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Special Communications Unit (SCU) - KØESD / KØEPC

The SCU meets on the third Thursday evening of each month and welcomes new members. To learn more or volunteer, email
Our On Air VHF Net is held every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. on the 146.760 repeater (negative offset with a 107.2 tone).

The Special Communications Unit (SCU) is a team of volunteers who provide or supplement essential communications to the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPROEM), including the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) during times of local, regional and national emergencies or incidents as well as Public Safety and Public Service events for the Colorado South Central All Hazards Region.

The PPROEM recognizes amateur radio is an important communications resource in the event of an extreme emergency or catastrophic communications  infrastructure failure in the community. Volunteering with the SCU allows for increased training opportunities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and natural disasters within El Paso County.

SCU members are vetted by the state of Colorado and El Paso County OEM. This requires passing a background check as well as taking certification courses to understand the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS). This allows us to meet the requirements of our served governmental agencies to provide qualified personnel to support Search and Rescue, Wildland Fire, County Public Health and the Emergency Services Division of El Paso County.

Fully vetted SCU members will be issued a PPROEM ID card which grants SCU personnel authorization to enter an incident site at the direction of the Emergency Manager and at the discretion of the Incident Commander.

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC Part 97, Section 407 ). Many government agencies across the country train their Auxiliary Communications volunteers using the RACES protocol. These volunteers serve their respective jurisdictions pursuant to guidelines and mandates established by local emergency management officials.

The El Paso County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (EPC RACES) is an extension of the PPROEM Special Communications Unit. As such, EPC RACES has become a component of the Special Communications Unit and is now referred to simply as the SCU.

When a governmental entity such as, a representative of the City, County, State, or Federal Government requests amateur radio assistance in El Paso County, the response is through the SCU EPC RACES component. This is because governmental activation alters several aspects of disaster response funding, including insurance coverage. SCU personnel who are amateur radio operators are automatically RACES members and as such can operate under
specific governmental direction should the amateur radio service be suspended, such as during wartime and as directed by Presidential order.

Operation under the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service would occur only when the amateur radio service has been suspended by the Federal Government.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a function of the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) Field and Educational Services organization. ARES handles field communications, particularly during emergencies or as a public service. Locally, the Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Emergency Service (PPARES), is made up of amateur radio operators from Teller and El Paso counties. PPARES supports several local agencies including the Red Cross for emergency communications and provides support during many public service events throughout the year. Pikes Peak ARES is a group the SCU is likely to work in cooperation with during exercises, events, and emergencies.

Many SCU members are also registered with ARES, and we encourage hams to join both groups because of the overlap in training and experiences they will be exposed to.

Emergency Coordination Center (ECC)

The Emergency Coordination Center is located at 3755 Mark Dabling Blvd. in Colorado Springs. The ECC is a state of the art coordination center in the Pikes
Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management building. The SCU Communications Room is located next to the ECC and has both Public Safety and amateur radios. The SCU’s communications radios include Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom HF/VHF/UHF transceivers with voice and data capability (primarily
Winlink VARA HF and FM). The communications room also has 800 MHz and VHF Public Safety radios. The amateur radio call sign for the Communications Room is KØESD.

Special Communication Vehicle (SCV)

The Special Communication Vehicle (SCV) has been assigned to the SCU as a forward deployable communications platform. The vehicle contains three radio
operator positions in addition to a supervisory position and meeting area. The SCV’s radio equipment includes Kenwood and Icom HF/VHF/UHF transceivers, with voice and data capabilities. The vehicle also has redundant cellular connectivity for voice and data including a Wi Fi hotspot. There are also 800 MHz and VHF Public Safety radios and a Public Safety portable repeater available in the vehicle. The amateur radio call sign for the SCV is KØEPC.