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♠SARKID♠
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« on: October 29, 2014, 01:00:53 AM »

So, I have taken on the burden of overhauling our wing's communications academy. Things were shaky enough as it was with BCUT/ACUT and when ICUT came along it completely negated the purpose of holding the kindergarden-comm course we had been. What I'm putting together is going to be far more technical and geeky (ACUT and then some). Ideally, I'd like the students to be as technically competent as an amateur tech with a splash of general class for taste.

What I am asking for are the things you've always wondered or wanted to know about communications, radio, antennae, etc. that aren't covered by CAP's training program. I want to know what you don't' know, and what you think the ideal comm training would cover. I'll also take ideas for hands on activities and demos.
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           Capt. Dan Turkal
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Fubar
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 04:01:19 AM »

Would we serve our communications program better if we manage to crank out proficient radio operators before we worry about the techie types?

We can't seem to train folks on how to use the release-to-listen button as it is.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 04:11:45 AM »

+1 Sorry man, push-pause-speak-release-listen-repeat is all the average member needs.

The techie stuff just gets in the way for most people.
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LSThiker
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 04:16:31 AM »

Perhaps a bit of an understanding of who exactly is your audience.  Are you targeting this information to people that want to become CULs and master rated in Communications?  Or are you targeting this to simply people looking to be a "radio operator"?
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THRAWN
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 11:42:38 AM »

Radio? What sort of witchcraft is this?

I do agree with the previous posters. Make operators, and then from there make tech types. The problem is that if you make it too "nerdy", you're going to lose your audience, and by default, the troops that you're training.

Amateur techs are really just mike to mouth types. Very little technical knowledge or requirement. General gets more into the tech stuff.

I see where you're going and it's a good concept, but keep in mind that not everyone wants to be/should be required to be skilled at the general/extra levels.
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Strup
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♠SARKID♠
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 12:50:59 PM »

This is designed for those that want to go beyond push to talk. I've heard a call for it from the other members in my wing. There is a desire for people that have the know how to setup a comm room, install antennae, ground equipment, etc. Personally? I'm sick and tired of the wing Communicator of the Year award going to whoever taught the most BCUT classes.

The tech stuff is what gets people interested. Why should anyone give a flip about comm if everything is PTT practice? "Okay everybody, lets pull out the ISRs and whisper made up sweet nothings to eachother over the airwaves!" *BARF*
When I taught BCUT at the squadron, I had to lay the comedy and schtick on pretty thick just to keep them awake. But pull out the MFJ, a hacksaw, and a copper J-pole and they're sneaking out of drill practice to hear an impromptu lesson on SWR and antenna tuning.

Theres already a course for people that want to be just operators. It's an excercise in mediocraty called ICUT.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 12:56:51 PM by ♠SARKID♠ » Logged

           Capt. Dan Turkal
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johnnyb47
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 01:27:30 PM »

There's already a course for people who want more techie radio information.
It's called the Amateur Radio Technician class.

I'm serious.

You get a lot more practice operating and building confidence behind the MIC on the amateur airwaves too.
Get licensed, run a weekend class for the tech rating, invite all of your friends and CAP-mates who are interested in radio operations/techie stuff, find some local VE's (Volunteer Examiners), have them all test, buy Baofeng handheld radios off ebay for $35 each and have fun talking to each other on local repeaters or, under the right circumstances simplex, to your hearts content!

73
kc8zzp
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Capt
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Eclipse
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 01:48:23 PM »

Theres already a course for people that want to be just operators. It's an exercise in mediocrity called ICUT.

CAP is not a HAM club.  ICUT came about because it's what is needed - once you have that, all that is necessary is proficiency.

For those so inclined, CUL would be the next step, which doesn't have to be all that technical, either.

CAP's comm deficiencies are in the lack of skilled operators, something which comes up during nearly every
mission - receiving a message without a filter, the ability to record and pass it properly, etc., etc. 

The "boring stuff" that many people seemingly can't do.
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arajca
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 01:52:37 PM »

If you want to get into the techie stuff, look up COM-T (ICS Communications Technician) information. They're the folks who get called into incidents to develop and build the communications systems. That'd be useful not just for CAP.
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sardak
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 02:09:00 PM »

On the NHQ website this morning:
NHQ National Staff Vacancies
MANAGER, COMMUNICATIONS EDUCATION AND TRAINING
http://www.capmembers.com/media/cms/Comm_Education_and_Training_Divisio_328FE6644226F.pdf

Knowledge of radios and communications not listed under "Desired Requirements for the Position," although "Prior service as Wing DC and Region DCS-Comm is beneficial"

Mike
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Eclipse
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2014, 02:25:53 PM »

That's because it's a management job, primarily concerned with program coordination and assets,
not a technical one.  The technical should be well below the director level.

This is a move in the right direction - for years the Comm program has been staffed mostly by HAM people
who view comms as a mission instead of a tool, and many of those people became impediments as they
added untold hoops to simple situations like radio programming and operator certification and training.

Yes, like every other corner we absolutely need people who can turn wrenches and solder loose connections,
but the average GTM or Aircrew member doesn't need to know or understand anything about SWR or channel plans,
they need big-button devices that work when you turn them on.





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Storm Chaser
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 03:25:08 PM »

Couldn't agree with you more.
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arajca
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 05:36:00 PM »

Yes, like every other corner we absolutely need people who can turn wrenches and solder loose connections,
but the average GTM or Aircrew member doesn't need to know or understand anything about SWR or channel plans,
they need big-button devices that work when you turn them on.
I'll disagree about the channel plans. They do need to know how to read one and how to change the channel on their radio. They also need to know BASIC radio troubleshooting - Power on, volume up, correct channel. Those cover 90% of the radio issues I've seen.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 05:43:49 PM »

Fair enough.
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♠SARKID♠
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 06:14:27 PM »

Yes, like every other corner we absolutely need people who can turn wrenches and solder loose connections
And we don't have enough of them. The number of people in the wing who have that know how are few, and some of them are busy with other projects or are  hitting the age where we might start to lose them. We need to raise the next generation.

Quote
but the average GTM or Aircrew member doesn't need to know or understand anything about SWR or channel plans, they need big-button devices that work when you turn them on.
Strawman; this isn't for them. I'm not forcing this onto every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a CAPID. If I was suggesting this as a course for everyone this thread would have been called "I want to make changes to ICUT".

If you want to get into the techie stuff, look up COM-T (ICS Communications Technician) information. They're the folks who get called into incidents to develop and build the communications systems. That'd be useful not just for CAP.
I have. Some of the guys in my squadron are/were working on that and other ratings. I was invited to go to the training as well but, unlike CAP, the gov't has no problems scheduling training during the workweek so it didn't happen.
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           Capt. Dan Turkal
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Eclipse
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2014, 06:32:18 PM »

Yes, like every other corner we absolutely need people who can turn wrenches and solder loose connections
And we don't have enough of them. The number of people in the wing who have that know how are few, and some of them are busy with other projects or are  hitting the age where we might start to lose them. We need to raise the next generation.

CAP doesn't need to raise the next generation, just recruit it.

The time spent trying to build Comm techs internally would be better spent training operators and recruiting techs.
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♠SARKID♠
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2014, 02:57:24 AM »

Recruit it? We've come to odds on some ideas before, but seriously?

Find someone out in the world and convince them to give up hundreds of dollars a year, commit their lives to hundreds of volunteer manhours, come to meetings every week, and deal with everything else on the never ending list of CAP pains in the butt for the express purpose of having them be a comm geek? Or just take someone who's already in CAP, wants to do the job, and teach it to them over the course of a weekend?

I don't know about you, but when I'm thirsty for a cola I go to the convenience store. I don't walk past the convenience store and start construction on a Coca-Cola bottling plant.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 05:16:55 AM by ♠SARKID♠ » Logged

           Capt. Dan Turkal
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2014, 02:42:17 PM »

A weekend won't make anyone useful in a "com geek" role.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2014, 02:52:38 PM »

You can't swing a dead cat (though if you dig far enough in some of those containers you'll probably find one) at a hamfest without hitting
19 guys who would love to become Comm go-to guys.

The problem is they are focused on radios as the mission instead of the tools.  If you can work with them in that role,
it's a lot easier then trying to teach that stuff to members with divided attention.
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jeders
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2014, 03:18:14 PM »

You can't swing a dead cat (though if you dig far enough in some of those containers you'll probably find one) at a hamfest without hitting
19 guys who would love to become Comm go-to guys.

The problem is they are focused on radios as the mission instead of the tools.  If you can work with them in that role,
it's a lot easier then trying to teach that stuff to members with divided attention.

Well I think that's kind of the point. You take someone who has an interest in radios on a technical level and is already involved in the total spectrum of CAP rather than just comm, and then you train them up to be of real value to CAP. In fact, haven't you yourself said, regarding PD and outside education, if CAP wants you to have it, then they need to provide it? I see this as implementing exactly that philosophy (see, people do listen to you, kinda).

I think that this is a good idea and would gladly offer ideas for what it should contain, except I don't know enough about radios to know what I don't know. However, I do agree that one weekend probably isn't anywhere near enough time to turn someone from novice geek to techie geek.
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arajca
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2014, 03:21:41 PM »

A weekend won't make anyone useful in a "com geek" role.
True, but you can get them interested in the role and teach them usable skills such as setting up a station at their unit or at an incident base. Right now, most wings rely on the same handful of members to do this for every exercise and mission.

You can't swing a dead cat (though if you dig far enough in some of those containers you'll probably find one) at a hamfest without hitting
19 guys who would love to become Comm go-to guys.

The problem is they are focused on radios as the mission instead of the tools.  If you can work with them in that role,
it's a lot easier then trying to teach that stuff to members with divided attention.
And therein lies the problem with most hams - to them it's all about the equipment, not the overall picture. And I'm not talking about uniforms or grade or bling.
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Trung Si Ma
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2014, 03:11:31 PM »

Dan,

You are not going to get some of the people to realize that there is more to this commo thing than pushing the PTT, they’re too busy swinging dead cats.

Realizing that most people have never bothered to read CAPR 100-1, Communications (dated 26 Dec 12), you might begin your course with explaining the true mission and purpose – according to our regulations – of the CAP communications system:

“1-1. Mission. The mission of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Radio Communications Program is to meet the validated communications requirements of internal and external customers. This is accomplished by strong planning to organize and maintain a reliable, integrated, point-to-point, air-to-ground, and ground mobile radio capability in support of the missions of CAP.”

“1-2. Purpose. The primary purpose of CAP communications is to provide internal communications capabilities; to provide commanders with the means to conduct the missions of CAP both during normal conditions and when commercial infrastructure is unavailable or unsuitable, including commanders in the organizational chain of command, operational mission chains of command and special activities chains of command. The CAP communications system provides a continuity of operations capability when commercial infrastructure fails, such as allowing commanders, at each echelon, the ability to communicate with superior and subordinate commanders.”

Note that there is no mention of push the button and talk.  There is however, “…planning to organize and maintain a reliable, integrated, point-to-point, air-to-ground, and ground mobile radio capability…” and “…during normal conditions and when commercial infrastructure is unavailable or unsuitable…”, both of which serve as very good “attention getting statements” so beloved in military platform instructional courses.

The simple answer to your question is that we are also working on developing a course to train competent communication people with the right mixture of operational and technical understanding to enhance rather than detract from our mission capabilities.  Our basic believe going into the process was that CAP’s courses trained fairly good radio operators who didn’t understand that little bit extra that was needed to make them really useful and the ham radio courses taught the extra technical stuff, but didn’t teach anyone to operate competently. 

So like so many other projects in CAP, we formed a committee.

Our committee membership turned out to be a pretty good mix.  Two are IC2’s, one with multiple major national level operational event experience; three are aircrew members (one MP, two Master Observers); three CULs; one AOBD; one GBD; all are active GTL’s and all have recent large scale disaster relief experience.  And three of the members have extensive military operations center experience.  Five of the members are hams: fours Extras (two are even /20's) and one advanced)

We realized that this needed to be attacked from two axis – operations and training.

Operationally, we have physically moved the communications section into the operations area right next to Air Ops and Ground Ops and set up the operations section like a Land Component Tactical Operations Center. Seems rather simple, but you should have heard the howling from the “old guard” about how much noise there was going to be and how much those radio people were going to be in the way.  But we did it at the last SAREX and low and behold, the number one AAR comment is that this was the first time that everyone was able to track everything easily.  It’s still a work in progress because it is to loud, and those operations people really do get in the way of good communications.

Training is, as you are so obviously aware, proving to be much more difficult since the wing calendar is already getting over crowded.  Here is the outline of what we’re thinking so far:

ICUT (not only getting it, but showing people how to train and evaluate it)
Modified Ham-Cram type course (we’ve taken out the obvious ham and FCC portions and changed everything we kept to a CAP focus)
PD Communications Specialty Track Technician Level Training Weekend
Hands on planning activities for how to plan and place the airborne repeaters (this proved amazingly simple)
Hands on activities for setting up a complete comm center in a degraded infrastructure
Hands on activities for using WMIRS 2.0 communications tools
Writing the comm portions of the IAP and Wing OPLANS

We’ll be glad to share what we have when it’s done and would like to see what you end up with.  After all, plagiarism is an acceptable staff practice in CAP!

Don
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PHall
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2014, 05:21:53 PM »

Comm topic I want answered.  Why can't the Comm Wizards just give me what I asked for and not what "they" say I need?

Example: Encampment at an Active Military base. We have helicopter o-rides scheduled at the helipad just down the road from us.
Range Control says we need comms between us and them or it's a no go. No cell phone coverage at the helipad.
The helipad and the Encampment Headquarters are both within the coverage area for the local repeater. We have phone service at Encampment Headquarters.
So we ask for two radio operators with two VHF-FM radios for a one day event. Simple.
The Comm Wizards want to send us a half dozen VHF-FM radios and a pair of HF stations and a dozen people to operate them for the entire encampment.
They also tell us that the ISR radios that we use at Encampment are illegal too.

And you Comm guys wonder why you have a bad rep... ::)

Just give the user what they ask for is all I want.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2014, 05:49:55 PM »

there is more to this commo thing than pushing the PTT,

Not.

For.

Operators.

“1-2. Purpose. The primary purpose of CAP communications is to provide internal communications capabilities; to provide commanders with the means to conduct the missions of CAP both during normal conditions and when commercial infrastructure is unavailable or unsuitable,
[/quote]

This seems to escape the vision of many comm people. 

Neither ES operators, nor the admin officer at an encampment need to know or care about the socio-political-economic-metaphysical reasoning behind
why one vendor or technology was chosen over the other, why one radio is better then another, SWR, attenuation, power levels or anything
else other then "they said push this button and my voice will come out over there..."

Comms

IS.

NOT.

A.

MISSION.

It is a tool for completing a mission - namely passing information between parties with actual work to do that doesn't
include pulling cable, mounting an antenna, or changing the channel plan in the middle of a hurricane.

This is no different then the constant nonsense in IT - fifedoms, camps, personal preferences, risk aversion and preference
for the status quo mean that in an era where 6 year olds carry devices that would astound the Federation, CAP still does not
have a mission management system, nor even a coherent IT plan.

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Storm Chaser
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2014, 05:54:03 PM »

I agree with many who have posted here. It's obvious that the target audience for this training is Comm Officers, not operators. That's fine.

Keep the training within the purview of CAP. For those who are technically inclined, there may be many interesting communications topics to be discussed, but if they're not relevant to CAP, you're missing a great opportunity here. So, the question I would ask about your audience is, what do you want them to be able to accomplish when they complete this training? Do you want them to be able to reprogram radios? Do you want them to be able to service/maintain radios? Do you want them to manage the Comm Program? Or be able to install a mobile comm station, antennas, etc.? Is this training only targeted to Comm Officers? Or do you also want CULs? Unless you can answer what your goal is, you may end up covering a lot of interesting, but useless (in the context of CAP) material.

Keep it simple and relevant to your target audience and CAP. And make sure that the objectives are clear, as well as your participants' expectations about this training.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2014, 05:55:31 PM »

Operationally, we have physically moved the communications section into the operations area right next to Air Ops and Ground Ops and set up the operations section like a Land Component Tactical Operations Center. Seems rather simple, but you should have heard the howling from the “old guard” about how much noise there was going to be and how much those radio people were going to be in the way.  But we did it at the last SAREX and low and behold, the number one AAR comment is that this was the first time that everyone was able to track everything easily.  It’s still a work in progress because it is to loud, and those operations people really do get in the way of good communications.

Wow.  Just wow.

The comm shack, and anything else that generates that much literal and figurative background noise needs to be as far away from the
ICS structure as possible.

BTDT - it doesn't work.

How about developing a simple system to pass message traffic, or better, grab something free and robust like Google Apps?

Listen.

Type.

Listen.

Type.

Read if necessary.

Put someone on the AOBD and GBD desk to monitor comms in both directions.

Fully logged, sandboxed.

Done.
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arajca
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2014, 07:28:56 PM »

there is more to this commo thing than pushing the PTT,

Not.

For.

Operators.

“1-2. Purpose. The primary purpose of CAP communications is to provide internal communications capabilities; to provide commanders with the means to conduct the missions of CAP both during normal conditions and when commercial infrastructure is unavailable or unsuitable,
YES.

FOR.

OPERATORS.

Operators need to know the following in addition to PTT-RTL (many forget the RTL part):
1. How to turn on/off the radio.
2. How to change the channel.
3. How to read a comm plan to determine what channel to use.
4. BASIC trouble shooting.

Quote
This seems to escape the vision of many comm people. 

Neither ES operators, nor the admin officer at an encampment need to know or care about the socio-political-economic-metaphysical reasoning behind
why one vendor or technology was chosen over the other, why one radio is better then another, SWR, attenuation, power levels or anything
else other then "they said push this button and my voice will come out over there..."

Comms

IS.

NOT.

A.

MISSION.

It is a tool for completing a mission - namely passing information between parties with actual work to do that doesn't include pulling cable, mounting an antenna, or changing the channel plan in the middle of a hurricane.
The only folks I have heard go into the nitty gritty details of comms is comm folks talking among themselves or when answering a direct question of why we use Radio A instead of Radio B. Believe it or not, telling a radio operator to use Radio A because it works better doesn't satisfy many them. They usually ask why it works better. That's when the techno-babble come out.

When most comm folks develop a comm plan, they're not trying to make life difficult. They're trying to provide the most effective communications network to meet the mission. Most of the time, when a comm plan changes mid-mission, it's because of a change in the effectiveness - a repeater may have gone down, the area of the mission may have changed, conflicts with another mission, etc. We in comm like to keep our jobs as easy as anyone else - we do not change comm plans just to change them.

In response to the issue of ISRs on an active military base. I ran into that problem and that came directly from HQAF Frequency Managers. It was resolved in about two weeks after we were made aware of the issue.
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lordmonar
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2014, 07:40:53 PM »

The comm shack, and anything else that generates that much literal and figurative background noise needs to be as far away from the
ICS structure as possible.
No...ideally.....you would have a MRO at each section that uses comm assets.  AOBD and GOBD should both have an MRO.
The "comm shack" should be empty of people.....just house the equipment.
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
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Eclipse
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2014, 08:06:14 PM »

No...ideally.....you would have a MRO at each section that uses comm assets.  AOBD and GOBD should both have an MRO.
The "comm shack" should be empty of people.....just house the equipment.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Ops branches have no business speaking to the teams directly.  All comms go through comms.
Otherwise you have messages never tracked, never sent, misread, etc., etc.

You also have the issue that CAP doesn't have the infrastructure to support all those stations transmitting
at once and stepping on each other.  BTDT, too.  Talk about a Charlie Foxtrot.

It's one thing to have tactical channels setup for direct comms, assuming your infrastructure can support it,
but the main dispatch needs to be a central point, away from the ops area (i.e. another room, not another building),
and everything funneled through a central point.

The primary problem with this is CAP's inability to handle messages correctly.  MROs filter, interpret, ignore, write with
their feet, and generally don't understand the critical nature of this intel.  Runners get bypassed on other tasks,
the donut cart, or the bathroom, leave messages in the wrong station, and even the crews don't debrief properly.

One of the issues is that it's usually handled by cadets, who are very new and don't understand ES, or why these things are important.

I've worked missions with experienced senior-member MROs who knew what they were supposed to do and did it,
without filter.   One of the most fun missions I ever worked was as "Air-MRO" we had something like 7 aircraft at once,
I felt like an ATC, it was awesome, but getting missions to that point take years and people move on and out before they get to
any level of proficiency.
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Storm Chaser
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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2014, 08:17:16 PM »

No...ideally.....you would have a MRO at each section that uses comm assets.  AOBD and GOBD should both have an MRO.
The "comm shack" should be empty of people.....just house the equipment.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Ops branches have no business speaking to the teams directly.  All comms go through comms.
Otherwise you have messages never tracked, never sent, misread, etc., etc.

That's 100% correct. In an incident, there's only one Comm Unit per ICP or mission base and it reports (through the CUL) to the LSC or IC (if there's no LSC).

The comm shack, and anything else that generates that much literal and figurative background noise needs to be as far away from the
ICS structure as possible.

I prefer my Comm Unit in the ICP, relatively close (or at least accessible) to the IC and the Ops Section, but they shouldn't be making that much noise where they're being disruptive or distracting.
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JeffDG
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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2014, 09:17:53 PM »

No...ideally.....you would have a MRO at each section that uses comm assets.  AOBD and GOBD should both have an MRO.
The "comm shack" should be empty of people.....just house the equipment.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Ops branches have no business speaking to the teams directly.  All comms go through comms.
Otherwise you have messages never tracked, never sent, misread, etc., etc.
Our last opseval, we had each major staffer (AOBD, GBD, PSC, etc) had a pair of ISRs (yes 2).  One was locked on their "personal" channel.  So, if I needed to talk to the IC, I knew he was on Channel 2.  Comms was Channel 1.

So, if comms needed to pass something onto the AOBD, they could grab their unlocked ISR, look at the sheet, go to Channel 4, and the AOBD would be there (remember, he had a radio the he couldn't change the channel for on that one).  Comms with the aircrew went exclusively through Comms, but inter-staff comms went ISR
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Eclipse
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« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2014, 09:24:14 PM »

That's not a bad idea.
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Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,729

« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2014, 09:49:12 PM »

If you have an ISR locked into a particular channel, isn't that like using a cell phone?

Overall I think it is an excellent idea if you are in an area with bad cell service. On the other hand if the communications need goes beyond the mission base... ISRs have a limited range.
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Squadron Safety Officer
Squadron Communication Officer
Squadron Emergency Services Officer
lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

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« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2014, 10:06:00 PM »

If you have an ISR locked into a particular channel, isn't that like using a cell phone?

Overall I think it is an excellent idea if you are in an area with bad cell service. On the other hand if the communications need goes beyond the mission base... ISRs have a limited range.
Well that is sort of the point.
ISR....is inter squad.   it is not for talking to the next squad or outside the immediate area.

The idea of locking out each ISR is a little inflexible.
It is great from only the comm unit's point of view....they know where to look for you.  But if the AOBD needs to talk VFR to the IC....he's got to go through comm to get a hold of the IC.

I like the idea of using the ISRs at mission base.

Channel 1 is the common all call freq.
Channel 2 is IC/Command
Channel 3 is OPS
Channel 4 is Flight Line
Channel 5 Planning.
etc.

But I also like the idea that each section have its own MRO.  Reduces the amount of running around needed to get messages to the proper receiver.

Ground Team one needs to send in a status report...he calls GBD.  If they need to report a clue they call PSC.
Granted.....most mission bases do not have that many radios.....but in the sense of efficiency and fidelity of communications the less nodes a message must run between the transmitter and the receiver....the better.

And please note that I never advocated for the AOBD to be directly talking to the aircraft....they will still have an MRO who's job it is to log and track all communications through their stations.   We just eliminate the need to have to walk the message to the comm shack to talk to your team in the field.




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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
UWONGO2
Forum Regular

Posts: 100

« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2014, 11:31:17 PM »

How about developing a simple system to pass message traffic, or better, grab something free and robust like Google Apps?

Good luck with that. We wrote a decent comm logging solution that attached comm traffic to a status board of aircraft. It worked pretty well, except for two issues:

  • Nearly all of our MROs lacked the typing ability to log information in real-time
  • Nobody was willing to "trust" the computer, so everything entered into the system also had to be logged on paper

The massive duplication of effort wasn't worth it. Even if WMIRS 2.0 actually worked, I doubt anyone will use it. CAPF 110 and CAPF 105 forever!
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UWONGO2
Forum Regular

Posts: 100

« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2014, 11:42:45 PM »

I prefer my Comm Unit in the ICP, relatively close (or at least accessible) to the IC and the Ops Section, but they shouldn't be making that much noise where they're being disruptive or distracting.

I've seen this work rather well. We have one ICP we use that they set up a bunch of tables end to end. COMM starts on the left with a radio, then it's AOBD, OPS, GOBD, etc all in a line. The AOBD hears the traffic as it comes in, so his SA is always up-to-date (regardless of how long it takes for a message form to reach him, which depending on the MRO team can be 2 to 25 minutes). Even with 3-4 planes in the air, there isn't so much radio traffic that there are noise issues. Plus it's handy when an aircrew calls in with a question, just pass the mic to the AOBD who can immediately provide the answer (all logged on the CAPF 110 of course).

If your ICP looks and sounds like a wall street trading floor, then there's sometihing fundementally wrong with the operation. There shouldn't be so much chaos that adding a radio nearby causes noise problems for anyone.
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Trung Si Ma
Seasoned Member

Posts: 446

« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2014, 01:22:13 AM »


BTDT - it doesn't work.


BTDT - it DOES work.

Obviously, you and I use different criteria when applying task C-4000.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2014, 06:19:36 AM »

Clearly.
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Eclipse
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Posts: 29,352

« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2014, 06:21:53 AM »

How about developing a simple system to pass message traffic, or better, grab something free and robust like Google Apps?

Good luck with that. We wrote a decent comm logging solution that attached comm traffic to a status board of aircraft. It worked pretty well, except for two issues:

  • Nearly all of our MROs lacked the typing ability to log information in real-time
  • Nobody was willing to "trust" the computer, so everything entered into the system also had to be logged on paper

The massive duplication of effort wasn't worth it. Even if WMIRS 2.0 actually worked, I doubt anyone will use it. CAPF 110 and CAPF 105 forever!

If you can't type a simple message and don't trust computers, it's time to
park it on the porch and watch those kids mess up your lawn.

Every agency CAP purports to emulate or support is fully, 100% computerized.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 06:57:52 AM by Eclipse » Logged


Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,729

« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2014, 12:06:15 PM »

LIG of NY Wing handles passing messages between AOBD and Comm pretty well.

These two offices are separated y a window. Message from air? KNOCK KNOCK! KNOCK! "Your message," "Wheels up," etc.
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Squadron Safety Officer
Squadron Communication Officer
Squadron Emergency Services Officer
UWONGO2
Forum Regular

Posts: 100

« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2014, 09:02:59 PM »

If you can't type a simple message and don't trust computers, it's time to
park it on the porch and watch those kids mess up your lawn.

Every agency CAP purports to emulate or support is fully, 100% computerized.

Can't say I don't agree, can't say I can do anything about it either. The Red Cross faces similar challenges, a large portion of the folks they can rely on to be available are retired folks who if they ever used a computer tell stories about punch cards.

The computer, like radio comms, is a tool not a mission. Sometimes I do worry we don't tailor our tools to fit the unique needs of our volunteers, then other times I consider a rage-quit moment when I get an email asking how to find the link to eServices.
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wuzafuzz
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Posts: 1,160
Unit: CO-001

COWG Website
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2014, 03:00:49 PM »

What have I always wanted to know about comm?

Why in the world does comm have to have it's own logistics program?  I HATED that part of being a wing DC.  OK, back to the real topic.

It sounds like what you want is a CUL school.  I did that in my wing some time back and want to do so again.  Take the best of AuxComm, blend it with CAP, and add some techno-stuff.  Things like scenario based planning.  Have breakout groups devise comm plans for realistic scenarios and ensure they meet the needs of the mission.  Include interoperability topics and some "comm charm school" so we learn to play with other children/organizations a little better.  Make sure your CUL's actually know how radio works; basics like "simplex doesn't talk through mountains," "this is a repeater," and so on.  Add some regional or wing specifics not covered in ICUT.  Do some hands on time setting up radios, antennas, power supplies, etc.  Use the portable repeaters.  Introduce them to SWR or wattmeters so they don't blow radios up.

All those things should be minimum expectations for CUL's.  (Could be a COM-T thing but we don't have those.) 

As for radio operators, they don't need all that stuff.  They DO need recurring oportunities to change channels and zones, decide which channels to use, and practice proper voice procedures.  Instances of ICUT "graduates" using 200 words when 10 would suffice are far too common.  Sending aircrews home because they don't know how to change channels should never happen, but it does.  Radios are a tool, but we have every right to expect people to use them efficiently.

On a related note, I created a YouTube channel to house some communications training videos for COWG.  I'm no cinematographer or voice talent (the first two were created entirely on an iPad), but they are serviceable and cover topics outside of ICUT.  Within a week I should post one showing how to operate a portable repeater in a G1000 182.  Check them out here http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfpFtxcO7yXcZa7CaEmXccw 

Blue Mesa 42 OUT.
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"You can't stop the signal, Mal."
arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,314

« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2014, 04:51:33 PM »

What have I always wanted to know about comm?

Why in the world does comm have to have it's own logistics program?  I HATED that part of being a wing DC.  OK, back to the real topic.
Because that's what national wants.
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wuzafuzz
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Posts: 1,160
Unit: CO-001

COWG Website
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2014, 07:03:22 PM »

What have I always wanted to know about comm?

Why in the world does comm have to have it's own logistics program?  I HATED that part of being a wing DC.  OK, back to the real topic.
Because that's what national wants.
But WHYYYYY!?!?!  :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( ;)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 07:10:05 PM by wuzafuzz » Logged
"You can't stop the signal, Mal."
arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,314

« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2014, 07:12:50 PM »

What have I always wanted to know about comm?

Why in the world does comm have to have it's own logistics program?  I HATED that part of being a wing DC.  OK, back to the real topic.
Because that's what national wants.
But WHYYYYY!?!?!  :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( ;)
Probably because of ego issues. We can't have non-comm or ops folks managing comm equipment, now can we? ::)
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Al Sayre
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,510
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2014, 07:46:26 PM »

How about developing a simple system to pass message traffic, or better, grab something free and robust like Google Apps?

Good luck with that. We wrote a decent comm logging solution that attached comm traffic to a status board of aircraft. It worked pretty well, except for two issues:

  • Nearly all of our MROs lacked the typing ability to log information in real-time
  • Nobody was willing to "trust" the computer, so everything entered into the system also had to be logged on paper

The massive duplication of effort wasn't worth it. Even if WMIRS 2.0 actually worked, I doubt anyone will use it. CAPF 110 and CAPF 105 forever!

If you can't type a simple message and don't trust computers, it's time to
park it on the porch and watch those kids mess up your lawn.

Every agency CAP purports to emulate or support is fully, 100% computerized.

Wait until you work a big disaster and have to use WEB EOC...  That's what most state agencies are using or going to.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,902

« Reply #46 on: November 12, 2014, 12:45:11 PM »

How about developing a simple system to pass message traffic, or better, grab something free and robust like Google Apps?

Good luck with that. We wrote a decent comm logging solution that attached comm traffic to a status board of aircraft. It worked pretty well, except for two issues:

  • Nearly all of our MROs lacked the typing ability to log information in real-time
  • Nobody was willing to "trust" the computer, so everything entered into the system also had to be logged on paper

The massive duplication of effort wasn't worth it. Even if WMIRS 2.0 actually worked, I doubt anyone will use it. CAPF 110 and CAPF 105 forever!

If you can't type a simple message and don't trust computers, it's time to
park it on the porch and watch those kids mess up your lawn.

Every agency CAP purports to emulate or support is fully, 100% computerized.

Wait until you work a big disaster and have to use WEB EOC...  That's what most state agencies are using or going to.

What's wrong with WebEOC? If used correctly, it's a great tool.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
US NWC 2016
Al Sayre
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,510
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2014, 12:59:37 PM »

Nothing is wrong with it.  My point is that if you work a big event you're going to have to use electronic logs, like it or not.  From what I've seen, the electronic logs in WIMRS 2.0 are very similar to WEB EOC.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
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