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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 12:36 PM
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In the end, the ARRL is giving new licensees a false sense of being in this "hobby". By allowing this, HAMS believe very strongly that just because they have a license and amateur radios. That this allows them to serve in an official capacity. When in reality the larger budget departments just laugh at them.

ARRL should remove the terminology EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS from its accepted language. Those 2 words should not be used on POVs, shirts, hats or banners. The word EMERGENCY should only be used in the context of true paid personnel or the volunteer Corp of Fire Fighters / EMS.

Now for those that have a dire NEED for a fancy title in their signature or mickey mouse ID badges. Then maybe VOLUNTEER COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST would be a little more appropriate in today's world.

Now in third world were daily communication infrastructure is very troublesome. Then yes, they do and can serve as back up communications.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
ARRL should remove the terminology EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS from its accepted language. Those 2 words should not be used on POVs, shirts, hats or banners. The word EMERGENCY should only be used in the context of true paid personnel or the volunteer Corp of Fire Fighters / EMS.
Exactly, and a very good idea.

However, I think ARRL has a well inflated ego, and I doubt this would fly.
Wackerism is a disease, and it needs to be eradicated. Amateur radio operators should not be running any sort of warning lights, badges, etc. Exemptions from distracted driving laws is another place that is going to be a slippery slope. Since amateur radio operators are not required to be talking on the radio, and they -certainly- are not to be running "code 3" to anything, talking on the radio while driving should be considered a luxury, not a requirement.
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  #63 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 3:24 PM
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ARES: Interfering with Public Safety for 50+ Some Odd Years

Whacker Whacker.
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 4:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
ARRL should remove the terminology EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS from its accepted language.
First off, "emergency communications" is in the purpose of the amateur radio service as stated by the FCC:

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§97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
Also, Mike Corey KI1U, who is the ARRL staff member responsible for organizing and managing the ARRL "emergency communications" response, tried to push for downplaying the term "emergency communications" in the basis of the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program. He was almost run out of ARRL HQ on a rail by the membership. Mr. Corey had the right idea and I think he understands the reality of what amateur radio can do, but he needs to find a different way to sell the idea.

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Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
Now for those that have a dire NEED for a fancy title in their signature or mickey mouse ID badges. Then maybe VOLUNTEER COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST would be a little more appropriate in today's world.
I think I mentioned before that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications prefers to use the term "AUXCOMM" to designate what amateur radio operators can bring to the table. They teach this philosophy and, at one time, OEC personnel were working to develop an AUXCOMM certification program. I think that should include your concept of Volunteer Communications Specialist.
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  #65 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 5:43 PM
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I think (as in MY own opinion) the FCC wording about "emergency communications" is valid. What needs to be changed is the ARRL/ARES/RACES, etc. use of it.
Providing "communications in an emergency" is a pretty loose term. That could be a 12 year old kid with an FRS radio.
It shouldn't be confused with being a public safety official.

The concern that some of us have is the mistaken attitude that we see in some amateurs that their role becomes equal to a police officer, fireman, paramedic, simply because they are holding a two way radio. A radio is a tool. For public safety professionals, it's just one of many tools. For some amateurs, it's their ONLY tool. The problem with only having one tool is that it gets pushed into service as a tool to fix all problems. Sort of like the "if you only have a hammer in your tool box, all problems start to look like nails".

What Maximus was likely referring to was the "whacker" issue with amateurs starting to believe that flashing lights on their vehicles are part of the deal. Getting in the way, interfering with pubic safety officials, etc. is the issue.

AUXCOMM is a better way to look at it. Providing "auxiliary communications" to local, state or federal governments when asked.
From what I've read on AUXCOMM, it's designed pretty well. Required IS-xxx courses, well laid out plans, etc.

ARRL, RACES, ARES, etc. need to get in line with the AUXCOMM plan. A unified system, common training, etc.

I'd much rather work with a group that understands that their role is to provide auxiliary communications to us in an emergency, not rebuild the network, not try to be public safety, not to be heros, but to just be radio operators. Leave the flashing lights, badges, safety vests, etc. at home. Just be a radio operator.
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
ARRL, RACES, ARES, etc. need to get in line with the AUXCOMM plan. A unified system, common training, etc.
You're kidding, right?

Never. Gonna. Happen.
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I think (as in MY own opinion) the FCC wording about "emergency communications" is valid. What needs to be changed is the ARRL/ARES/RACES, etc. use of it.
Providing "communications in an emergency" is a pretty loose term. That could be a 12 year old kid with an FRS radio.
It shouldn't be confused with being a public safety official.

The concern that some of us have is the mistaken attitude that we see in some amateurs that their role becomes equal to a police officer, fireman, paramedic, simply because they are holding a two way radio. A radio is a tool. For public safety professionals, it's just one of many tools. For some amateurs, it's their ONLY tool. The problem with only having one tool is that it gets pushed into service as a tool to fix all problems. Sort of like the "if you only have a hammer in your tool box, all problems start to look like nails".

What Maximus was likely referring to was the "whacker" issue with amateurs starting to believe that flashing lights on their vehicles are part of the deal. Getting in the way, interfering with pubic safety officials, etc. is the issue.

AUXCOMM is a better way to look at it. Providing "auxiliary communications" to local, state or federal governments when asked.
From what I've read on AUXCOMM, it's designed pretty well. Required IS-xxx courses, well laid out plans, etc.

ARRL, RACES, ARES, etc. need to get in line with the AUXCOMM plan. A unified system, common training, etc.

I'd much rather work with a group that understands that their role is to provide auxiliary communications to us in an emergency, not rebuild the network, not try to be public safety, not to be heros, but to just be radio operators. Leave the flashing lights, badges, safety vests, etc. at home. Just be a radio operator.
Nailed it!
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2017, 11:30 PM
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You're kidding, right?

Never. Gonna. Happen.
Of course not. I think one of the big issues with amateur radio is the ARRL.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:42 AM
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The badges are necessary, for access into facilities, when providing communications support. (Maybe saying ID cards is better, so someone does not confuse a metal badge with an access control.)

Emergency communications still applies, in catastrophic situations. I mean large scale events, such as large hurricanes, earthquakes, etc, and making connections to the outside world. (Like Hurricane Katrina, and how many small towns had a ham be the first strange face they had seen. The hams were the first to tell them what had happened.) I would hope this would not be the case, again, even when the hams become the connection to the rest of the world.

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  #70 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2017, 7:32 AM
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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post



Also, Mike Corey KI1U, who is the ARRL staff member responsible for organizing and managing the ARRL "emergency communications" response, tried to push for downplaying the term "emergency communications" in the basis of the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program. He was almost run out of ARRL HQ on a rail by the membership. Mr. Corey had the right idea and I think he understands the reality of what amateur radio can do, but he needs to find a different way to sell the idea.
Actually he was successful in the classification change to the whole concept and the ARRL, while not changing the ARES designation, did change it to "Public Service" a number of years ago. Public Service There was a big uproar about it but the ARRL followed though and changed its published documents to reflect that even though there was a lot of kickback from the membership.
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  #71 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2017, 7:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I think (as in MY own opinion) the FCC wording about "emergency communications" is valid. What needs to be changed is the ARRL/ARES/RACES, etc. use of it.
Providing "communications in an emergency" is a pretty loose term. That could be a 12 year old kid with an FRS radio.
It shouldn't be confused with being a public safety official.

The concern that some of us have is the mistaken attitude that we see in some amateurs that their role becomes equal to a police officer, fireman, paramedic, simply because they are holding a two way radio. A radio is a tool. For public safety professionals, it's just one of many tools. For some amateurs, it's their ONLY tool. The problem with only having one tool is that it gets pushed into service as a tool to fix all problems. Sort of like the "if you only have a hammer in your tool box, all problems start to look like nails".

What Maximus was likely referring to was the "whacker" issue with amateurs starting to believe that flashing lights on their vehicles are part of the deal. Getting in the way, interfering with pubic safety officials, etc. is the issue.

AUXCOMM is a better way to look at it. Providing "auxiliary communications" to local, state or federal governments when asked.
From what I've read on AUXCOMM, it's designed pretty well. Required IS-xxx courses, well laid out plans, etc.

ARRL, RACES, ARES, etc. need to get in line with the AUXCOMM plan. A unified system, common training, etc.

I'd much rather work with a group that understands that their role is to provide auxiliary communications to us in an emergency, not rebuild the network, not try to be public safety, not to be heros, but to just be radio operators. Leave the flashing lights, badges, safety vests, etc. at home. Just be a radio operator.
Nice post.

I did read a piece a while back where there was a thought about changing the term "emergency communications" to "situational communications", as most of the classifications of both natural and man-made situations already have existing playbooks and SOP's in place and communications is a component of these.

I'm trying to find the place where I saw it as it had a lot of merits.
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  #72 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2017, 8:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I'd much rather work with a group that understands that their role is to provide auxiliary communications to us in an emergency, not rebuild the network, not try to be public safety, not to be heros, but to just be radio operators. Leave the flashing lights, badges, safety vests, etc. at home. Just be a radio operator.
EXACTLY!

While I have operated where amateur radio was the ONLY conduit from the disaster zone to the emergency management facility(over 300km) it was for a relatively short period of time. most times we have been the insurance IF commercial facilities fail. On site, but in standby mode.
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  #73 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2017, 8:43 AM
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Really? This sounds like the job description for the Motorola techs that maintain the fire and EMS dispatch system where I work. And they are not hams. Amateur radio is - and has been for the past 30 years or so - generally an appliance operator's hobby.
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by krokus View Post
The badges are necessary, for access into facilities, when providing communications support. (Maybe saying ID cards is better, so someone does not confuse a metal badge with an access control.)....Sent via Tapatalk
Yes, and, they should be issued and controlled by the EMA, EOC Director, Sheriff, or similar authority.

Issue only to those who NEED access. Access as defined by the controlling authority, not ARES, RACES, AREC, or Joe React. We had a ham club president tell the EOC he needed 24 hour access with a chipped "badge".
Issue to operators who have been vetted/background checked, have demonstrated abilities/capabilities, willingness, AND commitment to use those traits for the betterment of the operation, AS DIRECTED.

They shouldn't be solicited for, "asked for" or "demanded by" hams who think they are special, or need them to show off to their buddies at the VFW, yacht club, or wear to ham club meetings. Yes, I've seen them worn by holders (volunteers) in public for no official reason whatsoever. Why does one wear an EOC ID card while grocery shopping?
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:28 AM
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Being fair, the PS systems have been made more robust, at least since Katrina. That lowers the chances of needing backup comms.

The systems do busy out. During a tornado event, a few years ago, the network managers were actively kicking TGs off towers in the affected area, if the TG had no use in that area. Just a few weeks ago, we had a major wind event, and it took over about two minutes to get a channel grant, so I could give my brief initial report, at a commercial structure fire.

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I help maintain a 4 site 24 channel P25 system. Once a month we (in coordination with our parent 911 center) place our system into failsoft for an hour so both our 911 center folks and the subscribers in the field are comfortable with what happens when failsoft occurs and the system reverts back to conventional mode.
We are also lucky enough to have 3 other neighboring P25 systems that we have reciprocal agreements with that give everyone access to other "backup" talkgroups if needed.
Even with all of the above we have given our 911 Center Supervisor OP positions receive only console access to the local Skywarn VHF repeater for monitoring during severe weather.
A few of us in the radio shop have our Ham license (along with a GROL) and we are always trying to be proactive and trying to give our radio system users more tools they can use to improve comms.

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Old 04-27-2017, 1:26 PM
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Issue only to those who NEED access. Access as defined by the controlling authority, not ARES, RACES, AREC, or Joe React. We had a ham club president tell the EOC he needed 24 hour access with a chipped "badge".
Issue to operators who have been vetted/background checked, have demonstrated abilities/capabilities, willingness, AND commitment to use those traits for the betterment of the operation, AS DIRECTED.
My work ID is used for most of our access. My card was activated to give me access to our police department, 911 dispatch center and EOC, etc.
It wasn't an easy task. State DOJ training to even be in the same room as the law enforcement terminal systems. HIPAA training every two years. Semi-annual background checks. Various department training, etc.


I find it strange that these departments would hand these sort of id's/badges/cards, etc. out to individuals who's only qualifications are they hold and amateur license. And why the need access to these facilities is beyond me. No reason that these sorts of tasks cannot be done from a less secure area. Seems like an issue waiting to happen.
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Old 04-27-2017, 4:08 PM
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My work ID is used for most of our access. My card was activated to give me access to our police department, 911 dispatch center and EOC, etc.
It wasn't an easy task. State DOJ training to even be in the same room as the law enforcement terminal systems. HIPAA training every two years. Semi-annual background checks. Various department training, etc.


I find it strange that these departments would hand these sort of id's/badges/cards, etc. out to individuals who's only qualifications are they hold and amateur license. And why the need access to these facilities is beyond me. No reason that these sorts of tasks cannot be done from a less secure area. Seems like an issue waiting to happen.
Every level of agency is different. In Texas, RACES members are required to go through a background check (performed by the state). Ironically, the RACES background check digs more deeply than a "License To Carry" (it was know as a Concealed Handgun License when I got mine). I know a guy who ran into this issue…a few years ago.
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Old 04-27-2017, 7:39 PM
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Every level of agency is different. In Texas, RACES members are required to go through a background check (performed by the state). Ironically, the RACES background check digs more deeply than a "License To Carry" (it was know as a Concealed Handgun License when I got mine). I know a guy who ran into this issue…a few years ago.
I wouldn't be surprised if they did a CJIS background check https://www.dps.texas.gov/securityreview/index.htm, especially if there is an anticipation that any of them might be stationed in a PSAP where there is CJI information present.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:03 PM
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....
I find it strange that these departments would hand these sort of id's/badges/cards, etc. out to individuals who's only qualifications are they hold and amateur license. And why the need access to these facilities is beyond me. No reason that these sorts of tasks cannot be done from a less secure area. Seems like an issue waiting to happen.
It was strange. There was ( I say again, WAS ) a comm room inside the locked/secured area. It was basically a play room for a couple of ham and REACT people, including an employee and his family. ID cards were handed out like candy for years. Yup, an issue waiting to happen, and occasionally did.

Fortunately those days and ways have been brought to a halt. It's a pleasure to support a well defined mission with operational metrics and thinking.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KE4ZNR View Post
I help maintain a 4 site 24 channel P25 system. Once a month we (in coordination with our parent 911 center) place our system into failsoft for an hour so both our 911 center folks and the subscribers in the field are comfortable with what happens when failsoft occurs and the system reverts back to conventional mode.
We are also lucky enough to have 3 other neighboring P25 systems that we have reciprocal agreements with that give everyone access to other "backup" talkgroups if needed.
Even with all of the above we have given our 911 Center Supervisor OP positions receive only console access to the local Skywarn VHF repeater for monitoring during severe weather.
A few of us in the radio shop have our Ham license (along with a GROL) and we are always trying to be proactive and trying to give our radio system users more tools they can use to improve comms.

Marshall KE4ZNR
A lot to LIKE here for injecting possible reality situation into regular operations so all hands can be familiar with the procedure to communicate effectively. I commend your planning and training.
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