ARRL Board of Directors’ Committee Seeks Input for Proposed ARES Strategic Plan


Following up on an ARRL Board of Directors directive at its July meeting, the Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG) has contacted all ARRL Section Managers (SMs) and Section Emergency Coordinators (SECs) seeking comments and suggestions regarding the proposed ARES Strategic Plan (attached below), via an online form. The deadline is October 31, in order to give the PSEWG sufficient time to review the comments and suggestions, formulate any necessary revisions, and submit the revised document to the Board for consideration at its January meeting.

Created in 1935, ARES has undergone very few changes over the years, while the agencies ARES serves have undergone many. The PSEWG evaluated the ARES program for 2 years and drafted several proposed enhancements aimed at updating the program.

The ARES Strategic Plan introduces changes and a platform for future growth. For many, this will represent a major paradigm shift; for others, it will formalize many of the requirements they have employed routinely for several years.

An independent team of individuals experienced in ARES and emergency work from across the US has reviewed the proposed plan. Their suggestions and recommendations were carefully considered, and many were included in the plan during its development.

Now, the ARRL Board wants SMs and SECs to have the opportunity to offer comments on the recommended changes prior to implementation of the plan. While SMs and SECs are invited to reach out to their Emergency Coordinators (ECs) for their thoughts and feedback, formal responses must be submitted through SMs and SECs.

The PSEWG asks SMs an SECs to keep their comments respectful, concise, and on point, and to keep in mind that the ARES framework must remain as close to universal as possible, even while participants in some geographical areas may require specific training that others do not need. Mutual aid pacts may require training specific to adjacent jurisdictions.

Also, SMs and SECs are reminded that specific agency agreements and needs must be honored. Those having concerns about a proposed new policy are requested to offer alternatives.

Source: ARRL Board of Directors’ Committee Seeks Input for Proposed ARES Strategic Plan

Amateur Radio Emergency Service Volunteers Assist in California Fire Response


Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers have pitched in to assist where needed to provide or support communication as catastrophic wildfires have struck California. Volunteers from multiple ARRL Sections in the state have stepped up to help, as some fires remain out of control. The fires have claimed several lives, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and forced countless residents to evacuate, including radio amateurs. ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, said this week that things have calmed somewhat compared to the past couple of weeks, with American Red Cross shelter communicators stepping down after 10 days of support. Initially, there were four shelters in Redding. On August 5, the Shasta-Tehama ARES team was able to take its communications trailer to Trinity County to support a shelter in Weaverville opened for Carr Fire evacuees, he said.

“This relieved the Sacramento County ARES volunteers who had been up there for several days,” Kruckewitt said. “For mutual assistance to Weaverville, it is a 4.5- to 5.5-hour drive for the Sacramento Valley Section people who helped out. Communications at the shelter have been important, as power and cell phone coverage is often spotty, with power going off for hours at a time.” CalFire reports that the Carr Fire in Shasta and Trinity counties covers more than 167,000 acres and is 47% contained. Evacuations and road closures are in effect. At one point, more than a dozen ARES volunteers from Shasta, Sacramento, Butte, Placer, and El Dorado counties were working at shelters opened in the wake of the Carr Fire.

“Sacramento Valley ARES member Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, is the liaison at the Red Cross Gold County Region Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in Sacramento,” he noted, adding that Joseph has been in the DOC since the fire started. “When the fire in Sonora started, we scrambled to get some ARES members to that location to see what communications the shelter needs.”

Kruckewitt said Winlink continues to be the go-to mode, as fire has damaged several repeaters and no repeater path exists to the Gold County Region of the Red Cross in Sacramento.

“One difficulty we ran into this weekend was that the Red Cross needed [ARES Emergency Coordinator and SEC] contact information for various counties that also are experiencing fires and having to open shelters,” he said. Completing that task involved lots of phone calls. “We encourage all ARES members to get to know their neighboring ARES groups and…check into their nets.”

Kruckewitt told ARRL that demand for ARES communicators is rising as the fires continue to grow. Joseph reported over the weekend that the Mendocino Complex Fire burning toward Colusa and Glenn counties was being closely monitored, although no additional requests for ARES assistance were being made. The Ranch Fire in the Mendocino Complex covers some 242,000 acres and is only 20% contained. The Mendocino Complex Fire is being called the largest wildfire in California history, although the Carr Fire has been more devastating.

ARES teams in other California Sections have remained on standby if needed. One problem in deploying volunteers has been closed roads. In the San Francisco Section, Section Manager Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, said the four-county repeater was destroyed by wildfires a couple of years ago. Power has just been restored to that location, and Hillendahl said that with fires crossing county lines, his Section is now considering getting the repeater back in service. A key node for the Carla system of linked repeaters was destroyed by fire, further hampering intrastate communication for ARES teams.

Source: Amateur Radio Emergency Service Volunteers Assist in California Fire Response

It’s going to be HOT!

Radio Amateurs from Los Angeles join in National Deployment EMERGENCY DEPLOYMENT EXERCISE



“Field Day” Demonstrates Emergency Radio Communications to the Public. On the weekend of June 25–26, from 11 am PDT Saturday to 11am PDT Sunday (24 hours), Amateur Radio operators from the Northwest District of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Los Angeles Emergency Communications Group in Los Angeles will demonstrate their disaster communications capabilities at San Vicente Park, 17500 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049. Joining thousands of other radio amateurs across the USA and Canada for the event known as “Field Day.” Field Day is an annual event sponsored by ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio. Field Day combines an emergency preparedness exercise, a contest, an educational program and a social event celebrating Amateur Radio. Deploying portable radio equipment in field locations such as mountaintops, campgrounds, parks, ships at sea, emergency operations centers or even ordinary backyards, participating Field Day radio stations contact as many other stations as they can during the Field Day period. Each radio contact increases a station’s score in the contest, with extra points awarded for contacts using radio modes that require the most skill. In a disaster, communications infrastructure is frequently one of the first casualties, and Amateur Radio’s reputation for stepping in to provide free vital emergency communications is well known. Ham operators are often the first to provide critical communications for rescue crews. During Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Irma and Maria Amateur Radio was often the ONLY way that people could communicate, and hundreds of ham volunteers traveled south to save lives and property. Field Day trains radio amateurs to exchange information rapidly and accurately, and to deploy and operate radio equipment in adverse conditions. In addition, Field Day is an opportunity for non-hams to learn to make radio contacts, experiencing the thrill that has captivated generations of hams. Young people are encouraged to visit and participate, learning from experienced ham operators who are glad to mentor a new generation of skilled radio communicators. Under the guidance of an experienced control operator, visitors to San Vicente Park will have the opportunity to make live radio contacts, many of them with stations thousands of miles away. In addition, visitors can learn how to get their very own FCC-issued Amateur Radio license and call sign. For more information about Amateur Radio Emergency Communications, visit For more information about the Los Angeles Section of ARRL, visit Location at San Vicente Park, 17500 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, “ARES” and “Amateur Radio Emergency Service” are registered service marks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc., and are used by permission.

For more information please see the link below.


FEMA Region X Field Day Weekend Event to Use 5 MHz Interoperability Channels

FEMA Region X Field Day Weekend Event to Use 5 MHz Interoperability Channels
— Read on

ARRL to Sponsor 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Webinar


ARRL will sponsor a 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season webinar on Monday, June 11, at 8 PM ET (0000 UTC on Tuesday, June 12 UTC in US time zones). The approximately 90-minute session will address the role of Amateur Radio during the 2018 hurricane season. Anyone interested in hurricane preparedness and response is invited to attend this online presentation. Those planning to attend should register in advance.

Topics will include a meteorological overview from the Canadian Hurricane Centre of the upcoming season; Amateur Radio station WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center: Who We Are and What We Do; ARRL Media and Public Relations; the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN); the VoIP Hurricane Net, Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), and ARRL coordination and interface. Webinar registration is open to all, but should be of particular interest to radio amateurs in hurricane-prone areas. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session.

For additional information, contact ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U.

Source: ARRL to Sponsor 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Webinar