Winlink Thursdays: How Do They Work?


===Information===>>

Step One:  Find your Clearinghouse Tactical Winlink Address here...

Step Two: This Week's Winlink Thursday assignment:

What happens next? [click here to expand]

  • After the Exercise has concluded, all submissions will be gathered from our Clearinghouse Receiving Stations, and compiled for processing;

  • In a few days, you'll receive an announcement from our Group.io mailing list, that the Results are available on the ETO "Winlink Thursdays" page.

  • Visit the Winlink Thursdays page, click on the "Results" link, and find your submission listed under your Callsign.


[to find pre-2024 Winlink Thursdays, and their results, click here]


Exercise Schedule: January thru December 2024: (Topics to follow...)

Date Form Note
January 18, 2024 Winter Field Day: ICS-213 Poll Instructions /  Results
February 15th, 2024 Humanitarian Needs Identification Form Instructions  /  Results
March 21st, 2024 Create an ICS-309 report Instructions  /  Results
April 18th, 2024 Hospital Status Report Instructions  /  Results
May 11th, 2024 Semi-Annual Drill, no Winlink Thursday this month "Carrington Event" Semi-Annual Drill, starts May 7th)
June 20th, 2024 Field Day: Two Part Exercise Instructions  /  Results
July 18th, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)
August 15th, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)
September 19th, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)
October 17th, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)
November 21st, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)
December 12th, 2024 [Topic to be announced...] (watch your Email!)

[Click on a ▶ link, to expand its contents]

General Notes on Frequently-Seen Mistakes... Please Read!:

General Notes:

We see many of the same mistakes being repeated week after week, across different exercise types, so we think it’s worthwhile to call these out.

Sending incorrect longitude and latitude data

We use the latitude and longitude data to plot you onto maps. Sometimes that map data is obviously incorrect. This occurs when folks in the Western Hemisphere omit the minus sign in front of longitude or when folks in the Southern Hemisphere omit the minus sign in front of latitude.
The use of a GPS dongle helps to mitigate against this. If you’re not using a GPS dongle, do take extra care in copying/pasting or entering those numbers

Incorrect format when answering a multiple choice question

When we ask a multiple choice question on a Winlink Check In message, we require the answer to be in a specific format: a single character, uppercase letter on the first line of the Comments field. We don’t want any punctuation before or after that single letter. We don’t want an explanation. We just want a single letter.
Here’s a partial list of answers that we consider “not valid”:
  • B is the answer
  • The answer is B
  • “B”
  • B.
Providing real-time tactical digital communications in conjunction with a map showing the locations of stations

Not sending to an ETO clearinghouse

We use a group of volunteers to act as the “Clearinghouses” for most exercises. The purpose of the Clearinghouses is to divide the work that we do to process your messages. Each Clearinghouse has a specific Winlink tactical address: ETO-01 through ETO-10 (corresponding to USA FEMA regions), plus ETO-DX for non-US participants and ETO-CAN for Canada.
If you don’t address your message to one of these tactical addresses, we won’t receive your message.
Even though some Winlink Templates, such as the Winlink Check In, allow you to address your message directly from the message itself, we strongly discourage this. Instead, we would strongly encourage you to create a Winlink “contact” for your clearinghouse.
Then, after you hit the [Submit] button on the template, click on the [To:] button and select your clearinghouse contact.
Yes, it’s a bit more work to set up, but once you have it correctly set up, you will not make an accidental mistake by entering “ETO-1”, or “ETO-O1” ( with a letter "O" next to the "1" ) when you meant to enter “ETO-01” ("eee-tee-ohh-dash-zero-one").

June 20th, 2024: Results of Two-Part "Field Day" Exercise


Results Map for June 20th, ICS-213 Part One, with Feedback

Results Map for June 20th, ICS-214 Part Two, with Feedback

Results Map, Aggregate of Both Parts


We are trying a different approach to providing feedback. [click here to expand]


Instead of a numeric score, we provide information about why a particular field entry was considered wrong, and give you the correct response.

We hope you will find this to be More Useful and Informative.

When you click on your "push-pin" on the Results Map, you'll find Useful Feedback, as well as a record of all the information you submitted.

(be sure to scroll down on the left side Information Panel, to view all of the information there.)

Here is an example of Feedback to one of our own Programmers:


"How do I find my Check-In on the Map?"

  1. In your Web Browser, with our Results Map displayed...
  2. On the left side, you'll see a list of the 12 ETO Clearinghouses.
  3. Click the    (down-pointing caret), and the list will expand vertically;
  4. Type a Ctrl-F, to use the Browser's "Find On This Page" function;
  5. Type your Callsign;
  6. Your Browser will highlight your callsign, in the vertical list on the left.
  7. Click on your Callsign, and the Map will show you your "pushpin".
  8. Click on your Pushpin, and, on the left side of the screen, all of the information you sent in, will be listed.

[Click on the ▶ or the line of text above, to expand its contents]

June 20th: Field Day Two-Part Exercise


Exercise Message Submission Window

  • Part One: June 22nd 18:00 UTC — June 23rd - 20:59 UTC
  • Part Two: June 25th 00:00 UTC — June 28th - 07:59 UTC

Summary:

Difficulty Level:   Basic  


Purpose:

Purpose: We believe participants in the EmComm Training Organization’s exercises seek to acquire new skills and capabilities.

The ARRL Field Day provides an incentive for Ham radio operators to practice their portable emergency communications skills.

Field Day also gives radio operators an opportunity to practice originating and sending forms one might utilize during an event.

This year’s Field Day will be held on June 22nd and 23rd. The 27-hour operational period starts at 1800 UTC on the 22nd, and ends at 2059 UTC on the 23rd.

During this period, amateur radio operators may use select frequencies on HF, VHF, or UHF bands and are free to use any mode that can faithfully transmit the required exchange intact.

The ICS 213 is an ARRL approved general message form. An origination of an ICS 213 to the ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator, by your group from the Field Day site is worth 100 bonus points.

The message must include club name, number of participants, Field Day location, and number of ARES operators involved with your station.

The message must leave the Field Day operation via amateur radio frequencies.

An ICS 214 Activity Log submission captures the timeline and activity of an event. During an actual event, this documentation can assist you or your agency’s claim for reimbursement.

For Field Day, the ICS 214 will be used to capture your Field Day activities.

For details on frequency, allowed modes, and other rules, follow the link to the ARRL Field Day Rules in the Resources section below.

Note: Exercise participants can simulate if not actually participating in Field Day.

Complete Instructions for the June 20th "Field Day Two Day" exercise [PDF] Version 1.00


April 18th, 2024: Results for "Hospital Status Report" Exercise


Results Map (by Clearinghouse) for April 18th

Results Map (by Feedback Count) for April 18th


We are trying a different approach to providing feedback. [click here to expand]


Instead of a numeric score, we provide information about why a particular field entry was considered wrong, and give you the correct response.

We hope you will find this to be More Useful and Informative.

When you click on your "push-pin" on the Results Map, you'll find Useful Feedback, as well as a record of all the information you submitted.

(be sure to scroll down on the left side Information Panel, to view all of the information there.)

Here is an example of Feedback to one of our own Programmers:


"How do I find my Check-In on the Map?"

  1. In your Web Browser, with our Results Map displayed...
  2. On the left side, you'll see a list of the 12 ETO Clearinghouses.
  3. Click the    (down-pointing caret), and the list will expand vertically;
  4. Type a Ctrl-F, to use the Browser's "Find On This Page" function;
  5. Type your Callsign;
  6. Your Browser will highlight your callsign, in the vertical list on the left.
  7. Click on your Callsign, and the Map will show you your "pushpin".
  8. Click on your Pushpin, and, on the left side of the screen, all of the information you sent in, will be listed.

[Click on the ▶ or the line of text above, to expand its contents]

April 18th: "Hospital Status Report" exercise


Exercise Message Submission Window

  • April 16th, 2024 @ 00:00 UTC – April 19th, 2024 @ 15:00 UTC

Summary:

Difficulty Level:   Basic  


Purpose:

  • During a disaster or event scenario that impacts on a hospital facility to the degree that it becomes necessary to coordinate with a state or provincial government authority, the hospital will probably use a form similar to the Winlink Express Hospital Status Report template.
  • This template is generic. Each state or provincial jurisdiction sets its own standard and the Agency Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) that you support may have a modified version.
  • For this exercise, the EmComm Training Organization™ serves as the AHJ.
  • Your task is to submit an exercise Hospital Status Report form in accordance with the following Instructions.

Objective:

  • To submit an accurately completed Hospital Status Report to your regional ETO Clearinghouse within the timeframe specified above.
  • Messages submitted after the closing date/time are not included in the exercise analysis process and will not be included in the resulting report or map.

Complete Instructions for the April 18th "Hospital Status Report" exercise [PDF] Version 1.00


March 21st, 2024: Results for "ICS-309 Report" Exercise


Results Map (by Clearinghouse) for March 21st

Results Map (by Feedback Count) for March 21st


We are trying a different approach to providing feedback. [click here to expand]


Instead of a numeric score, we provide information about why a particular field entry was considered wrong, and give you the correct response.

We hope you will find this to be More Useful and Informative.

When you click on your "push-pin" on the Results Map, you'll find Useful Feedback, as well as a record of all the information you submitted.

(be sure to scroll down on the left side Information Panel, to view all of the information there.)

Here is an example of Feedback to one of our own Programmers:


"How do I find my Check-In on the Map?"

  1. In your Web Browser, with our Results Map displayed...
  2. On the left side, you'll see a list of the 12 ETO Clearinghouses.
  3. Click the    (down-pointing caret), and the list will expand vertically;
  4. Type a Ctrl-F, to use the Browser's "Find On This Page" function;
  5. Type your Callsign;
  6. Your Browser will highlight your callsign, in the vertical list on the left.
  7. Click on your Callsign, and the Map will show you your "pushpin".
  8. Click on your Pushpin, and, on the left side of the screen, all of the information you sent in, will be listed.

[Click on the ▶ or the line of text above, to expand its contents]

March 21st: exercise


Exercise Message Submission Window

  • March 19th, 2024 @ 00:00 UTC – March 22nd, 2024 @ 07:59 UTC

Summary

Difficulty Level:   Moderate  


Purpose: Radio operators supporting a service agency in drills, exercises, simulated emergency tests, or an actual emergency, may be asked to send a Winlink Form 309 Communications Log via Winlink at the end of each shift.

For a large number of messages sent or received, this could get rather tedious entering the information, and risk introducing typos in transcribing the information.

Winlink Express provides a feature that will generate a Form 309 Communications Log via a filtered list of items taken from selected Message Mailboxes.

Objectives:
  • Use Winlink Express to generate a Tab Delimited file documenting the Messages sent and received by the operator.
  • Copy and paste the contents of this Tab Delimited file to populate the line items within the ICS 309 Communications Log HTML.
  • Generate simulated messages that will be sent and received by the exercise participant and these messages reported within Form ICS 309.
  • Transmit the completed Winlink Forms ICS 309 Communications Log to the participant’s respective ETO Clearinghouse and ETO-BK.



Summary:


Complete Instructions for the March 21st "Create an ICS-309 Form" exercise [PDF] Version 1.00


  • Instructions for the March 21st "Create an ICS-309 Form" exercise [PDF] Version 1.00
  • February 15th, 2024: Results for "Humanitarian Needs Identification" Exercise


    Results Map (by Clearinghouse) for February 15th

    Results Map (by Feedback Count) for February 15th


    We are trying a different approach to providing feedback. [click here to expand]


    Instead of a numeric score, we provide information about why a particular field entry was considered wrong, and give you the correct response.

    We hope you will find this to be More Useful and Informative.

    When you click on your "push-pin" on the Results Map, you'll find Useful Feedback, as well as a record of all the information you submitted.

    (be sure to scroll down on the left side Information Panel, to view all of the information there.)

    Here is an example of Feedback to one of our own Programmers:


    "How do I find my Check-In on the Map?"

    1. In your Web Browser, with our Results Map displayed...
    2. On the left side, you'll see a list of the 12 ETO Clearinghouses.
    3. Click the    (down-pointing caret), and the list will expand vertically;
    4. Type a Ctrl-F, to use the Browser's "Find On This Page" function;
    5. Type your Callsign;
    6. Your Browser will highlight your callsign, in the vertical list on the left.
    7. Click on your Callsign, and the Map will show you your "pushpin".
    8. Click on your Pushpin, and, on the left side of the screen, all of the information you sent in, will be listed.

    [Click on the ▶ or the line of text above, to expand its contents]

    February 15th: Humanitarian Needs Identification Form exercise


    Exercise Message Submission Window

    • February 13th 00:00 UTC – February 16th 07:59 UTC

    Difficulty Level:   Basic  


    Purpose:

    While providing emergency support to local agencies, you may be required to send information requiring urban search and rescue (US&R) assets. This information allows the state governor to request US&R support.

    For the purpose of this exercise, EmComm Training Organization (ETO) is the served agency. ETO's requirements can and probably will be different from your other served agencies. If there is a conflict between your previous training and the ETO instructions for this exercise, follow the ETO instructions.

    In this exercise, you will demonstrate the basic understanding and the ability to
    1. 1) create a correctly-formatted Humanitarian Needs Identification Form with given simulated data received from the requestor, and
    2. 2) transmit the document to your ETO clearing house and the tactical address ETO-BK using Winlink.


    Complete Instructions for the February 15th "Humanitarian Needs Identification Form" exercise [PDF] Version 1.03


    January 18th, 2024: Results for "Winter Field Day Participation Poll" via ICS-213


    Results Map (by Clearinghouse) for January 18th, 2024: "Winter Field Day Participation Poll via ICS-213" exercise




    Results Map (by WFD Participation) for January 18th, 2024: "Winter Field Day Participation Poll via ICS-213" exercise




    Results Map (by Feedback Count) for January 18th: "Winter Field Day Participation Poll, via ICS-213 form" exercise


    We are trying a different approach to providing feedback. [click here to expand]


    Instead of a numeric score, we provide information about why a particular field entry was considered wrong, and give you the correct response.

    We hope you will find this to be More Useful and Informative.

    When you click on your "push-pin" on the Results Map, you'll find Useful Feedback, as well as a record of all the information you submitted.

    (be sure to scroll down on the left side Information Panel, to view all of the information there.)

    Here is an example of Feedback to one of our own Programmers:


    "How do I find my Check-In on the Map?"

    1. In your Web Browser, with our Results Map displayed...
    2. On the left side, you'll see a list of the 12 ETO Clearinghouses.
    3. Click the    (down-pointing caret), and the list will expand vertically;
    4. Type a Ctrl-F, to use the Browser's "Find On This Page" function;
    5. Type your Callsign;
    6. Your Browser will highlight your callsign, in the vertical list on the left.
    7. Click on your Callsign, and the Map will show you your "pushpin".
    8. Click on your Pushpin, and, on the left side of the screen, all of the information you sent in, will be listed.

    [Click on the ▶ or the line of text above, to expand its contents]

    January 18th: Winter Field Day ICS-213 Poll exercise

    Exercise Message Submission Window

    • January 16th 00:00 UTC – January 19th 07:59 UTC

    Difficulty Level:   Basic  


    Purpose:

    We believe participants in the EmComm Training Organization’s exercises seek to acquire new skills and capabilities. The Winter Field Day Association has been sponsoring Winter Field Day to provide an incentive for Ham radio operators to practice portable emergency communications in winter environments. The EmComm Training Organization is interested in finding out how many of our participants will be involved in Winter Field Day activities.

    This year’s Winter Field Day will be held on January 27th and 28th. The 24-hour operational period starts at 1900 UTC on the 27th, and ends at 1859 UTC on the 28th. During this period, amateur radio operators may use select frequencies on their HF, VHF, or UHF bands and are free to use any mode that can faithfully transmit the required exchange intact. For details on frequency, allowed modes, and other rules follow the link to the Winter Field Day Rules in the Resources section below.


    Objectives:

    Use Winlink Express to create and send an ICS 213 General Message
    • Use the recent addition of GIS features to the Winlink ICS 213 Form
    • Provide response to the two questions:
      1. Do you or one of the radio groups to which you are a member plan on participating in activities related to Winter Field Day. (YES or NO)
      2. If YES, provide on a separate line your current best knowledge of what will be your exchange (Look at the Winter Field Day rules link above for information on the exchange)
      3. If the answer to 1 is NO, do not provide any additional information.

    Complete Instructions for the Winter Field Day ICS-213 Poll exercise [PDF] Version 1.02



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