ARC-EmComm-Training Excercise Scenario – May 8th, 2021

The spring Red Cross nationwide emergency communications drill will be held on Saturday, May 8th, with Red Cross, ARES and other operators asked to demonstrate the ability to deliver digital messages using Red Cross forms to specific addresses via Winlink. For this exercise, participants are tasked with sending two messages to the Red Cross Divisional Clearinghouse for their geographic area. The exercise scenario and guidelines attached to this message provide details and instructions for operators desiring to participate. This exercise draws on lessons learned in the previous Winlink Thursday sessions. For those who have been following along, this scenario gives you the opportunity to put into practice the skills you have been practicing since January.  You will need to send a Winlink Check-In Form to register your participation and a separate WInlink message with a template ARC Disaster Requisition Form 6409.  The hand-written sample provided in the exercise packet is similar to one that might be handed to a radio operator supporting a Red Cross relief operation. We urge everyone to take their time and be sure the information transcribed into the Winlink template form is an accurate copy of the information supplied on the form and that each message is properly addressed to the recipients specified in the directions.

A new addition to our playbook is the inclusion of a real-time map that displays the location of each station as their Winlink Check-In Form is received. You can follow along and watch as the exercise progresses on Saturday by clicking here to view the map. Please submit your messages on Saturday, May 8th between noon and 4 p.m. local time.

For those who can do so safely, we encourage you to once again pack your “go-kit” and get out in the field to submit your exercise traffic. This is good practice for any operator looking to become proficient in EmComm operations.

Last month, many of you submitted photos of your go-kit in the field as an attachment to your Winlink message.  For this iteration, in order not to tie up the Winlink gateways unnecessarily, we request that anyone looking to submit an image to share in our gallery do so by sending it via traditional email to  Do not send images using Winlink in this exercise.

This year our spring exercise falls on World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, an annual celebration of the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. World Red Cross Red Crescent Day is celebrated on May 8th each year. This date is the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828. He was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. We have set up a special clearinghouse for amateur radio operators from other national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies to check in for this event using the Winlink tactical address ARCDX.

If you would like to be included in our future training and exercise sessions, visit our website at and subscribe to our mailing list. You can also find additional information on suggested proficiency goals and training materials to help you broaden your skills as an amateur radio operator.

2021 Spotter Training Schedule


Classes are free, open to the public, and require registration via the links provided in each course description.Each class lasts about 2 hours and is led by a National Weather Service meteorologists
who will discuss techniques and safety for severe weather spotting. Once you attend a class,
you will receive instructions for filling out online registration forms to officially become
a trained spotter and can report severe weather to your NWS office.At this time, there are no in-person spotter training courses scheduled for the 2021 spring season.

Thursday, March 4th, 7:00-9:00 PM

Monday, March 8th, 6:00-8:00 PM

Tuesday, March 23rd, 6:00-8:00 PM

Saturday, March 27th, 12:00-2:00 PM

Click here for training schedule National Weather Service

Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logo are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission.

NWS SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program

In most years, thunderstorms, tornadoes and lightning cause hundreds of injuries and deaths and billions in property and crop damages.  To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service

(NWS) established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local comm

unities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the focus is reporting on severe local thunderstorms. In an average year, the United States experiences more than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. SKYWARN® storm spotters form the nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than t

o know that your efforts have given your family and neighbors the precious gift of time–minutes that can help save lives.

Who is eligible and how do I get started?

NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches and nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are encouraged to become a spotter. Ready to learn more? Find a class in your area. Training is free and typically lasts about 2 hours. You’ll learn:

  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety

Need help with your Spotter Number or other local information such as a missing class schedule? If you need help finding your spotter number or a class schedule, contact your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist.  He or she can help you get, find or replace your spotter information and let you know about upcoming classes. Classes typically are held in an office’s relatively slow season.  Classes are NOT typically offered all year.  Schedules vary from office to office.

Looking for our online program? You also can also take our free online spotter program.  Some offices also ask that you take a local class to learn about weather unique to your area.

NWS Link

Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logo are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission