Technical Articles

AUXC Qualification in Ohio

Most people know about the AUXCOMM course from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For those who do not, here is a quick rundown from my previous AUXCOMM article:

The DHS National Incident Management System compliance program adopted AUXCOMM for all auxiliary emergency/public service communications within most states. AUXCOMM encompasses amateur radio, RACES, CERT Team communications, citizens band, and other non-public safety communication services.

While AUXCOMM stands for Auxiliary Communications, it is considered a Primary Emergency Communications asset and is overseen by qualified amateur radio personnel. Some state AUXCOMMs are tasked with establishing county units led by appointed and qualified volunteer coordinators. The AUXCOMM program can replace RACES and ARES® programs within a state.

What most people do not know is that even upon successful completion of the training course, you are not AUXCOMM-certified. Upon completion, you are granted a certificate and a Position Task Book (PTB). PTBs identify the competencies, behaviors, and tasks that personnel should demonstrate to become qualified for a defined incident management and support position. The AUXC PTB contains the minimum tasks required to become certified at a state level as an auxiliary communicator.

In Ohio, the AUXCOMM course has been offered for quite a few years. However, not much was happening with the PTB training to become officially AUXC-certified. How this is done and processed varied on a state-by-state basis. It should coincide with the state’s Emergency Operation Plan.

In early December 2023, training and qualification to the Auxiliary Communicator standard, including an Ohio-specific addendum, was offered for volunteer radio operators who support their community through county and state agencies. KD8TTE with BLACKSWAN, along with the Ohio Military Reserve in Columbus, developed this hands-on qualification that emphasizes putting theory and technology to work in operation. Through a combination of classroom, laboratory, and field training, AUXC trainees are learning foundational information theory, information processing technology, and procedures needed to establish a station and work in Ohio’s statewide AUXCOMM HF network on behalf of an agency providing response or recovery aid to our communities.

AUXCOMM Certification Prerequisites:

  1. A valid amateur radio operator’s license
  2. Successful completion of ICS online courses IS-100.c, IS-200.b, IS-700.b, and IS-800.c
  3. Successful completion of the AUXCOMM course

To earn this qualification, we meet in person once a month, join three HF nets a week and two additional Google Meets a week, and complete any number of “homework” exercises to turn in for analysis. Through all these training opportunities, we are preparing for a major multi-agency emergency drill in May 2024.

Some important tools we are learning and/or employing for the training:

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at

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