Enjoy yourself! Amateur Radio public
service is fun!
Get a crystal clear understanding of
the needs of the group you are serving.
Prepare the night before. Make
sure your batteries are charged and you take spares as needed. Have a clip
board with paper and pencils, gas in the car, miscellaneous spare parts
you might need, maps if available. Know where you are going and when you
must be there.
Arrive on time on the day of the event.
If you are not familiar with the occasion, allow extra time to get there.
Checking the map the night before to plan your route will not guarantee
that you turn correctly.
Inform the event communications coordinator
if you cannot make the event after agreeing to be there. The sooner this
is relayed to the person in charge of amateur communications at the event,
Introduce yourself to the person or
people you will be working with at your station. Let them know who you
are and why you are there. Stay at your post unless you are excused. Make
sure both the NCS and the officials you are with know when you leave.
Arrange for someone to be in charge
as Net Control. Even small events can have messy communication without
Have the NCS keep track of who is where
so he knows whom to call when asked to contact a person or checkpoint.
Leave the frequency unless the NCS knows.
If you must leave early, the more in advance this is known the better.
Maintain a courteous, professional image.
You may be working with several agencies including police, fire first aid
squads, National Guard, etc. Extend every possible courtesy to members
of these groups. Make sure they know who you are and what your communications
Arrange for someone knowledgeable of
the area to handle talk-ins, or at least someone with a good map if no
one else is available.
Tell your operators exactly what their
assignments are and remind them of the general guidelines for public service
events. Assignments and changes in them should be made known to the entire
group before the event begins or during its progress if the change occurs
Have Amateur Radio operators working
in teams of at least two persons, if possible. Make sure at least one
member of the team is monitoring the radio at all times.
Arrange for relief operators. Everyone
needs lunch or coffee breaks.
Use simplex if at all possible, with
a repeater as back-up and for talk-in. Clear the function with the repeater
group in writing and well in advance.
Obey instruction of the Net Control
Station (NCS). The NCS is there to respond to general queries from
the net or from other amateurs on the frequency. Even with only a few operators
involved, he is necessary to smooth functioning. Address requests to
him and obey his instructions just as in traffic nets.
Use tactical call signs. Checkpoint
or unit numbers, or other special identifiers are legal, provided the station
identification requirements are fulfilled. Use standard Amateur Radio operating
procedures in all communications.
OVER IDENTIFY! You need only
identify your station at ten minute intervals during a series of transmissions.
However, don't jump into the net every ten minutes just to identify. For
example, if you only engage in a short exchange of transmissions every
half hour or so, you will fulfill the identification requirement if you
ID at the END of each exchange!
Transmit as little as possible! Silence
is golden. Speak as little as possible. Avoid excessive use of calls (once
every ten minutes is all that is required). "Net, Checkpoint 1" conveys
much more information.
Memorize the main operations frequency
and alternate frequency.
Apply first aid unless you are trained
and certified to do so! Call for medical assistance and an ambulance
or medical personnel will be dispatched to your location.
Transport an ill or injured person
in a private vehicle! This is the job of the medics and the police.
An emergency vehicle is properly equipped and can get through traffic much
faster than a private car.
OFFER MORE THAN YOU CAN DELIVER. You
are NOT there to provide direct emergency assistance! You ARE
there to communicate the need for such assistance to proper authorities.
Resist the temptation to generate traffic
just to be busy. SILENCE IS GOLDEN when you cannot add to the real information
Arrange for your people well in advance,
but check on them the week before to insure they are still available. If
you can, have extra people or stand-bys available. Excuse people as soon
as you can as long as their jobs are finished and all other needed positions
Thank your operators and share any feedback
you get with them. Courtesy and thoughtfulness pay off.
Keep your EC or DEC informed of what
you are doing and who participates. He can help you with publicity. Public
relations releases before and after the event can help us all get our message
across that we are here with the ability to serve. He can also help get
Identify vehicles as Amateur Radio Communication
Vehicles. Operators should be identified too. A call letter badge, ARES
patch is sufficient. Use baseball caps with an ARES patch or group logo.
Use standard NTS message form when necessary
for official requests and messages.
Make sure the frequency is clear before
making a call. The channel can get very busy during "tactical operations".
When you complete an exchange with another station, use the prowords "clear"
or "out" so the other stations will know the frequency is now available
Keep transmissions as short as possible.
Resist the temptation to ragchew or ramble.
Handle routine business or commercial
communications. (This includes communications regarding dollar amounts
of walkathon pledges, etc.). The press and broadcast media may quote or
rebroadcast amateur signals, provided the signals rebroadcast do not make
reference to the media broadcast.