Association of Emergency Radio Organizations in Minnesota

It’s a new AERO to meet a new and growing need, and we’ve updated our training to meet that need. In this article you will learn what you need to get involved.

AERO is an organization of emergency communications organizations that establishes and offers emergency communications training in support of its member organizations served in Anoka, Dakota, Carver, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

In order to take AERO training, you must be a member of one of our recognized AERO organizations.

Since AERO is an organization of organizations, individuals cannot be members. Your participation in training is contingent upon your involvement in a Metro-area government-recognized emergency management or disaster support organization that provides its own communications capability by recruiting Amateur Radio Operators.

These organizations include government emergency management organizations, hospitals associated with the Metro Hospital Compact, and disaster support organizations like the Red Cross (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and the Salvation Army. They also include amateur radio organizations associated with a government agency such as Bloomington Communications Group, Maple Grove Radio Club, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Communications Response Team, Hennepin County Emergency Management Auxiliary Communications Team, Ramsey County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, CERT Teams, and various ARES/RACES/SKYWARN organizations like Metro Skywarn, Dakota Co ARES/RACES or Anoka Co ARES/RACES.

To get involved, join a recognized organization, one of the above, or another not mentioned. Get some proof of your involvement like an ID,  a letter of acceptance, or something similar that identifies a Gov't organization representative that AERO can contact to verify your status.

Some of you may have already visited AEROMN.org,  some may have already registered. This registration process will serve as your application for training. Only verification from your home organization will ensure your invitation and admission to future AERO classes.

AERO will provide you with state of the art communications training designed to serve emergency management or disaster support organizations. The list above is not intended to be a complete list. You can propose your organization's affiliation by registering on this website and the AERO Board will consider your application and notify you and your organization.

Before registration, a little preparation is required. You will need a pdf copy of your Amateur Radio License. A reference copy is sufficient and can be downloaded from fcc.gov. The actual license is preferred. You will also need a pdf copy of your Certificates of Completion for IC100, IC200, IC700, and IC800, and any other training you may have taken. Your credentials will determine which class you will be invited to attend.

Then go to AEROMN.org, and register. Fill all the information you can. The above information is required to save your work, so make sure you complete your preparation before registering. Make sure you list the government recognized EMComm organization with whom you are affiliated (member) that you will support with your training. That organization may be or is eligible to be a member of AERO and will want you to advance in your training.

Upload a copy of your Amateur Radio License and Certificate of Completion for the IC, AERO, ARRL or other classes you've taken.

Make sure your AERO profile is as up-to-date as possible, and stop back often to update if after you advance in your training. The documentation of your qualifications may qualify you for invitations to future trainings.

Once your profile is complete, you will receive your Eventbrite invitation to the appropriate AERO class scheduled in the near future.

Thank you for your commitment to providing service to your community.

Class

Date

Location

Time

AERO 101

Oct 14 (Sat)

Hennepin County Emergency Communications Facility

1245 Shenandoah Ln N

Plymouth, MN 55447

8:30 am to 12:30 pm

Nov 11 (Sat)

 

Eden Prairie
FD#1
Eden Prairie Fire Station #1
14800 Scenic Heights Road,
Eden Prairie, MN 55344


 

8:30 am to 12:30 pm

AERO 102

Oct 24 (Tues)

Maple Grove Fire Station #2

13450 Maple Knoll Way

Maple Grove, MN 55369

 

6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

The public service agencies along the gulf coast has done a lot to over the past 10 or so years to make their communications systems, not only radio but internet connectivity more robust and hardened.   That combined with the requirement to go narrow band plus adding digital modes at the same time have made these systems more complex and with that comes more points of failure.   In both the greater Houston and Golden Triangle portions of the Texas Gulf Coast, Hurricane Harvey did not knock out, or significantly impact the cellular telephone and data networks or the 700 & 800 MHz trunking public service systems.  There were some threats but no significant impact.

As a result the utilization of ARES/RACES was not even a blip on the landscape in the response either during or after landfall.  That doesn't mean we weren't prepared, we were in place, staffed and ready to go, just not needed as traditional communicators.

My concern is that not only will our served agencies find themselves lured into a false sense of security so will the amateur radio community.   We, the amateur radio community do have the ability to control one side of that equation.   We can continue to train as hams. We can complete the "Introduction to Emergency Communication" (EC-001); Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs (EC-016); PR-101: ARRL Public Relations (EC-015).  We can complete the FEMA IS100 IS200 IS700 IS800 IS026. Both ARES & RACES leaders should add IS300 & IS400.  All should get into a DHS AuxCom class and again leaders should try to do the DHS ComL course even if they never get DHS certified.   As PIO's who also wear an ARES/RACES hat in addition to the PR-101 offered by the ARRL there is the FEMA IS042 and the GS289 GS290 GS291 courses.

In addition to the educational portion we need to continue to practice our on air skills.  Personally I find most nets to be useless in the practicing of emergency skills.  We are merely pretending that we are providing emergency communications while using your fixed station with your normally installed fixed antennas sitting in a climate controlled "shack". I contend that at least monthly all nets should be conducted with all operators taking their go kit to the field ... even if its just the Wal-Mart parking lot down the street and check in. Now I fully recognize that not every ham can go portable.  But in an emergency such as we have just gone through here in the Houston area where maybe as many as 1 out of 6 homes are uninhabitable ARES/RACES leadership needs to recognize hams who can not go portable are not a resource to depend upon.

Continuing with observations from the past week we just went through, people do not listen to the instructions of the net control station. This wasn't just newbies ... this was seasoned extra class hams as well.  God gave us two ears and one mouth to be exercised proportionally. And I observed NCS that lost control of the net, because they did not exercise good net control discipline.  Presumably not to offend those not following instructions.  Yes there is a balance there as we do not need to alienate volunteers but need to maintain control.

The lowest common denominator is still V/UHF FM and 40/75 meter phone. While the digital modes can bring value they can not replace our lowest common denominator as not every ham is so equipped.  As our served agencies communications systems have become more complex with more points of failure, we do not need to repeat that model less we set up to fail as well.  Outside of the major metropolitan areas many of these more elaborate digital modes will not see the light of day.

Every ham needs to have a "brag book"  This phrase was coined by a friend and new ham, KG5MBB, who says every CERT team member and every ham should have a brag book with copies of any license or certificate in it to present to anyone who may want to review their credentials.

Now we've done our part ... how do we get our served agencies on board?  We can't force them to do anything and the more we try to force ourselves upon them the more likely the chance to alienate them.  It is my opinion that nothing does more to gain their respect than documented training from recognizable organizations.  Understanding your served agencies communications system whether a simple 5 channel narrow band FM or complex multi-site 700 MHz P25 and being able to discuss where amateur radio can fit into their system to either back up or take load off their system helps. Opening up your brag book and explaining that you understand ICS, and our place in the system and are continuing to learn more. Volunteer to participate in any of their drills, and not just as a radio operator, any postion.  My cities runs several a year as we are in a large petrochemical complex and I've been everywhere from in the EOC to an observer/evaluator in the field.

Bottom line ... every region of the country will be different and there is no one simple answer.   We all need to find what works best for ALL of us.  OK .... rant over ... I have the NOMEX on and awaiting all incoming flames.  But more importantly I value your input.  In addition to being a PIO I am also the ASEC for training in STX and saw some giant gaping holes this past week that we need to work on.

--
Mike Urich KA5CVH
http://ka5cvh.com

STX ASEC - Training
STX: (A)PIC Dist 1 & 14
PIO Harris County ARES

We may be Volunteers,
But we're professional.

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