Latest ARES News from ARRL

Calvert AUXCOMM members, please take a look at the two document links below. There are significant changes ahead for ARES and getting/maintaining ARES membership.


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Calvert ICS-205 Update

Calvert AUXCOMM members,  here’s an update to our frequency list (ICS-205 Communications Plan)



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2018 Simulated Emergency Test

ARRL Simulated Emergency Test: Main SET Weekend is October 6-7

Plan now for the annual Fall classic, the ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET). Click here and scroll down for complete SET guidelines and reporting forms for Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers. The primary League-sponsored national emergency exercise is designed to assess the skills and preparedness of ARES® and other organizations involved with emergency and disaster response. Although the main SET weekend this year is October 6-7, local and section-wide exercises may be held throughout the fall season.

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Hurricane Preparedness

So far 2018 has been quite as far as tropical weather is concerned, but we still have several months to go in the hurricane season.

Here are a few useful documents and links for getting and staying prepared.

MEMA Hurricane

2018 Hurricane Season – Some Nets to Know

Maryland Hurricane Evaculation Guide



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All Calvert AUXCOMM Members, below is an article on planned updates to ARES by the ARRL.   In particular, note the new training requirements.  I’ve not heard anything regarding cost (if any) for taking the ARRL emergency training classes.   FEMA on-line training is free.


ARRL Public Service Enhancement Working Group Chairman Updates Hamvention® Crowd on Proposed ARES Changes

At the ARRL Member Forum at 2018 Hamvention® last month, hosting Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK, chairman of the ARRL Public Service Enhancement Working Group, spoke about the dramatic changes that are occurring among agencies serving in the emergency/disaster response sector. He discussed planning for proposed new guidelines for participants in the ARES program, including plans for a new volunteer management software system, called ARES® Connect (see above). Upgrades to ARES training and resources will ensure the service continues to be a valuable partner for its served agencies into the future.

Williams’ program was titled ARES Advances into the 21st Century — A New Program, A New Mission. The vision is for an ARES that is comprised of organized, trained, qualified, and credentialed Amateur Radio operators who can provide public service partners with radio communications expertise, capability, and capacity.

Goals include aligning the ARES organizational structure with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS). The Emergency Coordinator (EC) will continue to lead the ARES team locally during an incident, while the District EC and Section Emergency Coordinator will continue to serve as resources and support for the EC. ARES Connect is the new platform designed to support Reporting, Membership, Database – Portability, Record Keeping, and Statistics.

It is envisioned that additional training will be mandated, including ARRL Emergency Communications courses and the now standard FEMA NIMS/ICS courses IS-100, 200, 700, 800, with IS-300 and 400 for higher levels. Other specialty courses will be required in certain cases such as SKYWARN and other agency-specific training.

Levels of training attained would dovetail with three new levels of participation: Level One would be comprised of all entering the program with no training, while progressing through the ARRL emergency communications training and the FEMA Independent Study courses 100, 200, 700, and 800. Level Two would be attained upon successful completion of these courses, and would be considered the “Standard” level for ARES participants. Level Three would be attained upon completion of the advanced FEMA courses IS 300 and 400, which would qualify candidates for the ARES leadership positions EC, DEC, SEC and Assistants.

Level One participants would be able to fulfill most ARES duties with the target of attaining Level Two in one year. Level Two would be considered the normal participant level, which would gain the participant access to most incident sites and EOCs. Level Three would convey full access as granted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and qualification for ARES leadership.

It is proposed that ARRL will provide a basic ARES ID, which would convey recognition of registration with ARES nationally and indicate level of training. No conveyance of site access is guaranteed. The AHJ would grant an additional ID/pass for site access, which would be “owned” by the AHJ.

What is Happening Now

The ARES Connect system is currently being field-tested and implemented, with ARRL HQ staff undergoing training in its administration, and group registrations currently being made. Group IDs are being assigned. Beta testing with four ARRL Sections with large ARES organizations is underway.

The plans as described above are pending approval by the ARRL Board of Directors. An ARES Strategic Plan for the ARRL Field Organization, and an Introductory Announcement are being drafted. Editing/updating ARRL ARES-related publications is underway.


A full article on the ARES enhancements, once approved, will appear in September QST.

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Maryland Launches “Know Your Zone” Hurricane Preparedness Campaign

With the record-setting 2017 hurricane season still fresh in most American’s minds, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with local emergency managers, is rolling out a new hurricane and severe weather evacuation system.

To read more, see:

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New ICS-213 Template for Winlink Express

Info below received via our SEC:

The pressure has been on for some time to have the ICS 213 form appear more like the FEMA hard copy. The biggest constraint to doing this was trying to get the HTML code, Java Scripting, and Winlink Express command lines to cooperate. This is why what you saw in previous versions was the best that could be offered, until now.

Thanks to Greg Kruckewitt KG6SJT
, our recent addition to Winlink Template group and his Java scripting expertise, we have a new 213.

Up front I have to thank Greg and his countless hours on this project, to include putting up with my never ending changes and questions.

As such when the next Template pack version 46.0 is “pushed” via the internet you will have the new ICS 213 available, version 25.0.
If you have no Internet available at a managed site you may update the forms yourself.

This new ICS 213 is NOT fully backwards compatible. If someone uses the old version to send, the new will at least display the message
information, just many other fields will not propagate.

PLEASE read the instructions that are are part of the Initial Entry form and try a few to understand the REPLY portion changes.

Any and all questions, help needed, suggestions, or platitudes go to KG6SJT@

The New Form:

– We were able to remove the sometimes accidental bringing up the ICS-213_SendReply.txt by error, you no longer see it.
Now you can only click on the ICS213_Initial.txt    (Setting the ICS 213 as a “favorite” template did prevent this).


-Screen shot of the Initial entry form:

– Screen shot of the Inbound 213.

Note you can not use this form to reply from, read the instructions. But you can print it in order to obtain a written response.
When you print the items marked in YELLOW are removed.

– Screen shot of the final ICS 213 to print or save.

We understand that with chnage comes anxiety. Test and learn this forms process and how to initiate a Reply. Some will not like this new format as it is a departure from the previous two years. But SHARES, served agencies, and others have been asking for this for some time. Is it perfect? Perhaps not, best that can be done at this time.

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Added Training

Links to the ARRL Emergency Communicator training (EC-001 and EC-016) have been added under then Training tab (top of the screen).  These courses are specific to the amateur radio  communicator and are good resources for any AUXCOMM member.  Please take some time to review the courses and determine if this is something of interest to you.
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Updated ICS-205 Incident Communications Plan

I’ve updated the CALV ICS-205 Incident Communications Plan to include the new HF voice and data frequencies.  Also updated is the CTCSS tone that the Davidsonville two-meter repeater now transmits.

If you haven’t already, please update your radios and files with the changes.  The ICS-205 (non-incident specific) form is always found at the top of the Frequencies page.

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Preparedness: Power Outage

September is National Preparedness Month and each week we’re looking at different disasters that should be prepared for.  This week we’re talking about power outages.

On the morning of August 14th, 2003, no one foresaw how that day would test their preparedness against disasters and put millions of people’s emergency plans into action.  Just after 4:10 PM a cascading voltage drop, caused by a software bug and power lines coming into contact with tree limbs, led to a blackout that put roughly 55 million people in the dark.

This event didn’t just affect people’s abilities to turn on lights and keep their food cold but also took down communications infrastructure.  Many cellular systems failed when generators ran out of fuel, cable television systems went offline until their home offices regained power, and Internet connectivity similarly went down causing those that relied on Internet connectivity for news and communications to be left in the dark.  Amateur radio operators in Suffolk County, NY, handled roughly 500 pieces of traffic of which the majority was health-and-welfare traffic.

The power outage affected New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario.  At least ten deaths are attributed to the outage and New York City Fire Department handled 60 “all-hands” fires that were caused by people using candles for illumination.

Lessons learned

In the aftermath of the Northeast US blackout of 2003, we learned some lessons that can help prevent further emergencies while reducing the load on emergency services.

Before a power outage

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling power outages.
  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there’s room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.
  • Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.

During a power outage

  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles during a power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.  If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Listen to local radio and to a battery- or generator-powered television for updated information.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the telephone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 for information—call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage.

After a power outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with the food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.


Amateur radio operators are likely to be better prepared for a communication outage since we utilize communication methods that are both efficient (little bandwidth, less power consumption) and don’t require Internet or other commercial infrastructure to function.

There are some basic things we need to take into consideration, however:

  • Have a battery available to run your radios.  Generators are great but you might not want to run the generator constantly.  A battery will keep your radios on the air even in the absence of a generator.  It is also important to have a means of charging that battery (generator, solar panels, your car’s alternator).
  • Have the ability to charge your HT using DC voltage.  Having a cigarette lighter charger for your HT means be able to charge your radio up using your battery or your vehicle.  This goes for your cellular phone as well.  Goal Zero sells small solar charging units that can charge up your cellular phone and AA or AAA batteries for your HT.
  • Know how to send and receive messages.  It’s great that amateur radio has the ability to move messages around in the event of an emergency but if you don’t know how to utilize these networks they are of no use to you.  The best way to learn and understand and be able to use these networks fluently is to participate in them regularly.
  • Know your county’s emergency plans and what frequencies to monitor.  Know that during power outages local infrastructure, such as repeaters and digipeaters, may not be available and HF operations may be the best.
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