South County ARES Communicator Qualifications
|PDF version of this page: OperatorQuals-rev30-11-0909.pdf|
There are three distinct areas of knowledge necessary for a volunteer to be useful in a major emergency situation. They are: understanding the operational environment, understanding communications methods and means, and understanding how to operate the specific equipment to be used. In order to understand how to best use our members, we will track where each of them stand on these areas of knowledge.
For understanding of the operational environment, external agencies have established standards. As a minimum, a fully qualified ARES member needs to have completed the FEMA IS-100 level on line course. They should also complete IS-700. A recommended additional course is IS-200. Completion of these courses will be entered into a local data base and included as coded mark on a qualifications badge.
For understanding communications methods and means, it is very useful for members to take the ARRL ARECC courses, especially Level One. We have developed, based on the ARECC courses, and on other relevant sources, an internal set of qualifications. These qualifications are grouped in a manner that is analogous to Naval enlisted ranks
The ranks fall into three basic groups. The largest (entry level) group are working communicators. It is assumed that they can function in an already established communications environment. They separate into two levels, Apprentice and 3rd Class. The fundamental difference is that 3rd Class communicators should be able to do most of their tasks with little or no supervision, whereas an Apprentice may need considerable initial help and guidance. Most members will only reach the level of 3rd Class Communicator. This level will allow them to fill most of the positions that we anticipate being created in a communications emergency.
The next group are supervising communicators. It is assumed that they can set up a routine emergency communications center and supervise those who man it. ECs and AECs fall into this group. The fundamental difference between 2nd and 1st Class is the area covered by the center. 2nd Class anticipates VHF/UHF communications and a line-of-sight environment. 1st Class adds HF and a wider area focus.
The final group are planning and managing communicators. They are expected to be able to meet with other agencies and help put together operating plans, band plans, and equipment plans that meet the anticipated disaster scenarios in an area. They are also expected to plan, execute, and evaluate drills conducted to test those plans. Finally, they are expected to make changes on the fly to take care of unexpected failures in the system during a drill or actual emergency. It is likely that only a handful of members of SCARES, at any given time, will be at the levels of “Chief Communicator” and “Master Communicator”.
The qualifications lists below will allow members an opportunity to do a self evaluation. They will also be used by a qualifications committee to evaluate the membership. A training curriculum has been developed which insures that members acquire the skills necessary to meet these requirements and for SCARES to meet its mission.
An Apprentice should be able to deploy for low level duties as a courier or as a shadow operator. An Apprentice may need help in getting set up for repeater use but should be able to function as a Tactical Communicator.
_____ A.1. FCC Technician Class License or Higher
3rd Class Communicator
A 3rd Class Operator should serve as a general purpose communicator for voice where HF is not required. They should understand the proper role of a communicator, have a basic understanding of UHF/VHF radio operations, be able to handle record traffic, and to operate successfully in a net structure.
_____ 3.1.a Describe the proper role and attitude of a Communicator in an Emergency Situation
2nd Class Communicator
A 2nd Class Operator should be able to help set up the hardware necessary for UHF/VHF systems and be able to take a leadership role in the Operation and Reconfiguration of small area Tactical and Traffic nets, including acting as a Net Control Station. This should be the minimum qualification for an EC or AEC.
_____ 2.1.a Explain why a fully qualified individual volunteering for service outside their own community might be rejected while a less qualified person from within the community is accepted for emergency service
_____ 2.2.a Describe the “ARES/RACES” “Served Agency” relationship
_____ 2.3.a Act as Net Control for a Directed Net
_____ 2.4.a Describe a “gain” antenna
_____ 2.5.a Explain why low power operation is important in EMCOMM
1st Class Communicator
A 1st Class Operator extends the 2nd Class capability into the HF, into wider area operation and for longer periods of primitive operation using emergency power.
_____ 1.1 FCC General Class License or Higher
A Chief Operator should be able to plan and configure communications for a wide range of operating conditions including making appropriate band and mode selections, assigning volunteers and equipment, and coordinating an overall operation.
_____ C.1.a Explain how you would set up an “intake function” to screen and assign EMCOMM volunteers in a major emergency
_____ C.2 Describe the roles of Complexity, Single vs. Multiple Recipient, Precision, Accuracy, Timeliness, Priority, and Authentication of Originator in message handling and in designing message handling systems
_____ C.3.a Describe the Advantages and Disadvantages of HF, VHF, UHF for EMCOMM
A Master Operator adds full multi-mode understanding and a high level planning capability. A Master should be able to make and review plans, test and evaluate plan response, select operating means, modes and frequencies, manage the life cycle of an emergency response, interact with other agencies, and provide high level supervision to all operational and planning functions for EMCOMM using Ham resources.
_____ M.1.a Create or review a plan for staffing EMCOMM positions in a time of Emergency
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