US Department of Defense conducting “doomsday” mass radio communication exercise

Mark Emanuele (left), Army Military Auxiliary Radio System Region 2 emergency officer, and Tom Logan operate their Ham radio, relaying emergency information during Hurricane Sandy, in 2012. (Photo Credit: Steve Wolkovitz)

Step aside, ANTIFA, there are more important “doomsday” events taking place on November 4th- and it’s a damn good thing such an event is taking place.

The Department of Defense will be conducting a massive “doomsday” training exercise with Amateur Radio and Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) operators, testing national shortwave communications readiness under the simulation of a cataclysmic event.

“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, callsign WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

If “coronal mass ejection” left you confused, think of giant clouds of solar plasma drenched with magnetic field lines that are blown away from the Sun during strong, long-duration solar flares and filament eruptions. Such events could cripple most 21st-century communication methods, as well as the infrastructure you depend on in day to day life.

According to AARL, the exercise will involve a designated command center communicating with 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, an attempt to gain situational awareness and determine the extent of impact in the scenario.

The US Army and Air Force MARS groups will work with the Amateur Radio communities during the event.

Both a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz for you radio enthusiasts out there) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. For those with radios who want to get involved, an informational broadcast will air Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said.

Be it terror, nuclear attack or old Mother Nature herself, shortwave radio has long been one of the most effective ways to communicate over long distances in a time of serious emergency.

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