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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: Florida Ranger School Ranger Weekend (MLK weekend) and Comm Camp (Summer break)
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Author Topic: Florida Ranger School Ranger Weekend (MLK weekend) and Comm Camp (Summer break)  (Read 1324 times)
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 925

Tallahassee Composite Squadron
« on: December 11, 2006, 10:44:15 PM »

A paste of an email that I sent out earlier:

The Florida Ranger School of the Florida Wing, Civil Air Patrol has two upcoming activities that may be of interest to many, both in and out of Florida Wing and in and out of CAP. both have been approved by the Florida Wing Ranger Training Officer, Capt Randall Cason.
Ham operators note: Read past the first couple of paragraphs please. It gets better.
The first, which many of you are familiar with is the North Florida Ranger School Ranger Weekend,  12-15 Jan 06 (MLK Weekend). The ops order is online at http://www.rideforfatherhood.org/Ranger_Ops_Orders_1-13-07.pdf so there is no need to post all the information again. Please contact me if you have trouble accessing this link in any way. I do need all people that are interested in this Ranger School to email or call me so that we can start getting headcounts and making sure that all questions are answered. Please do not ignore your chain of command when contacting us; not only is that a breach of military discipline, but often your superiors may be able to help you reach your goals more easily than you imagined or may have something already planned. As a start, please first notify your commander that you are interested and follow his/her instructions. Those of you who are in a position to contact me directly know who you are, so feel free to do so. Please feel free to foward this email on to others that may be interested.
It seemed like there would be a lot of cross-interest in our next planned project we have coming up this Summer, so I thought I'd post it in a couple of different comm-related places, both for advice and potential volunteers. This is the first public mention of this event other than a few quiet discussions on the CAP communications list as we just received permission from Capt Cason to formally announce it as a "go".
The Florida Ranger School is planning a Communications Encampment the first week of Summer Break (May 25-Jun 3) at Ft McGee near Tallahassee to work with both cadets and adult officers on their advanced communications skills. We plan to have 1 day of CAP comm training, 2 1/2 days of Amateur Radio Technician training, 2 1/2 days of Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) level 1 training, a day of FEMA ICS training, and a day of exercising and evaluating using HF, VHF, and ISR radios. Free time will be filled in playing with antennas and radios, including satellite communications gear.
We will be making heavy use of volunteer civillians (mainly ham radio operators) as instructors for the technical and Emergency Communications portions as well as perhaps some of the ICS training. All training materials and teaching may be subject to review/change to avoid any conflict with accepted (and often regulated) CAP comm practices, and where conflict is impossible to avoid, the differences will be highlighted and discussed. Ideally, classes will each be team-taught by 1 ham instructor and 1 CAP communicator and certain critical classes (such as operating practices) will be taught by ham-licensed CAP instructors to avoid confusion. It should be noted that other than a couple of minor details, CAP operating practices are mostly acceptable on ham radio and in many ways are almost identical to what is taught in EMCOMM, so there is no need to learn two vastly different styles of using the radio. Just learn how we do it in CAP, ID every 10 minutes on ham, and you'll do fine.
The purpose of the encampment is to provide CAP with a pool of trained communicators who actually know one end of the antenna from the other and know more about radios than how to simply "mash da button". At the same time, we will be providing amateur radio with some bright new faces and teaching a new generation how much fun and educational fooling around with radios is.
Considering that the school is being sponsored by the Florida Ranger School, tactical operations will be emphasized and the operational tempo will be best described as "highly-motivated", although I promise that it won't be as hard-core as a traditional Ranger School; In the interest of keeping our volunteer instructors comfortable (and their expensive equipment dry) we have arranged for use of an air-conditioned portable base camp with a nearby elementary school as Plan B for the classrooms, plus you can also bring your RV to this campout. As with all Ranger Schools, in the interest of simplifying logistics and teaching self-reliance like is needed in a disaster zone, all personnel will be asked to be self-sufficient in regards to food and sleeping accomodations; there will be plenty of camping space and firewood for cooking on if you choose to join us under the stars and motels are a short distance away.
In addition to all the standard communications basics such as repeaters, propagation etc, emergency power sources and field expedient antennas will be hot topics as will net operations, tactical/emergency-style traffic-handling, long-range simplex VHFand NVIS HF operations. Graduates will be well on their way to being able to set up and operate communications in a high-pressure bare-bones search and rescue or disaster relief scenario while those who came to us with some training already behind them will be able to hone those skills and advance in their ratings.
Assuming sufficient motivation and abilities, All students should be able to leave with the following: BCUT, ACUT, Mission Radio Operator (including practice missions), All sign-offs except mission participation for Communications Unit Leader (previously-qualified MROs may receive CUL mission credit and will train as such), Most requirements for CAP Communicator Badge/Technician Level,  FEMA IS-100, ICS-200, NIMS IS-700, FCC-issued Amateur Radio Technician License, ARRL Emergency Communications Level 1. Morse Code will not be taught except for a very basic orientation as it is irrelevant to CAP comm, however the students will be given code practice materials/software and urged to explore this fascinating facet of the hobby.
Not only would students be given the chance to learn technical skills by studying the amateur radio licensing materials (there will be testing sessions for both the ham license and a Field Trest for EMCOMM), but once they return home they would be able to practice their technical and radio skills in a much less restrictive environment (ie the local 2m ham repeater) than CAP comm. On the other hand, being limited to only practicing with CAP communications would give them relatively little mic time as it is limited in the types of allowable equipment and purposes that it may be used for. It is also hoped that we can get donations of new and used ham gear to be given out as rewards for outstanding students to give them something to practice on once they return home. The ARRL Foundation is potentially giving us a grant to help pay for books as well so that we can keep the costs down for individual students.
PR value should be high for all involved groups as the press will probably be very interested in what we are doing, and National CAP/ARRL most definitely will. There will be a designated PIO for the event and all other job assignments will also be in accordance with ICS. Instructors will be needed in 4-hr blocks, although a shift may be split if needed. The Florida Wing Ranger School will provide much of the CAP instructorship and adult leaders (TAC officers if you will, although this will be nowhere near the size of a "real encampment" with a limit of approximately 60 students) but additional adult staff will always be appreciated.
Note: Florida State Employees should be eligible for up to 4 hrs of paid "mentoring leave" per month for the purpose of working with youth; we can provide documentation to that effect for your personnel section. Don't forget that a new month starts on Jun 1st, right in the middle of the encampment, theoretically making it possible to claim up to 8 hours of paid mentoring leave in order to help teach these young people. Other companies/agencies may have similar policies in effect.
Anyone who is interested in coordinating attendance or volunteering to assist/instruct and lives relatively nearby (SE US is a good start but Mississippi and Louisiana are not that far of a drive away either as many of us found out in September, 2005), please contact me via email or by calling (850)284-3677. There may be some selection criteria involved for potential instructors, and all contact between cadets and civillian instructors will be in strict compliance with Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Protection regulations which basically prohibit unsupervised contact without an FBI background check. FOUO regulations/guidelines will also be followed regarding release of CAP/USAF/Other Gov't Agency frequencies. At this point, we are not asking for any commitments on anyone's time, as we are merely seeing who may be interested in this encampment as either instructors or students and any contact info we receive is non-binding; please feel free to contact me if you have any interest whatsoever, even if it is for the purpose of holding a similar event and learning from our mistakes. You can also check out and join our yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/capcommcamp. Most updates and much of the coordination and planning will primarily take place on there rather than clogging the other lists, so if this interests you, please join the list.
More planning and information dissemination will take place once I return from EMI next week and we (hopefully) make it through the holidays and the North Florida Ranger School. In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas (or any other holiday that you may or may not choose to celebrate) and we look forward to seeing you waist-deep in the swamp on Martin Luther King Jr Weekend.
Gene Floyd, Capt CAP
FL CAP 1019 / ham callsign AI4KK
Project Officer, North FL Ranger School, FL Wing, Civil Air Patrol
Training Officer, Capital District ARES
Gene Floyd, Capt CAP
Wearer of many hats, master of none (but senior-rated in two)
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: Florida Ranger School Ranger Weekend (MLK weekend) and Comm Camp (Summer break)

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