Unfortunately there are a veritable plethora of those that think obtaining an Amateur Radio License suddenly qualifies them as an emergency communicator. Unfortunately for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) that is not true. What we find in a real incident is that those who believe in that "instant gratification" syndrome can screw up any incident beyond belief because they have not taken the time, nor expended the effort, to learn basic communication. They then compound their errors by becoming self styled "leaders", while most of them are unable to find their butt with both hands unless they are sitting on it.
The following are a few thoughts on that subject. Most from Edward Ewell, K7DXV, but a few are mine. If you are offended by any of these thoughts then perhaps you should look to your own agenda in Emergency Communication. Are you there to be the best communicator you can or are you there to "make points" or like one person I can think of, simply there to get your name in front of other people? I think that's called a grandiose ego.
I will put my comments to Ed's words in italics so it is less confusing
Edward Ewell wrote:
A great article in the bulletin about the ARECC training. Yes I fully agree, some take the courses and receive the certificate, then they proclaim to be experts, and want to immediately get into the leadership positions. However the fact is that they are not qualified, they have no experience, and soon run on their own agenda. They are off and running on a power trip.
This, to me, is the single largest problem we have. Agendas are great, IF the agenda is to provide the served agency the best possible communication, nothing else. Unfortunately very few people with an agenda, have that agenda.
One area we see as a problem is that the amateur operators are not radio operators, they do not know how to communicate. They do not follow any standard procedure, or want to learn communications. Most want to change things to their own way, however if we do not use standard procedures no one is going to be able to communicate together.
I really believe that we now have the minimum procedures. The problem is that we as a group do not follow them.
Yes I was in the Navy, and I did not get a gun, or sail on a ship until I knew the basics including fire control, and being a fighting man. I went from Boot Camp to Radio School and learned more basics and did a lot of practice with communications procedures. When I reported to my ship, I was experienced in the fundamentals and sat down at my typewriter and radio teletype and handled traffic. I did a lot of practice and study.
Amateur radio does not have any radio school type of training, how do you use the fundamentals? Most operators have no common sense, they have to read it in a book or be told some thing, we are like a computer that does not think, it only processes what is given as input, every thing has to be given word by word.
The problems come when, even after being given the information word by word, the process is not enforced by "good ole boy" management. How many times have you heard someone that fumbled their way through an event only to be given profuse praise when in fact they should have been thrown out of the event? I'm not speaking of those that are just starting, rather those that have multiple years "experience". (Like the 100 hours experience that is acutally the first hour, repeated 100 times)
Since we are working with volunteers we have to accept what we get. We seldom have enough people to do the job and thus we end up using people we know are "procedurally challenged" (either too dumb or too self centered to follow directions). I contend we are far better off to run understaffed, but with good people, than at full staff with some of them dolts. The good people that hear praise given to the unworthy tend to "be somewhere else" next time.
If you listen to the various ARES activities going on around the states, you will be appalled by the untrained people trying to accomplish a simple job. Most of it is role playing, and soon all will be exposed as they have not had training, or practiced with their communications skills.
The real solution to most of the problems is in the leadership, qualified experienced people have to be appointed to their positions. The good old boy and politics will kill the whole process. We are at war and yet a DEC will be appointed who has never been an EC? A SEC will be appointed because he is a good old boy.
I think the word Certification in the ARECC program should be struck out, this is misleading as certification usually requires proficiency. It does certify that the people completed a mangled course that was not anywhere near ready when it was first released and still needs work.
I have completed Level II, and soon my mentor will sign off on my activities. I am prepared to take the Level III now. The courses are well done, some fine tuning can be done, however I believe most of the basics are there. However completing the course does not make some one qualified.
I agree. I also believe you will be very disillusioned by Level III. There are multiple chapters that are nothing but "fill" and several others that address 20% of the nation while ignoring the remaining 80%.
Amateur radio lacks training, we only want to be CB talkers, and have social events, no real operational drills, or radio operator training. As the license requirements are lowered we will get more hams, but not communicators.
Gee, you mean that lowering the standard and doubling the number of licenses in the last twenty five years didn't do what the proponents of "dumbing down" said it would? Careful there. Someone will think you are not a good liberal. ;-)
I have taught several classes on the formal radiogram procedures, and most in the class have never seen a telegram, or handled any traffic. The first thing they want is to make it complicated and the procedure is very simple, but they do not practice, or want to follow a procedure. They require a radiogram form or they can not copy traffic. I tell them if you know the procedure you will not need a radiogram form, the form is to give the message to the public, or served agency but it has no bearing on the sending or receiving messages. Thanks for the article, and we need to keep communications simple. Look for my article on what is a message in the next bulletin.
Ed 73 K7DXV AEC,OES,OO,VE and pure HAM.