NVIS Day 21

NVIS Day is an annual operating event in the Ohio Section of the American Radio Relay League. The brainchild of Tim Price K8WFL, the event is an opportunity for field-expedient stations to construct, erect, and test antenna systems optimized for Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) propagation, providing high-reliability communication in the 0-400 km area around the antenna.

Not a contest, NVIS Day gives operators a chance to work at the same time that many others are also establishing and testing their own NVIS antenna systems. Without the pressure for making a high quantity of contacts for points, operators can exchange true signal reports, switch to a different antenna or different configuration, and exchange true reports again with the same station before moving on to another station. In the end, each station's log should show what works best for them for reliable contact.

BLACK SWAN exercise controllers invite participants to participate in NVIS Day, held on the fourth Saturday of April. For operators looking for an extra challenge, we offer optional objectives to exercise skills that will be used in BLACK SWAN 21, a highly-realistic exercise scenario including compromise of regular communications systems.

To prepare for NVIS Day and our optional objectives, we recommend operators take the following steps. Start now, about a month before the operation!

  1. Find a buddy or a small team that will work together with you to prepare and practice when you're practicing. Radio communications is not a solitary event! Follow the steps together and help each other to complete these steps.

  2. Install the NBEMS suite on a laptop computer or other mobile computing device. Be sure to include the applications FLDIGI, FLMSG, and FLAMP. You might find that operation is easier if you also use FLRIG for rig control.

  3. Download the NVIS Day 21 Station Report, open the ZIP file and save the HTML file from it in your FLMSG custom forms folder.

  4. Use FLMSG to originate a station report. (In FLMSG, select Form>Custom and find the NVIS Day 21 Station Report from the list. Click the Edit Form button and then complete the form that pops up in your web browser. Click Submit Form at the bottom when you've completed it.) Please take note of the instructions on that form, including how to address the message; you'll need the addressee (To) callsign and ARES District to "list" the message on the net in Step 7.

  5. Use FLAMP to relay the completed form. (In FLAMP go to the Transmit tab, use the Add button and navigate up to your NBEMS folder, down to ICS, down to messages, and choose the new file ending in .k2s.)

  6. Practice transmitting and receiving with another station using FLAMP. Sending stations, after loading the message into the Transmit Queue, can select the message desired and use the Xmit button to start transmission. Receiving stations can use the Receive tab to see the message arriving. When the transmission is complete, the receiving station hits the Report button, which initiates sending a reception report for the message highlighted in the Receive Queue. If you don't click anything else, the message just received will be highlighted. If the reception is complete and correct, the receiving station will send CONFIRMED. If the reception is incomplete, the receiving station will send a list of blocks (parts of the message) that need retransmitted. The sending station can use the Transmit tab's Fetch button to read the report and hit the Xmit button to transmit the missing parts. The FLAMP application provides support for all kinds of use cases, including transmission to groups of stations, relay of messages or parts, and other cases. Read the manual and experiment with someone else!

  7. Join a session of Buckeye Net with a custom form or other data to relay. The net meets daily at 1300, including holidays and weekends, usually with that session on 60 meters. Be sure that you've seen the training and demonstration video and the training slide deck we've prepared so you're ready to operate on the net. If you're new to the net, you'll find plenty of experienced operators there to help you. Be prepared to let us know which Ohio ARES District you're from, or if you're from a neighboring state. We may also ask if you're able to take messages going to stations near you for you to relay to them later.

  8. Practice working in the field. It's spring! Find an obliging park or any open space where you can establish your station, run without grid power, and try these objectives. When joining Buckeye Net from the field, tell net control that you're operating a field station.

  9. Get started early on NVIS Day, 24 April. Get the station and your antenna systems up and running, make some contacts, have lunch, and get ready to operate. Exchange true signal reports with other participating stations. Join one or more of the Buckeye Net sessions. We'll start at 1000 (on 75 meters), 1300 (on 60 meters), and 1600 (on 75 meters) and run until all of the messages have been moved, so be sure to enter the net on time. If you can't hear us where you expect us, follow Buckeye Net's Signal Operating Instructions (SOI) to check for us on another channel, or another band if the conditions require. We try to work on the best band for the time of day and time of year we're working.

If you've got questions or comments, you may direct them as follows:

NCOIC, BLACK SWAN 21
S-6/HHC/4CSSB
Charles.Curtin@OHMR.Ohio.gov
Winlink: NNO5HD