Radio communications in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary have undergone extensive changes in recent years, and continue to evolve. The advent and use of new technologies, the implementation of Rescue 21, the implementation of GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), and new roles for the Auxiliary post-9/11, have driven many of these changes. In many areas of the country Auxiliary communicators are functioning as Watchstanders from their fixed or mobile Auxiliary stations, either as a regular shift activity or as ad hoc communicators. When functioning in this manner, these Auxiliarists are the voice of the Coast Guard to the boating public. 1
Auxiliary communications are not bound into a rigidly structured operational system but rather consist of fixed land stations, land mobile stations and direction finder stations that have been accepted by the Director of the Auxiliary as radio facilities.
The primary purposes of the Auxiliary communications network are:
In many cases, Auxiliarists will operate radio facilities in conjunction with authorized surface and air missions. They will, at that time use authorized government frequencies in designated bands. Other program activities of radio facilities include operation in the HF Contingency Communications Program and the Auxiliary Monitoring Program in support of the Communications Area Master Stations, Sector Command Centers, and other CG Unit communications operations.
In order to stand watch at an Auxiliary communication facility, a Basically Qualified Auxiliarist must complete the Telecommunications Operator Personal Qualification Standard unless authorized as a result of previous completion of the “Auxiliary Communications Specialty Course” prior to 1 August 2008. 2
1 - Reprint from Auxiliary Telecommunications Qualifications Standard
2 - Reprint from National Telecommunications Website