Challenging Real-World Scenario in the "Carrington Event" May Semi-Annual Drill at EmComm Training Organization - KH6ML

In this year's May Semi-Annual Drill, titled "Carrington Event," our team at EmComm Training Organization faced significant real-world challenges that tested the adaptability of our Amateur Radio Operators and communication technologies. Originally designed to assess the impact of geomagnetic storms on high-frequency radio communications, the scenario quickly reflected actual solar activities that globally disrupted communications.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center reported an X-class solar flare, which severely hindered our ability to establish HF radio contact from Hawaii to the US Mainland. It was only after dark, when the solar geomagnetic storms subsided, that successful message transmission was possible. This experience highlighted the immediate and disruptive impacts of solar events.

Purpose of the Drill: Produce a Winlink ICS 309 Form: Documenting successful message passing across various bands, session modes, and distances to RMS Gateways.

Understand Geomagnetic Storm Impacts: Gain insights into the potential effects of geomagnetic storms on the electrical grid.
Leverage NOAA Expertise: Utilize reporting and capabilities from the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center to inform our strategies.
System Recognition: Identify the three independent U.S. managed AC power interconnect systems.
Communication Testing: Send up to nine standard Winlink Check-in messages to ETO-DRILL, testing our communication reach and reliability.

Effects of Geomagnetic Storms:

Power Grids: Induction of currents that can lead to transformer failures and widespread power outages.
Satellite Communications: Potential damage to electronics and disruptions in signal transmission.
Navigation Systems: GPS accuracy interference.
Radio Communications: Disruptions across HF, VHF, and UHF bands, crucial for emergency communications.
This drill-turned-real scenario tested our readiness and emphasized the critical role of emergency communication systems like Winlink, which allow for message passing across various bands and distances. Our efforts to maintain connectivity exemplify the resilience and necessity of well-prepared communication networks in the face of nature's unpredictability.

For more details on the exercise and results, visit the EmComm Training Organization’s full drill overview: EmComm Training Organization Drill Overview.