Amateur radio is a hobby; emergency communications is not!
In order make a meaningful contribution to emergency planning, response, and recovery, ARES® members must be well-trained, well-equipped, adaptable, and proficient. We must be prepared to contribute to the overall communications objectives of an incident, either by using our equipment and licenses, or by using the equipment of the agencies that we support, when requested. We may well participate in an incident response and never touch our amateur radio gear. The critical thing is that we know radio, we know communications, and we are prepared to adapt to changing demands and challenges.
ARES®/RACES of Albemarle County, VA, has a number of expectations for membership. If you are prepared to make these commitments, contact the Emergency Coordinator (EC) to apply for membership.
- Training: At minimum, complete FEMA IS-100.c (https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-100.c) and IS-700.b (https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-700.b). (If you already have certificates of completion for IS-100.b and IS-700.a, those are fine, too.) Additional training opportunities are available. Consult the EC for information and guidance.
- Exercises, etc.: Participate in at least 70% of the exercises, drills, and local training sessions held during each year. (Albemarle ARES® exercises and training sessions are being held on the air and via teleconferencing during the pandemic.)
- Public service: Participate in at least four amateur radio public service events (AARC, CVRA, other local or national amateur radio PS events). (Most public service events have been cancelled due to the pandemic, so this requirement is on hold.)
- Voice communications: Maintain a working mobile or portable VHF/UHF voice communications capability, with a gain antenna and VHF transmit power of 40W or more. You should be prepared to operate either from your vehicle or from inside a building with your antenna outside. (A handheld transceiver (HT), while a valuable component of your go-kit, is unlikely to meet this requirement by itself.) You should be comfortable with operating via crossband repeat, either through the mobile transceiver in your vehicle or through someone else’s.
- One or more of the following:
- Winlink: Maintain a working mobile VHF Winlink capability. (See https://www.cvadn.net/how-to-winlink-radio-email/ for information.)
- HF NVIS: Maintain a portable HF Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) capability, including HF Winlink (WINMOR/ARDOP/VARA, Pactor-2/3 if you can afford it) and HF fldigi/flmsg.
- Mesh Network: Maintain a portable CVADN mesh network node (https://www.cvadn.net).
- Infrastructure Operations: Participate as an active member of the team maintaining and enhancing the supporting infrastructure of Winlink gateways, mesh nodes, etc.
ARES® at the national and section levels may impose additional requirements.