KNW-145 Basic Operating Principles

Basic Operating Principles

Waller County ARES training article
written by Christine Smith, N5CAS (sk)
Updated 1 Jan 2020
Edited 09/2022 by Paul Smith, K5PRS

General observations:

  1. Use minimum power or you may run the risk of keying more than one repeater, causing unnecessary QRM. Low power also conserves batteries.
  2. Use simplex for direct conversations whenever possible but not during nets unless approved.
  3. Observe the three second “pause” procedure between exchanges. When it is your turn to transmit, after the transmitting station stands by, count to three slowly before pressing your transmit switch. This gives stations with Emergency or Priority traffic an opportunity to BREAK into the conversation.
  4. Listen much, transmit little. Know what you are going to say before you key up. Written notes help. Don’t tie up the repeater with idle chatter.
  5. Monitor the local ARES net frequency(ies).
  6. Control your emotions. Calm yourself before keying up.
  7. Articulate, don’t slur. Speak close to your mike but talk across it and not into it to reduce popping and spitting sounds. Keep your voice down. Talk slowly, calmly – this is the mark of an experienced communicator.

Basic Disaster Communications:

  1. Keep the QRM down. If you’re not sure you should transmit, don’t. A headset will help – spend a bit extra for an active noise cancelling headphone set for those noisy environments.
  2. Monitor established disaster frequencies. Consult the ‘Frequencies‘ page for local nets and HF frequencies.
  3. Avoid spreading rumors. All addressed transmissions should be officially authenticated as to their source.
  4. Ignore trolls. They seek your attention. Stay focused on the job.
  5. Authenticate all messages. Amateurs should avoid initiating disaster or emergency traffic themselves unless they personally observe the danger such as an auto accident or house fire. We do the communicating, the agency officials we serve supply the content of the communications.
  6. Strive for efficiency. Instead of operating your own station full time at the expense of your heath and efficiency, it is much better to serve a shift at one of the best-located and best-equipped stations. Allow others to relieve you and get some rest between your shifts.
  7. Select the mode and band to suit the need. It is normal to believe your favorite mode and band is superior to others but the merits of a particular band or mode in a communications emergency should be evaluated impartially and should conform to established protocols. There is, of course, no alternative to using what happens to be available and open but there are ways to optimize available communications.
  8. Use all communications channels intelligently. Amateur Radio is a secondary communications system; normal channels are primary and should be used if available.
  9. Don’t “broadcast”. While it is true that the general public may be listening, our transmissions are not and should not be made for that purpose.

NTS and ARES leadership coordination
Within the disaster area itself and even beyond, NTS certified, ARES communicators are primarily responsible for emergency communications support. The first priority of those NTS operators who live in or near the disaster area is to make their expertise available to their Emergency Coordinator (EC) where and when needed. If you wish to be at the top of the list to aid in a disaster, get NTS certified. See the ‘MSG-1xx list of trainings and your taskbook in the STX ARES Information Depot.

That concludes tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested additions to this material?

Thanks, this is (callsign) clear to net control.