Standard Load

Instructions to New Standard Load Users

Introduction

Welcome to the “Standard Load.” This is a standard programming sequence designed to make your radio operations faster and easier. It is also designed to give you local control over your own frequencies while somewhat standardizing channels and channel names county-wide.

Underlying Philosophy for This List

Military and EMS personnel know that careful radio programming is essential to successful communications in emergency situations. Good communications in times of crisis can mean the difference between life and death or mitigating property losses.

In addition, in day-to-day operations and in training, having a common set of channel numbers and names will make it much easier for new operators to learn how to navigate the large number of frequencies that might be needed in an emergency situation.

Printed Copies

Many of us are visual learners, so looking at a tiny HT screen may not be enough for some of us. In addition to the pre-programming on our radios, we have created “standard load cards” that operators can carry with their radios or in their wallets. I also keep a full-sized printout in my emergency binder (the same place that I keep my license, ICS forms, etc.) and another small copy folded up behind my ARES ID. 

Standard Load Design and Customization

(See Appendix B for an example of a printed standard load card.)

Green Local Channels

Channels 1-10: Neighborhood, Church, Group, Club, Schools, City, etc.These channels are for local groups to assign. We recommend that local groups work together and agree on a schema and make channel number and name assignments. By working together you will gain the most benefit from the standard load methodology in that you can, for example, tell your local users, “turn to channel 3” if you want them to access a specific neighborhood frequency. We recommend that you place your selected frequencies in order from where you stand outward. In my case that would be my local area (known as a Ward in my case), district, city, and county. However, you might also want to include a club, or some other entity or organizational level. You may even want to include listen-only FRS or weather channels. It is completely up to local groups how to organize these first 10 channels. Again, and we can’t stress this enough, you will benefit the most from the standard load methodology if you coordinate locally, and agree on these first ten channels to the extent possible. 

Our Local Decisions Example– We decided to assign the first few channels to “Ward” and “Stake” because our emergency radio operators all work under the auspices of the LDS Church in my neighborhood. Perhaps your neighborhood is different. Had we worked under civil authority our parlance might be “Area” and “District” or some other nomenclature. (It really doesn’t matter. You get to decide how to program your frequencies. But we still recommend that you start from where you stand and work outward.) Then we skipped channel 3, saving that for future use. Then channels 4 and 5 were assigned for city use. Channel 4 was for the Draper repeater and 5 was for the Draper simplex backup frequency. Then we skipped another channel for future use. We placed the ARES check-in frequency on Channel 7. Our reasoning was that this is the first place we are going to call outside of Draper City when things get very bad. Finally, after skipping Channel 8, we placed the local NOAA station in the channel 9 slot because many of our operators own radios that don’t have a weather station capability. The district next to ours made very different decisions. They still worked outward, but they used every channel. But, they did place the Draper frequencies on channels 4 and 5 so that they would be consistent with us since we are in the same city and would be working together. 

11-20 – Alternate repeaters for Salt Lake County:We have researched these repeaters over the past three years in two ways. We have continually attempted to use each repeater and we have sought information from various ARES members, Draper Ham Radio Association Officers, Kelly Weldon (our Salt Lake County Emergency Coordinator), and we used data from the Utah VHS Society Website. Based on the best information we can collect, we compiled this list of what we felt were a stable set of repeaters that we believe are likely to be available during an emergency. We make this claim based on our:

  • Ability to communicate on these repeaters from many areas of the county over several months. 
  • Word of mouth verification that the repeaters are stable and work throughout the county.
  • Documentation that the repeaters have emergency power and solid ERP. 

Therefore, we strongly urge local groups to leave this list as it is since it is possible that we may use some of these repeaters during an emergency situation – so having them pre-programmed, with agreed upon channel numbers county-wide would be beneficial. However, local groups may, if they have compelling reasoning, modify this list.

21-30 – Neighboring Locations:This block should be changed by local groups to fit their needs. We left our pre-programmed repeaters on the list to provide an example of our decisions. In our case, a section of Draper City is over the border inside Utah County on the south side of South Mountain in Utah Valley. Therefore, we included Utah County ARES repeaters on our list. In addition, we included a link to the Sinbad system and links further west to Tooele County. This allows us to reach out to our immediate neighbors. We recommend that your group consider who you might want to reach outside your immediate area and add those frequencies here. 

Red ARES Channels

The ARES Band Plan has been in place for some years. This list should look familiar to most ARES members. (With the exception of the addition of Hospital 9.) Note also that we moved all of the digital channels to the end of the list because only a few users will utilize those channels. I won’t restate all the channels in these instructions. Instead, I recommend that you review the excellent ARES graphic meant for this purpose – the ARES band plan. http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=c2xjb2FyZXMubmV0fHNsY29hcmVzfGd4OmQwMjFkNzdkMjg0ODQ2MA

Other Channels

Grey National Calling Frequencies

These two simplex frequencies are the standard calling frequencies. They are used for the Wilderness Protocol as well.

Blue Specialty Channels:This is a mixed group of channels used by those who have the equipment designed for these purposes.

Purple Statewide Channels:These channels are special use frequencies that may be assigned at any point during an emergency.

Brown UHP Channels:Self Explanatory. (Listen only.)

Orange Safe Neighborhoods Channels:

These are the coordinated frequencies for each city/township/unincorporated area in the valley. These frequencies are found in each of the Amateur Radio Frequencies Plan for Disasters S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods Program JIT Kits found at each Safe School and at each town/city EOC. 

Rules for use of these frequencies:

  1. These frequencies are intended for S.A.F.E. Schools and City EOC emergency use.
  2. Before operating S.A.F.E. Schools and City EOCs should check in with Net Control (Channel RES_1 Frequency 146.620 -).
  3. S.A.F.E. Schools can call their city EOC.
  4. City EOCs can call their S.A.F.E. Schools and other city EOCs.

Why All the Blank Rows?

The blank rows are there to give local groups space for programming their own frequencies. Other blank rows are there to allow for on-the-fly programming during an emergency. For example, ARES may need to designate a new frequency that is not on this table as “Hospital 10.” To make things easier for everybody, we can all program into our radios a new HOSP10 frequency without having to delete a frequency. In addition, some radios have a very limited number of channels and treat unused channels differently when programming. Having the blanks on the color-coded printed card will make it easier to identify where a much-needed space is available. 

Appendix A: Requests & Questions (And Answers)

Could you please add 30 or 40 more green channels up front so I can move my “favorite” channels to the front?

Sorry, no…The reason of course is that this is a “standard load.” The whole concept is to have a standard set of channel numbers for everybody in the valley for each of the frequencies. This standard load is NOT meant to be a way to make it easier for just one person or one group. 

Why not add another 10 or 20 green rows then? 

Many of our operators have HTs with a limited number of memory spaces. So adding more green spaces means dropping some of the standard load off the bottom. For example, one of my HTs only has 99 memory spaces. 

So instead, what we recommend is that you use memory registers for your favorites if your radio supports them. Place your favorites in a personal register so that the standard load has a standard channel numbering schema.

I don’t like the repeater list you have in block 11-20 or you didn’t list my favorite repeater, or you listed THAT repeater!!!. 

As I have heard these comments, I’ve tried to get to the bottom of them. Wow! I’ve learned that repeaters and frequencies in this valley are a touchy subject! So I will not play favorites. Make changes if you feel it is the right thing to do. But please, be honest with yourself and your served agencies. Be sure your reasons for making changes are based on documented data and science rather than politics and opinion. Do what you can as a professional to verify that the repeater you add will have a chance of surviving a major earthquake, blackout, or other event. 

PLEASE!

Send Suggestions for Improvements to this document and to the standard load. 

Thanks

Tom, AF7TE