I became a HAM operator to meet one goal…volunteer my skills, talent, and experiences as an emergency auxiliary communications specialist to first-responder agencies.
If you’re interested in volunteering your skills, talents, and experiences to a first-responder’s agency, here are the three of which I’m involved:
- USCG Auxiliary
- San Francisco Fire Department: NERT (I am considering not renewing my license — I want more action.)
- Alameda County Sheriff’s Office: SAR/SAF (I’m still in the process of qualifying.)
- Alameda County Sheriff’s Office: Honorary Deputy
Because of my volunteer status with AlCoSO, USCG, and SFFD, I voluntarily registered all of my Motorola transceivers with the FCC: Motorola XTS 5000, Motorola XPR 7550e; and, now, my Motorola APX 8000HXE is the new addition to my FCC file. This is not a required action; however, I believe in being transparent when working with law enforcement (AlCoSO), fire department (SFFD), military (USCG), and all government agencies (FCC, FEMA, OES (Office of Emergency Services)).
As a result of voluntarily registering all my Motorola transceivers with the FCC, the FCC has all my current volunteer information with AlCoSO, USCG, and SFFD. This information is an additional file, which is attached to my HAM License. The FCC gave me an FCC Reference Number, which has an inventory of all my Motorola transceivers, my agencies’ status, and my HAM License. When I’m deployed by one of the agencies, I give the agency my FCC Reference Number at the time of my physical check-in with the agency that deployed me. They take my information, log me as an asset, and assign me to a team.
In addition to voluntarily registering my Motorola transceivers with the FCC, I also voluntarily offered up all my Motorolas for inspection with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD); because, I wanted them to know that I am available for emergency auxiliary communications in the event they need a HAM operator in their times of crisis. I’m on their list and radar as an asset and resource.
As a result of voluntarily putting myself on SFPD and SFFD’s radars, both agencies gave me a list of their auxiliary communications frequencies, and they know exactly all the frequencies programmed in my Motorola APX 8000HXE, Motorola XTS 5000, and Motorola XPR 7550e. My goals in this effort was to make sure all our frequencies matched for HAM inter-ops auxiliary emergency comms in the event I’m needed. I check in with them every quarter just to stay current with them and to foster relationships.
The event that I’m really excited about is all my Motorolas are in the process of inspection and certification with the USCG. This is a required process. Once the USCG completes their inspection of all my Motorolas, they certify them and passes them as official USCG-approved comms equipment. After this required process is done, I will get my USCG Call-sign, and all my Motorolas will all be part of the USCG inventory and certified for USCG communications operations; my USCG CALL-SIGN will permit me to communicate in the USCG frequencies — this really excites me!
Not only will my Motorolas be USCG comms equipment; BUT, USCG will also include my house in their list of assets. This is also another required procedure. Once CoVid-19 lifts, USCG will come to inspect my house and my roof-top antenna. They will also observe the way all my Motorolas operate within my house and my vehicle. Once my house passes their inspection, my house will be considered a certified USCG comms site and will be listed as an asset for them…I am REALLY excited for this to happen.
I told the USCG officer that I have the Motorola APX 8000HXE to include in my USCG certification inventory, and he was really excited about checking it out. He was really happy I use Motorola equipment; because, the USCG uses Motorola, and they are easy to USCG-certify.
So, these aforementioned agencies always welcome HAM operators for volunteer work. HAM operators are a welcome commodity in all PD, FD, military (if the branch has a volunteer unit), and government agencies.
If you get into volunteering activities, be prepared to fill out tons of application forms and submit yourself to general background checks and/or deep background checks (FBI-level). Be prepared for training — at times, extensive and continuous training.
As mentioned, you don’t need to be as transparent as I am, en re, registering my transceivers with the FCC and having them inspected by SFPD and SFFD, but you might wanna consider it for ease of simplicity when the Shit Hits The Fan at any level.
Be aware companies selling transceivers touting mission-critical performance. In addition, invest in a good antenna.
Nothing is more dangerous, inconvenient, and frustrating than your tools not operating or not capable of operating during training mission or in a real-life emergency.
With the exception of the USCG and the AlCoSO, you don’t need to worry about being in shape, especially, if you’re gonna be an emergency auxiliary comms person, unless, of course, the agency, of which your doing volunteer work, requires a physical exam.
For example, I’m in the training and certification process with AlCoSO’s SAR/SAF program, and I’m required to pass a physical-timed test, which requires, walking, running, and lifting; hence, I have to be fit and stay fit.
My own self-pride, self-esteem, and vanity, force me to stay fit, as part of my life-style and part of my core values: healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit are my most important tools — in my experiences on this planet, if one of these elements fail, the other two fails; and, if they fail, I won’t be at my best to achieve my objectives and goals in life — not just in my volunteer work; but, most importantly, in personal life. So, I stay fit; I stay healthy, and I strive to better myself at all levels: physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual.
Feel free to contact me should you have any questions about volunteering your HAM skills with various agencies throughout the US. My core competence is working the PD, FD, military, and government agencies, but I also know about agencies outside of these sectors.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)