The Texas Star Party has an Emergency Network to help us organize and deliver an effective response to emergency situations. You can read more about the environment and conditions at TSP on our In Case of Emergency Be Prepared page.

Our goal is NOT to render medical aid or advice.  Instead it is to help to expedite care for a person(s) in need as best as possible, given the remote conditions at TSP.

What type of emergencies do we expect?

  • Medical
    • Someone falls and is injured, especially at night
    • A serious medical condition arises requiring medical assistance, such as heart attack
    • Unknown medical situation, where person is found unresponsive or incapacitated
  • Fire
    • A Ranch building, tent, RV or grass is on fire
    • Off-Ranch fires that imminently threaten to move onto the Ranch
  • Bad Weather
    • While approaching bad weather (wind/rain/lightning/hail) is cause for concern, normal radio communication and watchers will be used.
    • The Emergency Network may be needed if people are injured
  • These are NOT usually covered by the Emergency Network:
    • Simple minor first-aid situations (burn, cut, etc)
    • Broken pipes causing flooding in a bathroom (contact Prude Ranch)

How Is the Emergency Network launched/initiated?

  • The Emergency Network is an amateur radio operation using our (70 cm) W5TSP REPEATER 442.8+, pl 110.9
  • When an emergency occurs, this information needs to be communicated to the W5TSP radio
    • If you are initially communicating an emergency that has not been otherwise reported, say “W5TSP, I have an emergency to report” and then wait for a response from Net Control. At that point, Net Control will control the communications. Only respond to Net Control’s questions and requests.
    • In case the originator(s) do not have access to the W5TSP radio
      • Use the FRS (ch 6) or GMRS (ch 15, 11).
      • Someone may be able to relay the information to the W5TSP radio
    • Or send someone to the radio building (next to tower)
    • Or find someone with a radio
  • Net Control  (Network Coordinator)
    • is monitoring the W5TSP radio,
    • will determine that an emergency condition exists that can be handled by our network,
    • and will announce that an emergency is declared using the W5TSP radio
      • It is desirable that a similar announcement be sent on the FRS and GMRS channels, and that the Emergency Network is operating on the W5TSP 70 cm ham radio channel.

What are the key roles in the Emergency Network?

  • Net Control (Network Coordinator) is manager of the Emergency Network communications and directs our facilitators
  • facilitator is any other participant of the Emergency Network and is volunteering their help
    • Can provide radio communications for a non-radio operator, especially medical volunteers
    • May be asked by the Network Coordinator to go to some location on the Ranch, including
      • direct traffic
      • provide transportation for a medical person
      • provide radio contact as another pair of eyes on the ground to monitor and report back,
        • including being a first-responder at TSP (does not have to be medically-trained)
        • allows us to adjust resources to fit the situation
    • Can simply check in via radio and stand by in case needed
  • A medically-trained volunteer, including doctor, nurse, or EMT
    • It is desirable that this volunteer be equipped with an FRS or GMRS radio to expedite notification of a problem.
    • If not radio-equipped, it is possible to assign a radio-equipped person to accompany the medical volunteer to facilitate communications

Communicating with the Emergency Network

  • There is a specific protocol that you MUST use when using your radio on the Emergency Network:

    • When the opportunity presents itself (there is a short quiet time on frequency), communicate with the Net Control saying, “Net Control, this is [Your FCC Call Sign]”
    • Wait until invited to speak by Net Control
    • When Net Control calls out your callsign, then deliver your message/conversation.
    • Keep all messages concise and to the point. If Net Control requires more information, they will let you know.
    • Do not interrupt Net Control or otherwise interrupt communications
  • Your initial contact is usually to identify your callsign and name, and to indicate your location and availability.
  • When you stop monitoring the Emergency Network, be sure to notify Net Control that you are now leaving the network.


The Emergency Network Drill

  • There is a practice Emergency Network drill during TSP, usually on Tuesday
  • There are also daily network calls each afternoon
  • For more details read  TSP Amateur Radio