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Author Topic: When was your last activation  (Read 13728 times)
KB8VUL
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Posts: 136




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« on: April 19, 2013, 05:04:57 PM »

When was your last activation and what did you take away from it?  What experiences would you feel were worth sharing good and bad and how would you have handled it differently looking back?

I am looking for actual activations here and not training exercises.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 11:47:26 AM »

I don't think you're going to get many answers, since the ones who want to speak out and stress what they do won't be accepted by many official agencies, and the ones who are accepted as credible volunteers usually don't want to speak out about what they do.  73.
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 07:10:46 PM »

Yeah, I know, and it's sad that is the situation. But by the same token it reenforces the whole "why the push" thing in the other post. 

I have asked numerous groups in numerous ways what it is they do to contribute.  How they are deployed and what purpose did they serve / how did they contribute in a positive way to the situation.  Mostly I get a blank stare.  I occasionally get some story of something that happened 30 ish years ago about this or that public safety person asking if they could make a call because the phone lines were down.  They radioed out to someone who made one phone call to inform the county that such and such departments radios had failed, and the phone lines were down so there was no way to communicate them.

There are three things I would like to see ARES do, that would make them viable again.

1  throw out ANYONE that wants to do tactical call signs, run lights, or any of that shit.  Move away from that sort of stuff completely.  There will be situations that warrant actual EMCOMM.  If you as a group are perceived as a bunch of holster sniffing wackers, it will be a cold day in hell before you get a callout.  Start training for more than just disasters.  Work on passing traffic for large complex public events.  Talk to event organizers and see what needs they have and figure out how you can help.  Don't assume that just because you can operate a radio that you are some sort of hero that women will bow in the streets to and get all wet pantyed over as you walk by.

2  work harder to create positive public appearance by working in as many non-disaster public relatins type events as they can.  Seating people at football games, finding their seats, communicating problems like a neighborhood watch group for health related issues in groups.  There are any number of events that volunteers would be a great help to the event.  The Boy Scouts do alot of this.  Is it radio related, nope.  Is it in front of people, yep.  Is it possibly working with law enforcement, yep.  That sort of stuff is how you build relationships for later. 

3  quit supporting the movement of non-radio hobbyists to join ham radio for the purpose of using it for non-radio hobby stuff.  Other than Sky Warn, there are no CERT / SAR /whatever groups that need to be hammies.  If they want to be hams to be hams fine.  I welcome them... If they want to get a license to use ham radio to replace their CB based comms or it's too expensive to buy commercial gear, let them apply for a grant, or figure it out other ways. 

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K1CJS
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 04:21:34 AM »

Keith, you've got the wrong ideas.  It seems like you're one of the hams that think "if it isn't emcomm, it isn't ham radio."  That's the wrong attitude to have.  Another thing--when I headed a local EMA comm section, anyone who wanted to do things just to be recognized for their contribution found out that that isn't the way these EMA agencies work.  That's why I stated what I did in my first reply.  If there is one thing not needed, it's someone talking out of turn to reporters and accidently spreading misinformation.  Why do you think these agencies have people especially designated to speak to the public/reporters?

To your three things, tactical call signs can simplify matters considerably.  There is nothing wrong with their use.  Tactical call signs can be and are very useful to simplify matters.  For example, any specific place that has to be watched or a shelter or other point can be identified by its name--no matter who the person is watching it.  If reporting on a ham frequency, all that has to be done is to append the ham's callsign at the end of the report to make things legal.  It's a lot easier to take and note a report from "The Front St. Dam" than it is to take a report from someone using a callsign--then having to search your roster to see where that ham has been stationed.  The rest of your point one, however, is correct.

Your second point is a sore spot.  Too many ham groups show up at places and try to inject themselves into the works.  The best way to do so is to make sure the organizers know you're available before the fact, and then if you're called to help, show up and do as you're asked to do.  If you're not asked to be there--don't show up at all!

Your third point has some merit, but it's also counterproductive.  The stress on interoperability for emcomm groups almost demands that some of these types have a ham license.  SAR teams simply do not need an untrained ham tagging along with their group.  No service that is required to send its members into harm's way does.  There has to be some co-operation, and that means some of these people have to get licensed.  True, there shouldn't be any sort of use of ham radio for their every communication, but in case it's needed, ham radio should be there ready to assist.

73.
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AI8P
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 09:51:38 AM »

Do the 100+ Hams working the Boston Marathon count as "activated" after the bombs went off.

I agree with the previous poster - nothing wrong with Tactical Calls - they facilitate Situational Awareness by being an aspect of the "plain speech" which is a primary tenet of ICS.
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 02:53:47 PM »

CJS I think you missed the point.  First and quickest... tac calls... they just use their call sign suffix and not a real tac call.
I agree that tac calls are better and quicker, if they are used correctly.  If not they sound foolish.

Far as the thoughts of if it ain't emcomm it's not ham.... that's not what I am getting at.  And part of this is based on hearing the ARES group nets and seeing their plans... emcomm is just that.  Public safety, FEMA, Homeland all do emcomm too.  When a ham turns off his ham radio and starts using commercial and public safety radio to do emcomm it's still emcomm it s not however ham radio.  The rules and requirements change. 
No different than a public safety dispatcher that is a ham... they are not a ham when at work.  They are talking on the radio.  They are doing the emcomm thing when the situations is would classify their communications as such, but it's not ARES and it's not ham radio.

Now, second point  assistance in non-emergency venues.  You're right, don't just show the hell up.  Decide as a group what events you want to try to support.  Then prior to those events approach the people hosting the event and see if they can use your assistance.  Know ahead of time what sort of contributions you can and are willing to make.  Rest assured that they are always looking to empty trash cans and run toilet paper out to the bathrooms, so you want to limit what you want to do and if your group has noting to offer, then don't.

As far as my third point, with the CERT / SAR groups.  First off... CERT and SAR are NOT EMCOMM.  They are first responders and therefore are public safety.  Hams are radio operators, nothing more.  The sooner that ARES figures this out, the better. 
You are trying to interject ham radio into CERT and SAR.  The comment about a SAR members dragging a ham along for comms is proof of it.  Hand the SAR guys a commercial radio, with a public safety channel assigned to SAR operations and leave the ham behind.  Cuz your right, he dont need to be there.  Ham radio don't need to be there at all.  It's not a communications disaster if someone didn't plan for comm needs for SAR and CERT.  It's a simple fix.  The freqs are al ready there to be used with licenses held at the federal level for all public safety use as the need arises. 
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K1CJS
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 04:02:18 AM »

...There are three things I would like to see ARES do, that would make them viable again.

1  throw out ANYONE that wants to do tactical call signs, run lights, or any of that shit.  Move away from that sort of stuff completely....

Tell me again that I missed the point--you seemed rather certain and all inclusive in your statement.

Your third point misses one thing--and your saying that these are not emcomm is way off.  These groups may need to use emcomm, so someone amy need a ham license.  It's about interoperability, not about not being....

I didn't want to come out and say this before, but you're going first in one direction and then turning abruptly and heading back the way you came in your statements.  And don't think that most of these same points haven't been asked and said before--they have.

I suggest that you straighten out your thoughts and beliefs about emcomm participation and get yourself on one track before you come back and twist and backpedal to try to get what you want to say put across.  In just this one thread you've contradicted yourself so much that nobody can keep up with your train of thought.  I wish you well, but I won't be answering anymore until you can manage that.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 04:13:03 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KS4VT
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Posts: 142




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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 11:39:23 AM »

3  quit supporting the movement of non-radio hobbyists to join ham radio for the purpose of using it for non-radio hobby stuff.  Other than Sky Warn, there are no CERT / SAR /whatever groups that need to be hammies.  If they want to be hams to be hams fine.  I welcome them... If they want to get a license to use ham radio to replace their CB based comms or it's too expensive to buy commercial gear, let them apply for a grant, or figure it out other ways. 

That is one of our issues around here.  Individuals have been instructed to get their license as part of a group.  I read a article a number of years back that called it "licensing by assignment" and it hit the nail on the head.
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KD8GTP
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 05:20:19 PM »

" bunch of holster sniffing wackers "
couldn't have said it better myself  Grin

I get a kick out of you wackers (hi hi)
keep this thread going ladies, I luv it
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ONAIR
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 12:24:37 AM »

What's a "holster sniffing wacker"?  A new kind of holster mounted whip antenna?
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W1JKA
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2013, 05:40:47 AM »

Holster sniffing whacker=Anti NRA left wing liberal.
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N9AOP
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Posts: 151




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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2013, 03:43:39 PM »

You asked  a direct question and I have a direct reply.  The Will county Illinois ARES was activated on 4-18-13 to staff shelters opened to house people displaced by river flooding.  There were no issues during this deployment.  Comms in the affected areas were handled by Police, Fire and Emergency Management personnel.
Art
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VE6FGN
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 02:01:35 PM »

I'm a little afraid to answer this thread- seems the battle lines are drawn, and I'm not sure I understand the ROE....

We're a small club, in a small town, in the middle of nowhere. We're mostly old, mostly ex-Military, and as in the words of one of our members "we're a group of friends with a radio problem".

Our club gets together weekly for breakfast. We don't do much else during the winter- not a lot going on. Summer we support pretty much whoever asks. On the calendar so far is support to a quad rally, support to a marathon, and support to a kids run. If this summer follows the last one, we should have a couple of more runs, a bike event, and a horse event. We don't do much- we show up early, send people out to certain spots on the route, and watch the participants go by. If the same number cross the finish line as the start line, we go home. If not, we start looking. If something scary happens, we call someone to do something. If the event has lots of support, we're usually teamed with the first aid folks, check points, or water stations to provide comms. If the event is short people, then we provide comms, as well as pass out water or man the check point.

Usually every second year we help out with a major event (air show, car show). We go as directed to various highways and watch for backed up traffic. Once the traffic is done, we return and walk through the crowd looking for lost kids, sick people, etc, and call back for help from the first responders.

We don't consider this ARES work. We consider this helping out neighbours.

We participate in emergency response plan exercises every 2 or 3 years as part of the MD or city response. I think they like having us- they keep inviting us back, and have installed a corner for us next to the command post.

We have responded to several incidents- several times the phones went out, couple of times the power went out. Each time the police showed up at one of our members doors and asked us to respond. We did.

We don't have capes, flashing lights, or attitudes. We show up when called, do what we're asked, then go home. We do wear vests- because we're asked to.

We don't do politics, and have never heard or seen the nasty crap y'all are spouting at each other before. Think maybe I'm glad we live in Podunk.

Anyway, you asked, so there you go.

Cheers- Garry
VE6FGN
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KD0NGX
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 05:56:35 AM »

Garry- good response. I agree completely. All of what I've done has been supporting community events as you described. It's been fun because they are good causes and you can interact with the public. It puts a good face on ham radio when people who don't even know what ham radio is, see you there for 6 hours or longer, volunteering and providing your own equipment. After talking to me, one guy said he would look into getting licensed. I know that I am never going to single handedly save the world. I know that I may never be "activated," and if I were it might be a situation wherei don't want to leave my wife and kids at home alone. But it is nice knowing I'm prepared and practiced a little from these events. A couple years ago the group was almost activated during a blizzard to communicate to truckers via CB that the interstate was being shut down and what locations they should go to (truck stops were nearly at capacity), and coordinate this effort with EMA via hamradio. Is it saving the world? No, but it would have allowed police/first responders to do what they do best, focusing on the emergencies and our work could free them up for that. I agree, the people whose cars are covered in yellow light bars and have 4 radios on their hips make us look goofy. In our group we are told to NOT have yellow flashing lights... If the 4-way flashers of you car aren't enough, you should move your car to a safer place. We do use the vest as a uniform so people can find us. But as Garry said, week what we do as asked and then go home. And we have the same events year after year so it must be going ok.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2013, 07:28:53 AM »

I agree completely with the last two responders.  Good job, guys!  It's nice to see that there are still some hams out there with a head on their shoulders and no thoughts of how they can get themselves noticed and applauded.  73!
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