NA4IT OPINIONS AND BELIEFS ON EMCOMM
The document you are about to read explains my personal beliefs and
opinions of EMCOMM as it relates to amateur radio. I believe in EMCOMM
work, however my participation is now limited due to my disability. I
am a member of several EMCOMM type organizations, and have been a
leader in some of them. The time I have spent in EMCOMM has been
rewarding, and has allowed me to learn more about how to enjoy amateur
radio. These comments are based on experience and observation.
(1) The FCC labels amateur radio as a service, and expects some portion
of amateur radio to be a service to the public through EMCOMM, or
Emergency Communications". This may be a full blown response to a
government agency during a wide area emergency. It could also be a
personal home amateur station relaying traffic into and out of an
(2) Amateur radio operators are supposed to be technically inclined. To
gain this knowledge requires training, operating, and experimentation.
This should include training of operating practices, as well as at
least basic electronic principles. Amateurs should strive to be the
best at what they do, regardless of mode or means or principle, and be
the best at their individual specialty.
(3) Some types of EMCOMM work can be highly specialized, requiring
additional training. In these instances, the served agency needs to be
the one(s) to develop and offer this training.
(4) Amateur operators provide something over 90% of all amateur radio
equipment during EMCOMM. They provide 100% of the labor involved in
amateur radio EMCOMM. And with the exception for some reimbursement of
travel or fuel expenses, amateurs finance most of what they do.
(5) All training that is required of an amateur operator for EMCOMM
should be provided free of charge to him or her, with the exception of
travel to and from the training, and of course his or her time. If an
amateur wishes to participate with an agency that has free training
requirements, he or she should be willing to invest the time to be
trained, and to keep that training up to the current level required.
(6) Not all amateurs need to be in EMCOMM. Many amateurs participate in
amateur radio only as a hobby. They should respect those who do get
involved in EMCOMM by offering clear frequencies, and amateurs involved
in EMCOMM in non-emergency situations should respect those amateurs
wishing to enjoy their hobby.
(7) Any agency or group that has a training requirement that requires
out of pocket expense from the amateur for said training is making
money at disaster's expense.
(8) Background checks are becoming a fact of life in the world we live
in today. Amateurs should be willing to submit to CRIMINAL background
checks paid for by the served agency. However, NEVER should an amateur
submit to a background check that gets detailed personal financial
information. NEVER should a served agency ask for such information, or
allow that information to be asked by background check contractors.
(9) Should you ever "self-deploy" to a disaster...NO NO NO!
(10) Every amateur radio operator should consistently practice being a
net control station, and sending and receiving traffic.
Below are some good links to FREE online training...all it takes is
some of your time.
The Traffic Handler's Quiz http://www.emcomm.org/thc/
KY ARES Online Testing http://www.kyham.net/emcomm/training/kytest.html
(NOTE: PDF certificate available after completion)
Colorado ARES http://www.coloradoares.org/training.htm
And other good info about EMCOMM:
World Radio Relay League http://www.wrrl.org/