Amateur Radio Communications Team

The Amateur Radio Communications Team (ARCT) is a proposed system for classifying the capabilities of teams of volunteer amateur radio operators, in preparation for or in actual service in support of public service agencies (fire, police, other essential services) and non-governmental disaster relief organizations (also known as National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) in times of disaster or other emergency.

The Incident Command System of the National Incident Management System developed in the United States is mandated by disaster operations of state or local government receiving federal funding. ICS organizes, or 'types' resources by size and/or capability. The ARCT system was created by volunteer emergency service amateur radio operators to extend classification similar to those used by ICS to the amateur radio community, and takes into account how amateur radio operators and equipment are most often used to serve in disasters.

The foundation is the ARCT Type Four unit, a federally licensed amateur radio operator with a Technician or higher class of license and a vehicle with a vehicle-mounted AKA 'mobile', or a handheld transceiver, almost always on VHF or UHF frequencies.

The next step, a Type Three unit, has two licensed operators, with one or two vehicles. High frequency, shortwave and longwave capabilities are desirable, and may be gained by selection of one or both of the operators with a license higher than Technician.

A Type Two unit is a field or base station with both short range (VHF/UHF) and long range (HF, shortwave and longwave) voice and digital (e.g., packet radio and PACTOR, among other digital systems) communications for tactical, logistics, health/welfare, administrative, and other radio traffic. It has its own generator, so it is not dependent on outside power or infrastructure. It requires four (or more) licensed and registered operators with one or two vehicles, and two must have a General class (or higher) license. It may be assigned to a specific agency, at a staging area, command post, emergency operations center or other location to serve multiple agencies.

The Type One ARCT station packages a full field station (Type Two) with four of the Type Four mobile/portable stations. It is intended to serve one or more agencies, and requires 12 persons including one supervisor and one assistant supervisor. As with the Type Two unit, it is self-sufficient, without requiring outside power or other support.

Operators must meet all current federal requirements, not only the amateur radio licensing terms, but also the IS-700, IS-100 and IS-200 correspondence or classroom courses offered by FEMA, among other mandates. The served agencies may add additional requirements.

References

[http://www.wrrl.org/arct_program/default.asp World Radio Relay League web page on ARCT]
[http://www.emcomm.org/ARCT Emcomm.org web page describing organization of ARCTs]
[http://www.fema.gov/txt/emergency/nims/nims_resource_typing_initiative.txt NIMS Integration Center Resource Typing Initiative]
[http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is700.asp National Incident Management System IS-700 course]
[http://www.ircares.org/info.php PowerPoint presentation on ARCTs]
[http://www.emcommforum.org Discussion Forum for EmComm and ARCTs]


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