Hello and welcome back to my blog. Today we will be talking about the amateur emergency radio service (ARES). So what is ARES? ARES is an organization started by the ARRL that consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur is eligible to apply for ARES membership.
There or four levels to the ARES organization: national, section, district, and local. The national level is handled by the ARRL membership and volunteer program manager. At the section level the section manager is the elected by members in his or her section. They, in turn, appoint a section emergency coordinator who is responsible for all ARES activities in his or her section. The section emergency coordinator also appoints district and local emergency coordinators. At the district level, the district emergency coordinators can be appointed to handle a large area such as several counties or a portion of the section emergency coordinators area. The local level is the most organized of all the levels, in most cases. The local level is the level that has the most interactions with the ARES membership in the area and also with the local emergency management personnel. Assistant emergency coordinators can also be assigned to assist the section, district, for local emergency coordinator. They can be assigned specific tasks or just assist the emergency coordinator.
Local ARES operations usually take the form of nets –HF, VHF/UHF repeater nets, RTTY, packet, were other special mode nets. If you are a member of your local ARES organization, make sure that you let your leadership know what your interest are so that they can better utilized your assistance. If you are great with working with computers, then you could be of use at the EOC. If you were well under pressure, then you could be a net control operator.
Traffic handling is a very important part of our job as communicators. During an ARES operation, messages are passed using the RadioGram format of the National Traffic System. It is important to use this format when passing traffic because it keeps a record of the message, it is more concise which makes its faster when done correctly, and it’s easier to copy because the receiving station knows the order of the information that they are receiving therefore resulting in fewer errors and less repeats. Traffic handling is required training for all ARES members.
Pre-disaster planning is also an important part of the ARES organization. Planning before a disaster happens allows the organization to identifying those who may need amateur radio communications. After they are identified, you need to find out what the nature of the information they will need to communicate and who they will need to communicate with. Once all this information is obtained, drills should be done to make sure that everything is done correctly before a disaster happens.
Once again I would like to thank you for coming and reading my blog! Please like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter and google+. Links to all three can be found in the upper right corner of my page. Please share this with your friends and I hope that you and they learn something from it. Until next time when we will be talking about RACES and how it differs from ARES.
73 de Curtis, K5CLM