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AirForce C.A.P. Emergency Services Search and Rescue And New Radios

Aug 17, 2007
C.A.P. Emergency Services exercises are known as SAREX's. The practice involves assembling a gathering of ground teams that coordinate search and rescue with Cap airplane crews. The U.S.A.F. calls Cap for an actual mission usually when an airplane is reported overdue or missing or when an emergency locator transmitter E.L.T. is monitored on an a/c vhf frequency. This activity is rewarding to Cap members who volunteer to help locate missing persons or provide rescue assistance in disasters. We make extensive use of vhf and HF 2 way radios to do the jobs.

Actually I was thinking there might just happen to be some of those here that might have taken part of that training/exercise, out of curiosity. You see I'm a member of the local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (A.R.E.S.) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (R.A.C.E.S.), I'm also considering becoming part of the Citizen Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) and with me being a veteran of the US Air Force also having served as a civilian Police Officer at the Dothan Airport (in Alabama) I have an interest in this.

Well at least I got a dialogue started here now I'll just have to wait and see if there are any Alabama CAP members to join in the discussion. Alabama Cap members to join in the discussion. You'll find that there are many members of A.R.E.S. that are also members of Cap. The Vertex 150 for example (even if being phased out in Cap) can cover all the Cap repeaters as well as the ham repeaters.

Although we still generally call them "SAREXs", most incorporate disaster relief/photo reconnaissance tasks into the scenarios now. I don't pretend to follow C.A.P Communications closely at all, but I recently did see an article saying that every CAP repeater in the country was getting replaced.

The change in repeaters doesn't change my post. But the change to narrow band does. After Oct 2007, all Cap radios must be narrow band, which means the market will be flooded with used personal radios (unless the member is also a ham) The change also means that Cap communications will be severely limited because of the cost of radios that comply with the new standards. Many members can't afford the price of the radios.

Would there be any type of grants available to Cap squadrons to help purchase these new compliant radios? If the individuals are required to purchase their own, then yes with the higher cost it will most likely cut down the number of available radios which in turn could severely limit the missions' capabilities.

Right now in the Amateur world there is some digital technology that is becoming available and it's quite expensive. Once it is more available the price may come down and just in case anyone is wondering what I'm talking about, it's D-STAR.

Cap radios and such, what was/is the reason for changing radios in the first place? Seems like having the H.A.M. radios that can be easily modified for Cap and or M.A.R.S. use would, or should have been the way to continue but then again I guess there are many pros and cons to be considered.

If the new compliant radios are going to be that expensive to which some or many members can not purchase them then how can Cap perform its missions to the high degree it normally does? These question may have already been asked and answered elsewhere in this forum but please entertain me for awhile and let's open up a discussion about those new compliant radios and what the best possible solution may be.

But Cap members aren't required to purchase their own stuff. They may do so if they want extras. National developed plans based on what they thought each unit needed and has been distributing radios based on that plan, including handheld and mobile (vehicle) units.

I think we are probably still somewhat lacking in handheld units for ground teams, however keep in mind that National never really used to issue them at all and those were sort of member/unit purchases. So, things are improving. As to the quality of the radios, I'm not an expert on them, just a user.

I know that Cap has been programming in other frequencies into the radios that might be helpful and at least at the state level there is some movement towards getting Cap radios from the state that will work with local forces. Not sure how widespread that is. Given that a lot of states are still struggling with that issue for their primary response agencies, Cap probably isn't at the top of their agendas.

This process has been going on for almost 10 years so it's something we've been dealing with for a while. Since the A.F. has ponies up a lot of money to buy radios, it has eased a lot of worries that were there at the beginning. Probably a lot of members who did have equipment that met the old standards which is no longer usable probably aren't too happy about it, but realize there is nothing Cap could have done to change things.
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Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.CombatCloth.info/. CombatCloth.info carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.
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