Amherst, Nova Scotia

WestCumb  Amateur  Radio Club  VE1WRC

  Serving Westmorland County New Brunswick & Cumberland County Nova Scotia since 1980

Exercise Handshake

Exercise Handshake is a monthly exercise held on the last Tuesday of each month. The exercise started on December 8th, 2008 and has continuously been active every month since.
The exercise started as a way for agencies across Nova Scotia to test out their new TMR radio system without being in a real emergency. This way everyone would get an opportunity to test the radios, get comfortable using them and finding any problems so they can be fixed and ready for real emergencies.
Amateur radio was also asked to take part in the exercise so that amateurs would be ready to run EMO communications at local EMO's if needed.

Jim Hannon EMO Coordinator for Cumberland County puts out the first call to Shubie radio on December 8th, 2008 to begin the first Exercise Handshake. The exercise had 18 operators taking part and calls came in representing Cumberland REMO, Colchester REMO, PMCC New Brunswick, EMO Prince Edward Island, Cumberland Health Authority and Nova Scotia Public Safety. Some of the amateurs taking part in the first exercise were Jim Hannon VE1AFH, Jim Langille VE1JBL, Bob Perry VE1EDP, Brad Ross VE1ZX, Peter Hebb VE1CCL, George Meggison VY2GM, Bruce Harvey VE1II, Art Hamilton VE1ART, Jean-Guy Landry VE9BUF and repessenting PSFC Scott Hawkes VE1SDH and Al Cyples VE1CYP.

For the first few years Cumberland Regional EMO and the WestCumb Amateur Radio Club in Amherst NS hosted the exercise. During those years the exercise grew from only TMR radios and Satellite phones to include VHF communications via the MAVCOM system and HF communications via the National 80 meter emergency frequency of 3.675MHz.
In later years the net has been hosted by other amateur radio clubs and county EOC's.  
Some of the early members of WestCumb ARC taking part in the exercise include Left to Right standing: Lloyd Smith VA1MAB, Peter Hebb VE1SM. Sitting: Al Christie VE1ZS, Brad Ross VE1ZX and Mike Masters VE1ZB.
Bob Perry VE1EDP was the communications officer for Cumberland REMO and prepared the radio room each month for operation.

In 2017 the WestCumb ARC was invited to the annual Interoperability Forum hosted by Public Safety and Field Communications and presented with the Ian MacKinnon Award for outstanding contribution to ensure radio interoperability for first responders in Nova Scotia with Exercise Handshake.
Left to Right:
Mike Johnson VE1MWJ Cumberland Regional EMO Management, Bob Perry VE1EDP Jim Langille VE1JBL, Jim Hannon VE1AFH from WestCumb ARC, Craig Seaboyer VE1DSS and Todd Brown Director Public Safety presenting the team with the award.

The exercise is open to all agencies across the Maritimes using the TMR2 system and to all amateur radio operators associated with their local EMO centres, CANWARN Atlantic or Red Cross Atlantic. 
The exercise takes place on the last Tuesday of each month beginning at 7pm AT.

  • TMR2 operators are asked to contact Shubie radio who will then direct them to the Mutual Aid or Common channel being used for the exercise. When calling in give your name, the agency you represent and any information for the net.

  • Amateur radio operators will use the MAVCOM system. The NCO will link 20 repeaters throughout Nova Scotia and PEI. Operations will also take part on HF using the National 80M Emergency frequency of 3.675MHz.

For more information about Exercise Handshake contact

Mike Johnson Cumberland REMO at mjohnson@cumberlandcounty.ns.ca
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