News (revised 8 October 2017)
Updated October 8, 2017 by Bob Becker
The annual “hands on” inventory of communications equipment is underway! As of today, 40% of Illinois Wing units have completed their inventory – thanks very much!
If you are a communications officer at any level, you should be working on your inventory process at this time. If you are a member with communications equipment, be sure to contact your communications officer to complete your inventory.
One question that came up is equipment assignments: If equipment is actually in the personal possession of a member, it should be issued to that member. If equipment is stored in or attached to a corporate vehicle, it should be assigned to that vehicle. Otherwise, equipment should not be issued or assigned, such as equipment stored at a meeting location.
Following is the status of the wing’s inventory, but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
Illinois Wing Net Changes
Updated December 29, 2016 by Bob Becker
Effective 2 January 2017, we will be adding a second HF net at 1830 CT on a different channel to accommodate winter band conditions. For details, see the NET SCHEDULES page.
National Net Changes
Updated November 22, 2016 by Bob Becker
Be aware that the frequencies being used for the national HF nets are changing occasionally and potentially may be changing more frequently as winter conditions arrive. The most recent information we have is located on the NET SCHEDULES page.
New repeater on the air
posted July 9, 2016, 2:45 PM by Bob Becker
Our newest repeater is now on the air. Located in Lake County, it is focused to the northwest, west and southwest. This repeater is included in the daily nets in the Chicago area so if you are closer to that area, you should give it a try.
Illinois Wing digital migration
posted Jun 10, 2016, 4:00 PM by Bob Becker
Illinois Wing has taken another step towards being 100% digital. Our last remaining aircraft had it’s old NAT radio replaced with a new TDFM this week. This not only means that every radio in the wing now supports digital mode, but every aircraft now has the same radio, so one less radio model to learn how to operate.
The daily nets on VHF are conducted in digital mode every day except Wednesday currently.
Illinois Wing radio channel plan status
posted Mar 6, 2016, 7:45 AM by Bob Becker
CAP nationally provides a default radio channel plan, also called a code plug, that each wing is expected to use. Some wings use it as is, others add their own channels or other variations but the channels defined in the national plan must remain as provided so that members who have reason to work in other wings can always find the basic channels in a consistent place.
In Illinois Wing, we assign a version number to each VHF code plug so it’s easy to tell if your radio has the latest version or not. To find the version number on your radio, set the radio to the highest zone number programmed, and then channel 1 in that zone. On the display should be the version number. The only exception are the oldest models of the EFJ radios that only have 16 zones. Because Zone 16 is part of the national plan, we can’t change it but there is another way to find your version: all radios defined in ORMS have the channel plan version listed in the comments section. If your radio doesn’t have the version number listed, that means it’s so old it’s before we started tracking them (several years ago) and your radio needs an update.
The latest version is 3.13, however there is only a minor change between 3.12 and 3.13 so don’t get too concerned about that. If yours is older, please contact us and we will arrange to get your radio updated.
One of the reasons the channel plans change from time to time is because we add additional channels to better communicate directly with our federal, state and local partners. Those channels are called Interoperability (or Interop) channels. They are ONLY to be used to communicate with other agencies, not for communication between CAP members. You can find a listing of the channels included in the different versions of channel plans on the Communications Documents page.
If you have questions or suggestions for additional channels we should consider including, please work through your unit’s communications officer.
CAP participation in 2015 state Communications exercise
posted Jan 6, 2016, 10:34 PM by Bob Becker [ updated Jan 6, 2016, 10:43 PM ]
CAP recently participated in a statewide disaster communications exercise focused around an earthquake in southern Illinois. A video after-action report where CAP is prominently featured is available here: https://ileas.sharefile.com/d-sd08b1e657d84ff49
A formal written report is also available here: Madison County AAR IP
And finally, an article from the December Inside IEMA monthly newsletter is here: http://www.illinois.gov/iema/Info/Documents/2015_December_Inside_IEMA.pdf
All are public domain information and may be shared as desired.
Physical inventory – Done!
posted Dec 28, 2015, 9:12 AM by Bob Becker
Thanks to everyone who completed their inventory early as requested. I am happy to report that Illinois Wing was #1 nationally! While we are done with inventory until next October, there are still inventory related tasks that need your attention:
1) When equipment is assigned to an individual, it must be ISSUED to that individual in ORMS.
2) If equipment is part of a kit, installed in an aircraft or a COV, it must be ASSIGNED appropriately.
3) Handheld radios may not be reassigned within a unit or group. Please contact the wing DC for direction.
Thanks again for your cooperation and don’t hesitate to contact the communications staff if you have questions or need training.
Physical inventory is due now!
posted Sep 3, 2015, 10:33 AM by Bob Becker [ updated Oct 1, 2015, 10:53 AM ]
It’s physical inventory time again. You can make this process much easier on yourself, and in turn get it done early by doing this following:
1) Unit Communications Officers: Print the Inventory Worksheet report in ORMS.
2) At each meeting for the month of September, encourage your members to bring in their equipment. As they do so, check it off your report.
3) On October 1st, go into ORMS and transcribe your results into the inventory system.
Sounds easy, right? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me
New airborne repeater capability
posted May 26, 2015, 1:57 PM by Bob Becker [ updated Jan 6, 2016, 10:44 PM ]
We have always had the capability to carry airborne repeaters, but have been limited to VHF, which is what CAP primarily uses. We now have one aircraft with the capability of carrying a 700-800MHz repeater. This will be of interest to various Illinois / county / local EMAs as most of them are using radios in this frequency range.
The aircraft can carry and operate two repeaters concurrently, one VHF and one 700-800. The VHF can be one of our CAP repeaters, or it can be a customers.
If you need more information or would like to present this to your customers, contact the wing DC.
Wing CUL Procedures
posted May 26, 2015, 10:49 AM by Bob Becker
Today, all qualified CULs were provided with the documents needed to create what we are calling a CUL Binder. This includes standardized procedures, checklists and forms so that all Illinois Wing CULs are using the same methods. This makes it much easier for members to work together as we will already be used to using the same processes.
If you are a CUL and did not get the documents, please contact the wing DC.
How can I request a radio?
posted Oct 9, 2013, 12:33 PM by Bob Becker [ updated Aug 30, 2014, 1:32 PM ]
Some radios are designated for Ground Team use. If you are a qualified Ground Team Leader, make your request through your chain of command to the wing Director of Operations. If they are in agreement, they will pass your request on to Communications.
For everyone else, make your request through your chain of command to the wing Director of Communications.
Contrary to popular belief, there are radios available assuming they will be placed with members who will make good use of them.