Thoughts on Training ECom Operators


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.

Ed's comments

Edward Ewell wrote:

Hi Pat:

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.