of Midland Cogeneration Venture and respond to SEOC. The Midland Cogeneration Venture is the largest natural gas power plant in Michigan providing 1560 megawatts.
09:35 Receive radiogram from SEOC for District 7
09:46 Receive radiogram from SEOC for District 8
09:57 Relay District 7 and District 8 radiograms to District 7
10:41 Send radiogram to SEOC on status of MCV indicating MCV is idling but disconnected from the grid.
11:14 Receive radiogram from D7
11:36 Receive radiogram from D8
11:58 Relay D7, D8 radiograms to SEOC

E. District 5 Injects

Table E.1. District 5 injects
Time Action
09:13 Receive radiogram from SEOC advising District that D.C. Cook reports an Unusual Event SU1.1 (Section J.1, “Unusual Event SU1.1”). Contact the SEOC on the W8DF repeater, module C on 146.790 MHz.
Notify District of status of D.C. Cook. The plant has two pressurized water reactors providing 2110 megawatts making it the largest nuclear plant in Michigan.
10:52 Receive radiogram from SEOC advising District that D.C. Cook reports Alert Classification SA5.1 (Section J.3, “ALERT SA5.1”).
Notify District of status of D.C. Cook

F. District 6 Injects

Table F.1. District 6 injects
Time Action
09:24 Use the WX8GRR module C repeater on 147.290 MHz to receive radiogram from SEOC
The J.H. Campbell power station, occupying a 2,000 acre site in Port Sheldon Township, is a coal fired plant providing 1450 megawatts. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the plant began providing power in 1962.
11:03 Respond with radiogram to SEOC request

G. District 7 Injects

Table G.1. District 7 injects
Time Action
09:57 Receive two SEOC radiograms from District 3, one for District 7 and one to relay to District 8
10:08 Relay radiogram to District 8
Construct response to SEOC query. The Munson Medical Center is a 391-bed regional referral hospital in Traverse City. Due to power limitations, the facility now only has 181 bed capacity. Current occupancy is 112.
11:14 Deliver response for SEOC to District 3
11:25 Receive response from District 8
11:36 Relay District 8 response to District 3

H. District 8 Injects

Table H.1. District 8 injects
Time Action
10:08 Receive SEOC query from District 7
Develop plan for next operational period.
11:25 Send SEOC response to District 7

I. SEOC to District Circuits

SEOC will use ICS-205 currently in MI-CIMS under the MI-CIMS Training incident, ICS-205 form named 2016 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test. An incident will be provided for this exercise.
Table I.1. SEOC to District Circuits
Dist Freq Repeater Time Slot Time Slot Comments
1 146.58 Simplex 08:40 10:19 Analog wide simplex
2 Event 1 DMR 08:51 10:30 DMR repeaters are RF linked
3 145.310 N8BBR 09:02 10:41 Analog wide not linked
3 145.310 N8BBR 11:58 Relay to SEOC from 7, 8
5 146.790 W8DF C 09:13 10:52 D-STAR direct from SEOC to repeater. Will not use reflectors for the exercise but may wish to link REF024A so that non-players can monitor.
6 147.290 WX8GRR C 09:24 10:52
7 Relay from District 3 09:35 11:25 Early time slot is outbound from SEOC. Late time slot inbound to SEOC.
8 Relay from District 7 09:46 11:47

J. Nuclear plant incident codes

Nuclear power plants have several levels of events, in order of increasing severity: Unusual Event, Alert, Site Area Emergency, General Emergency. These events are coded. The codes for the events in this exercise, and their descriptions, are outlined in this appendix.
The levels of classification as defined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are as follows:
Notification of Unusual Event (NOUE)
Events are in progress or have occurred which indicate a potential degradation of the level of safety of the plant or indicate a security threat to facility protection has been initiated. No releases of radioactive material requiring offsite response or monitoring are expected unless further degradation of safety systems occurs. [Note: This term is sometimes shortened to Unusual Event (UE). The terms Notification of Unusual Event, NOUE and Unusual Event are used interchangeably.]
Purpose
The purpose of this classification is to assure that the first step in future response has been carried out, to bring the operations staff to a state of readiness, and to provide systematic handling of unusual event information and decision-making.
Alert
Events are in progress or have occurred which involve an actual or potential substantial degradation of the level of safety of the plant or a security event that involves probable life threatening risk to site personnel or damage to site equipment because of HOSTILE ACTION. Any releases are expected to be limited to small fractions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protective action guides (PAGs).
Purpose
The purpose of this classification is to assure that emergency personnel are readily available to respond if the situation becomes more serious or to perform confirmatory radiation monitoring if required, and provide offsite authorities current information on plant status and parameters.
Site Area Emergency (SAE)
Events are in progress or have occurred which involve actual or likely major failures of plant functions needed for protection of the public or hostile action that results in intentional damage or malicious acts; 1) toward site personnel or equipment that could lead to the likely failure of or; 2) that prevent effective access to, equipment needed for the protection of the public. Any releases are not expected to result in exposure levels which exceed EPA PAG exposure levels beyond the site boundary.
Purpose
The purpose of the Site Area Emergency declaration is to assure that emergency response centers are staffed, to assure that monitoring teams are dispatched, to assure that personnel required for evacuation of near-site areas are at duty stations if the situation becomes more serious, to provide consultation with offsite authorities, and to provide updates to the public through government authorities.
General Emergency
Events are in progress or have occurred which involve actual or imminent substantial core degradation or melting with potential for loss of containment integrity or hostile action that results in an actual loss of physical control of the facility. Releases can be reasonably expected to exceed EPA PAG exposure levels offsite for more than the immediate site area.
Purpose
The purpose of the General Emergency declaration is to initiate predetermined protective actions for the public, to provide continuous assessment of information from the licensee and offsite organizational measurements, to initiate additional measures as indicated by actual or potential releases, to provide consultation with offsite authorities, and to provide updates for the public through government authorities.

J.1. Unusual Event SU1.1

SU1 Loss of All Offline Power to Essential Busses for GREATER THAN 15 minutes
SU1.1: Loss of power to or from Safeguards, Station Power 1-2 and Startup 1-2 transformers that results in a loss of all offsite power to both Virtual 2400 VAC busses 1C and 1D for GREATER THAN 15 minutes
and
Both emergency diesel generators are supplying power to both Vital 2400 VAC busses 1C and 1D

J.2. Unusual Event SU2.1

SU2 Inability to Reach Required Shutdown Within Technical Specification Limits
SU2.1: Plant is not brought to required operating mode within Technical Specifications LCO Action Statement Time

J.3. ALERT SA5.1

SA5 AC power capability to essential busses reduced to a single power source for greater than 15 minutes such that any additional single failure would result in station blackout
SA5.1: AC power capability to Vital 2400 VAC busses 1C and 1D reduced to only one of the following sourced for GREATER THAN 15 minutes
  • Safeguard transformer 1-1
  • Startup Transformer 1-2
  • Station Power Transformer 1-2
  • 1-1 Emergency Diesel Generator
  • 1-2 Emergency Diesel Generator
and
Any additional single failure will result in a station blackout

K. Radiograms sent from SEOC

The following are radiograms expected to be sent from the SEOC at the time indcated. Be cautioned that these may change, so be sure to actually receive the radiograms for your District before acting on them.

K.1. 08:40

146.580 analog simplex
	  1081 TR WS8EOC 18 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  N8WWX DEC 1
	  =
	  PLEASE SEND HIGH LEVEL ICS
	  214 FOR DISTRICT FOR PERIOD
	  ENDING 10AM LOCAL X THIS
	  IS A DRILL
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.2. 08:51

Event 1 DMR
	  1082 TR WS8EOC 19 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  KA8SPW DEC 2
	  =
	  THIS IS AN EXERCISE X
	  PLEASE ADVISE CURRENT STATUS OF
	  E FERMI II NUCLEAR GENERATING
	  STATION IN FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.3. 09:02

145.310 Analog N8BBR repeater
	  1083 TR WS8EOC 12 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  N8LBF DEC 3
	  =
	  PLEASE ADVISE STATUS OF MIDLAND
	  COGENERATION PLANT X THIS IS
	  A DRILL
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.4. 09:13

146.790 D-STAR W8DF repeater module C
	  1084 TP WS8EOC 24 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  KB8FQJ DEC 5
	  =
	  THIS IS AN EXERCISE THESE
	  EVENTS DID NOT OCCUR X
	  THE D C COOK NUCLEAR
	  GENERATING STATION IN BRIDGMAN REPORTS
	  AN UNUSUAL EVENT SU1R1
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.5. 09:24

147.290 D-STAR WX8GRR repeater module C
	  1085 TR WS8EOC 21 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  K8COP DEC 6
	  =
	  PLEASE ADVISE CURRENT OPERATING STATUS
	  OF THE J H CAMPBELL
	  POWER PLANT IN PORT SHELDON
	  TOWNSHIP X THIS IS A
	  DRILL
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.6. 09:35

145.310 Analog N8BBR repeater
	  1086 TR WS8EOC 17 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  WA8RLI DEC 7
	  =
	  THIS IS A DRILL X
	  PLEASE ADVISE NUMBER BEDS AVAILABLE
	  IN THE MUNSON MEDICAL CENTER
	  IN TRAVERSE CITY
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.7. 09:46

145.310 Analog N8BBR repeater
	  1087 TR WS8EOC 15 DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  K8PDC DEC 8
	  =
	  THIS IS AN EXERCISE X
	  PLEASE SEND OBJECTIVES AND COMMAND
	  EMPHASIS FOR NEXT OPERATIONAL PERIOD
	  =
	  WS8EOC

K.8. 10:52

146.790 D-STAR W8DF repeater module C
	  1088 TP WS8EOC  DIMONDALE MI OCT 8
	  KB8FQJ DEC 5
	  =
	  THIS IS AN EXERCISE THESE
	  EVENTS DID NOT OCCUR X
	  D C COOK NUCLEAR GENERATING
	  STATION IN BRIDGMAN REPORTS ALERT
	  CLASSIFICATION SA5R1
	  =
	  WS8EOC

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