Frequently asked questions about the SHAred RESources (SHARES) High Frequency (HF) Radio Program.
What is SHARES?
The SHAred RESources (SHARES) High Frequency (HF) Radio Program coordinates a voluntary network of government, industry, and disaster response agency HF radio stations used for emergency communications. SHARES supports government (federal, state, and county), critical infrastructure, and nationwide or multi-state disaster response organizations in two ways: by transmitting emergency messages when normal communications systems are destroyed or unavailable, and by providing HF radio channels for interoperability. SHARES supports Emergency Support Function Two (ESF #2), Communications, and helps participants maintain awareness of applicable regulatory, procedural, and technical issues. SHARES is a program of the National Coordinating Center for Communications (NCC), a division of CISA Central.
How Does SHARES Work?
The SHARES HF Radio Program is the responsibility of, and is administered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) Cybersecurity Division (CSD). Members of the SHARES Program consult the SHARES Handbook to find stations, frequencies, and/or Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) addresses of participating organizations they need to communicate/coordinate with during emergency operations. SHARES is available on a 24-hour basis and requires no prior coordination or activation to transmit messages. Participating SHARES HF radio stations accept and relay messages until a receiving station is able to deliver the message to the intended addressee. The SHARES Program conducts weekly and quarterly communications exercises designed to provide users with operational knowledge, technical skills, and training in preparation for proficiency during emergencies.
What Else Should I Know?
LICENSING and REGISTRATION
Q: Does the SHARES station license allow county EOCs to be able to use 60-meter channels? My reasoning: the fewer number of “licenses” a county EM must deal with, the easier it will be for them.
A: All SHARES stations are Federal government radio stations regardless of who hosts the station, therefore they are authorized to use the 5 channels at 5 MHz for emergency communications including tests and exercises, including interoperability with Amateur stations on those channels when authorized, as directed by the SHARES program office in accordance with the NTIA authorization issued to DHS
Federal government stations may communicate with Amateur stations for emergency communications as described above when:
- The Amateur station is operating in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) at the direction of a government emergency management official
- With any Amateur station engaged in emergency communications on the five channels at 5 MHz;
- When necessary for the immediate protection of life and property, when normal communications means are not available.
Q: What are the training / licensing requirements?
A: There are no licensing, processing, or airtime fees for SHARES. The station license is issued by the SHARES Program Office. There are no operator licenses – it is your responsibility to determine who is qualified to operate the radio. Access to SHARES “For Official Use Only” information such as the channel list, the net list, and the station directory must be controlled by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If your personnel (staff or volunteers) are already covered by your NDA, just remind them that it covers this information. If not, have those personnel register in SHARES as “emergency response personnel (ERP)” which will require them to sign the NDA which is part of the SHARES Form 1. This will also get them added to the SHARES email distribution. We do not have the capacity to register large numbers of volunteers who might possibly operate your radio for you – please limit volunteer registrations to a very small number. HF radio operating procedures are the same as used by the military, aviation, and maritime communities. Those with Amateur Radio (ham radio) experience may be familiar with the operating procedures. SHARES uses the U.S. Coast Guard Radiotelephone Handbook as our guide for operating procedures: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CGTTP_6-01_1A_Radiotelephone_Handbook- 508 compliant v2.pdf. A new registrant’s welcome email will include contact info for the volunteer Regional Coordinator for SHARES for their region. This person can provide basic how-to information to help you check in to our weekly national and regional nets (on the air gatherings of stations at a specified time on a specified channel). Every Wednesday from 11am Eastern time to 1pm Eastern time the national net is on the air. Most regional nets operate from 12 noon to 1pm Eastern time (except the Southeast region which operates from 11am-noon Eastern time). These Wednesday nets exist so that participants have an opportunity to test their equipment and practice their operator skills. When nets are not scheduled the channels are available for testing, training, and experimentation. Another SHARES participant in the vicinity of
Q: Some questions have been brought up about network times and the local time change that is to occur. Since not all areas of the CONUS follow a daylight savings time regime I would keep all network and activation times scales based on UTC not local time. UTC is what it implies, universal, local time can become confusing since the user must convert for their respective time zones. What is the OFFICIAL word from the SHARES office?
A: SHARES is primarily for agencies and critical infrastructure. Workers schedule meetings and lunch breaks not to conflict with SHARES nets (to the extent they can) based on local time. People don’t shift lunch hour when we go to DST, they eat lunch at the same local time. Nets stay at the same local time because meetings and lunch schedules do. Only AZ (except Navajo lands), HI, and the five territories (GU, MP, AS, PR, and VI) do not observe DST.
Q: A quick question which I should know but can’t find or remember. Does SHARES support WINMORE?
A: No. Only Pactor-3 and Pactor-4 May be used on SHARES.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MARS, USAF-AUX (CAP), USCG-AUX MEMBERS TO JOIN SHARES
Q: What is the procedure for Army MARS members to join SHARES?
A: Army MARS members need to submit their SHARES Form 1 to their respected MARS Regional Director. The director will then validate that they are a member of Army MARS and will forward the application to the SHARES Program Office.
Q: What is the procedure for Air Force members to join SHARES?
A: Air Force MARS members need to submit their SHARES Form 1 to their respected MARS Regional Director. The director will then validate that they are a member of Air Force MARS and will forward the application to the SHARES Program Office.
Q: What is the procedure for USAF Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol) to join SHARES?
A: USAF Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol – CAP) members should contact CAP Command & Control Communications program management office, please contact the SHARES Program Office via the SHARES Customer Service Request (CSR)
Q: What is the procedure for USCG Auxiliarists to join SHARES?
A: USCG Auxiliarists members should request a SHARES Form 1-CGAUX from and submit their application through the Branch Chief for Contingency Communications (BC-RTC), will then validate that they are a member of USCG Auxiliary and will forward the application to the SHARES Program Office. To be a SHARES member from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, you must have an approved CGAUX HF station registered in AUXDATA. Please contact the SHARES Program Office via the SHARES Customer Service Request (CSR) for contact information on the BC-RTC.
- Over 1,350 HF radio stations—representing 104 federal, state, and industry organizations, located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and overseas—participate in SHARES.
- Nearly 500 emergency planning and response personnel participate in SHARES.
- SHARES utilizes multiple federally-assigned HF radio channels for use by SHARES members.
- The SHARES HF Interoperability Working Group, with members representing 110 organizations, conducts HF technical reviews, provides regulatory guidance and direction for administration of the SHARES network, and promotes awareness of new HF radio technologies.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting the SHARES Program Office by using the SHARES Customer Service Request (CSR)