National security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) personnel need to transmit critical messages to coordinate emergency operations even when traditional means of communicating via landlines and cellphones are damaged or destroyed. The SHARES HF Radio Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), provides an additional means for users with a NS/EP mission to communicate when landline and cellular communications are unavailable.
SHARES members use existing Federal department and agency (and affiliate) HF radio resources to coordinate and transmit messages for Federal, State, tribal, local, and industry organizations worldwide. SHARES users rely on HF radio communications to perform critical functions, including those areas related to leadership, safety, maintenance of law and order, finance, and public health. This program also provides the Federal emergency response community with a single interagency emergency message handling and frequency spectrum management system. SHARES promotes interoperability between HF radio systems used by Federal departments and agencies and monitors applicable regulatory, procedural, and technical issues.
Over 1,400 HF radio stations—representing 104 Federal, State, and industry organizations, located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and at 23 locations overseas—are resource contributors to the SHARES HF Radio Program. SHARES stations are located in every U.S. State and at 20 overseas locations. Nearly 500 emergency planning and response personnel participate in SHARES. Over 200 HF radio channels are available for use by SHARES members.
Membership in the SHARES program is voluntary, and SHARES is available on a 24-hour basis and requires no prior coordination or activation to transmit messages. Members consult the SHARES Manual to find stations, frequencies and/or Automatic Link Establishment addresses of Federal, State and industry organizations they need to communicate/coordinate with. Participating SHARES HF radio stations accept and relay messages until a receiving station is able to deliver the message to the intended recipient. SHARES Coordination Stations issue notices to stations and then track and confirm stations’ on-the-air status as a way to increase the number of stations available and to map those available to support SHARES during an emergency.