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AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY SERVICES (ARES)

  • West Tennessee Section Emergency Coordinator: UNFILLED
  • West Tennessee Asst. Section Emergency Coordinator: James C. "Jamie" Hall - WB4YDL - wb4ydl@arrl.net
  • SECTION 2 - WEST TENNESSEE Contacts
    • District Emergency Coordinator: Dr. Dennis J Wieck - N4ZKR - n4zkr@arrl.net
    • Benton County Emergency Coordinator: John Etling - K3JAE - k3jae@arrl.net
    • Carroll County Emergency Coordinator: John Etling - K3JAE - k3jae@arrl.net
    • Dyer County Emergency Coordinator: Dr. Dennis J Wieck - N4ZKR - n4zkr@arrl.net
    • Gibson County Emergency Coordinators: Dr. Dennis J Wieck - N4ZKR - n4zkr@arrl.net
    • Henry County Emergency Coordinator: Dr. Dennis J Wieck - N4ZKR - n4zkr@arrl.net
    • Lake County Emergency Coordinators: Glen R. Snow - N4MJ - n4mj@yahoo.com
    • Obion County Emergency Coordinator: Glen R. Snow - N4MJ - n4mj@yahoo.com
    • Weakley County Emergency Coordinator: Roger Elmore - KJ4AJP - kj4ajp@arrl.net
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

ARES Organization
There are four levels of ARES organization--national, section, district and local. National emergency coordination at ARRL Headquarters is under the supervision of the ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager, who is responsible for advising all ARES officials regarding their problems, maintaining contact with federal government and other national officials concerned with amateur emergency communications potential, and in general with carrying out the League's policies regarding emergency communications.

Local ARES operation will usually take the form of nets--HF nets, VHF (repeater) nets, even RTTY, packet or other special-mode nets, depending on need and resources available. Your EC should know where your particular interests lie, so that you can be worked in where your special talents will do the most good.

It is not always possible to use the services of all ARES members. While it is general policy that no ARES member must belong to any particular club or organization to participate in the program, local practical considerations may be such that you cannot be used. This is a matter that has to be decided by your EC. In some cases, even personality conflicts can cause difficulties; for example, the EC may decide that he cannot work with a particular person, and that the local ARES would be better served by excluding that person. This is a judgment that the EC would have to make; while personality conflicts should be avoided, they do arise, more often than we would prefer. The EC on the job must take the responsibility for making such subjective evaluations, just as the SEC and DEC must evaluate the effectiveness of the job being done by the EC.

ARES Operation During Emergencies and Disasters
Operation in an emergency net is little different from operation in any other net, requires preparation and training. This includes training in handling of written messages--that is, what is generally known as "traffic handling." Handling traffic is covered in detail in the ARRL Operating Manual. This is required reading for all ARES members--in fact, for all amateurs aspiring to participate in disaster communications.

The specifications of an effective communication service depend on the nature of the information which must be communicated. Pre-disaster plans and arrangements for disaster communications include:
  • Identification of clients who will need Amateur Radio communication services.
  • Discussion with these clients to learn the nature of the information which they will need to communicate, and the people they will need to communicate with.
  • Specification, development and testing of pertinent services.
While much amateur-to-amateur communicating in an emergency is of a procedural or tactical nature, the real meat of communicating is formal written traffic for the record. Formal written traffic is important for:
  • A record of what has happened--frequent status review, critique and evaluation. Completeness which minimizes omission of vital information.
  • Conciseness, which when used correctly actually takes less time than passing informal traffic.
  • Easier copy--receiving operators know the sequence of the information, resulting in fewer errors and repeats.
When relays are likely to be involved, standard ARRL message format should be used. The record should show, wherever possible:
  • A message number for reference purposes.
  • A precedence indicating the importance of the message.
  • A station of origin so any reply or handling inquiries can be referred to that station.
  • A check (count of the number of words in the message text) so receiving stations will know whether any words were missed.
  • A place of origin, so the recipient will know where the message came from (not necessarily the location of the station of origin).
  • Filing time, ordinarily optional but of great importance in an emergency message.
  • Date of origin.
The address should be complete and include a telephone number if known. The text should be short and to the point, and the signature should contain not only the name of the person sending the message but his title or connection also, if any.

Amateurs are often trained and skilled communicators. The emergency management community recognizes these two key words when talking about the Amateur Radio Service. Amateurs must use their skills to help the agencies provide the information that needs to be passed, while at the same time showing their talents as trained communicators who know how to pass information quickly and efficiently. We are expected to pass the information accurately, even if we do not understand the terminology.

Traffic handlers and ARES members are resourceful individuals. Some have developed other forms or charts for passing information. Some hams involved with the SKYWARN program, for instance, go down a list and fill in the blanks, while others use grid squares to define a region. Regardless of the agency that we are working with, we must use our traffic-handling skills to the utmost advantage. Sure, ARL messages are beneficial when we are passing health and welfare traffic. But are they ready to be implemented in times of need in your community? The traffic handler, working through the local ARES organizations, must develop a working relationship with those organizations who handle health and welfare inquiries. Prior planning and personal contact are the keys to allowing an existing National Traffic System to be put to its best use. If we don't interface with the agencies we serve, the resources of the Amateur Radio Service will go untapped.

Regardless of the format used, the appropriate procedures cannot be picked up solely by reading or studying. There is no substitute for actual practice. Your emergency net should practice regularly--much more often than it operates in a real or simulated emergency. Avoid complacency, the feeling that you will know how to operate when the time comes. You won't, unless you do it frequently, with other operators whose style of operating you get to know.

RADIO AMATEUR COMMUNICATIONS EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES)

RACES is an organization of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide radio communications for State and local governments in times of emergency. Created in 1952 primarily to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government assets during emergencies.

RACES is a special part of the amateur operation sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). RACES provides emergency communications for civil preparedness purposes only. RACES is conducted by amateurs using their primary station licenses or by existing RACES stations. In the event that the United States President invokes the War Emergency powers, amateurs officially enrolled in the local civil preparedness group would become limited to certain frequencies, while all other amateur operations would be silenced.

The RACES organization provides or supplements communications during emergencies where normal communication systems have sustained damage. It may be used in a wide variety of situations, including:
  • Natural Disasters;
  • Technological Disasters;
  • Nuclear Accidents;
  • Nuclear Attack;
  • Terrorist Incidents; and
  • Bomb Threats.
Any United States citizen, who possesses a valid FCC Amateur Radio Operator License, technician class or higher, is eligible to become a member of RACES. The services of amateurs who have a Novice Class license may be used, but this is not recommended due to the privilege limitations.

Dedicated RACES Operating Frequencies
H.F. H.F. V.H.F. U.H.F
1800-1825 kHz
1975-2000 kHz
3.50-3.55 MHz
3.93-3.98 MHz
3.984-4.000 MHz
7.079-7.125 MHz
7.245-7.255 MHz
10.10-10.15 MHz
14.047-14.053 MHz
14.22-14.23 MHz
14.331-14.350 MHz
21.047-21.053 MHz
21.228 MHz
21.267 MHz
28.55-28.75 MHz
29.237-29.273 MHz
29.45-29.65 MHz
50.35-50.75 MHz
52-54 MHz
144.50-145.71 MHz
146-148 MHz
222-225 MHz
420-450 MHz
1240-1300 MHz
2390-2450 MHz