April 2020

April 2020


The number of participating Amateur Radio operators during exercises or Public Service Events will have a large impact on the future of Amateur Radio providing any kind of communications in El Paso County, emergency or otherwise. We are perceived as volunteers in the eyes of the Agencies and Emergency Management. From their standpoint volunteers are unreliable and planning unknowns.

Coordinating exercises and Public Service Events doesn’t happen over night. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into planning these events. Time off from work must be coordinated to attend planning meetings for some people. When events are planed and advertised, and only a couple of people show up the agencies take notice. This gives an impression of how reliable we, as volunteers will be in an actual emergency. We also need to be careful of how we talk when we are around agency officials. They are only interested in--can we deliver their messages accurately and in a timely and efficient manor. They could care less how we do it, or what we use to do it with. Participation in EMCOMM and participation in the Public Service Events is the Service aspect of Amateur Radio. It’s not the hobby. Agency personnel are professionals in their fields and expect a professional service.

The purpose of an exercise is to test The Plan (the Standard Operating Procedure), and to get the members accustomed to working as a Team. For the members to function as a Team the members must attend training sessions together. The Plan is developed to act as a guide for those people responding to a situation. It doesn’t solve all problems but points the individual in the right direction to find a solution to the problem. It takes People to make The Plan work.

During the SET (Simulated Emergency Test) when volunteer communicators are requested on a Resource Net on the 146.70 repeater, or at the club meetings, or on the nets don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s not a crime to step up to the plate and raise your hand and say, “I’d like to volunteer.” Amateur Radio Operators in other parts of the United States are known for their willingness to volunteer as EMCOMM operators, and for Public Service Events. To become part of the team, contact any ARES® member or me as shown below. It’s the people that are going to make a favorable impression. Our success or failure is in the numbers.

The terms ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® is both registered trademarks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and are used by permission.

Question and comments regarding this article are encouraged. Send an email to the address shown below.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
DEC, District 6, WTX Section
email: kb5hpt@arrl.net