SHARES provides a single, interagency voice and data emergency message handling system. It does this by bringing together existing HF radio resources of Federal, state and industry organizations when normal communications are destroyed or unavailable for transmission of information supporting NS/EP.
On-air operations are conducted to improve SHARES capability to respond quickly and efficiently during the critical first hours of an emergency. SHARES readiness operations include nationwide exercises, a weekly SHARES net, and support operations conducted at the request of member agencies.
The SHARES HF Interoperability Working Group conducts three nationwide exercises each year to provide station personnel with training in the SHARES message formatting and operating procedures, and to expand awareness of SHARES within the Federal emergency response community.
Here are examples of exercises in year 2000.
The first focused on the critical first hours following a major disaster.
The second exercise assumed a category G5 geomagnetic storm impacting the northeast U.S. causing widespread power system grid failures and communications outages.
The third setup four 4-hour windows in which voice operations were emphasized the first 2 hours of each window; BBS operations the 3rd hour, and ALE radio the 4th hour. 264 stations, in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands participated.
The National Communications System (NCS) expanded the number of National Telecommunications Coordinating Network - High Frequency (NTCN_HF) radio stations participating in SHARES. The NTCN_HF serves as a backup communications network supporting the National Telecommunications Management Structure (NTMS). NTMS is responsible for restoring the nation's telecommunications resources in the aftermath of a national security emergency or disaster. The NTMS is managed by the NCS and is comprised of 22 industry and 34 government radio stations throughout the country.
(Source: SHARES HF Radio Program Bulletin, June 6, 2001.)