About ACES

Mission: To support our emergency communications partners by promoting a standard for training and certification of amateur radio operators

Goals:

  • To develop training programs for Amateur Radio Emcomm Resources that meet the training needs of municipal, county, state, federal and private served agencies.
  • To manage a certification process for graduates of training programs which provides credentials that are modeled after NIMS/ICS resource typing.
  • To evaluate and accredit training programs and instructors for emergency communication training.
  • To develop and promote exercises in communications preparedness that allow operators to apply their learned skills.

History: Amateur radio has a long history of supporting agencies in need with a variety of communications services in the event of an emergency. Traditionally these services have been available under either a Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) program as outlined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program outlined by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), or a combination of both programs. The  ACES program includes these and other emergency communications services including Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams (REACT), US Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA), Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS), Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and others that can provide specific communications solutions.

Training Program: Oregon ACES has identified the lack of certification for amateur radio emcomm volunteers be a shortcoming in our current system. While training on various levels continues to be delivered, without a standard structure the operator is not aware of reaching any particular level, nor does the served agency have any indication what level the operators are trained to. The ACES program is voluntary and includes coursework, a practical demonstration of the learned skills, and a certificate of completion at each level. This allows the student to enter the program, learn specified material, demonstrate their proficiency and earn a certificate. By defining specific learning skill competencies as standards and aligning those with national standards, served agencies can now be assured that a group of amateur operators have all demonstrated their ability to do the needed basic tasks for emcomm.

Oregon ACES received the 2011 Partner Service Award from the Oregon Emergency Manager's Association (OEMA) in October 2011 for its work in creating an effective new emergency communications training program.

Training Requirements: Amateur radio operators are finding the requirement to have completed Federal Training on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) by taking Incident Command System (ICS) courses generally including IS-100, IS-200 and IS-700 in order to participate in Emergency Communications.  Most response groups develop specific training by unit, there is no standardized training program, skills requirement, or certification for individuals.   ACES has developed specific training accompanied by a certificate of completion for amateur radio emergency operators that will allow those completing the program to provide proof to their served agencies that the operators have been adequately trained and have demonstrated their proficiency in appropriate skill areas.

Resource Typing: Oregon ACES recognizes the need to apply NIMS/ICS resource typing to amateur radio operators. While there are several proposals for Amateur Radio resource typing, none have been accepted by NIMS.  The World Radio Relay League (WRRL) has submitted their concept for Amateur Radio Resource Typing, other groups have published similar designs, several different concepts are covered in the program.    Regardless of an approved resource type, it is clear that some form of typing is beneficial.  Developing training for operators to meet the requirements for the various resource types, the following courses are being developed:

  • Basic – The training and certification will meet the basic requirements for a Type 4 resource. This course is expected to involve sixteen (16) hours of classroom and/or online training followed by eight (8) hours of practical evaluation where the operator must demonstrate the specific learning competencies outlined for the course. This course will cover basic emcomm communications topics and procedures for operating VHF/UHF voice only.
  • Advanced – The training and certification will meet the basic requirements for a Type 3 resource. This course is expected to involve sixteen (16) hours of classroom and/or online training followed by eight (8) hours of practical evaluation where the operator must demonstrate the specific learning competencies outlined for the course. This course will cover advanced emcomm communications topics, team concepts and procedures for operating HF and digital modes. Successful completion of the Basic course is a prerequisite.
  • Technician – The training and certification is designed to document a technician on a Type 2 or Type 1 team. This course is expected to involve sixteen (16) hours of classroom and/or online training and four (4) hours of practical evaluation where the technician must demonstrate the specific learning competencies outlined for the course. Successful completion of the Basic and Advanced courses is a prerequisite.
  • Team Leader – The training and certification is designed to document a task force team leader. This course is expected to involve 16 hours of classroom and/or online training. Successful completion of the Basic and Advanced courses is a prerequisite.
  • Specific Courses – Individual courses may be reviewed and accredited for various levels of continuing education and certificates of completion will be issued for those passing the courses.

Application of Skills: ACES has developed and encourages participation in Auxiliary Communications Tests (ACT) for all graduates and potential students.  ACT's are scheduled periodically and participation is open to any licensed operator.  Once the exercise is completed, participants are urged to login to the Oregon ACES website and upload any photos of their team event, provide information on the activities that their team performed, and the personnel involved.  For participants that provide their name, callsign and email address a Certificate of Participation will be generated and emailed to the participant.  This is a good opportunity for all operators to test equipment and confirm the operation of all needed equipment.

Development: The Oregon ACES program has developed the BASIC course with input from amateur operators and Emergency Management staff and it is currently being taught.  The ADVANCED course outline has been released for comment, and course developement work is underway. Developing programs are reviewed against all other applicable programs in an effort to include content that covers existing material allowing the ACES program to meet or exceed other documented training levels. Our development team is a consortium of professional and volunteer emcomm staff determined to develop a statewide training and certification program consistent with national recognition and based on demonstrating communication skills asked for by served agencies.

Oregon ACES, Inc Board of Directors

The board of directors serve as the core content development team, set policies, and conduct business on behalf of the corporation:

If you need to contact the board of directors, please use the Contact Us page.

Extended Development Team

The extended development team assists in the development and review of course material, providing cross-agency and cross-disciplinary feedback: