Home         About ARES            Net Information            Announcements           

ARES Staff            Training           Forms            Members








IARU Emergency Telecommunications Guide

May 7, 2017


A copy of the IARU Emergency Telecommunications Guide has been added to the Members Page of our website. It is very good reading for all personnel who may be operating in the emcomm field. It contains a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics all directly related to our mission in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.


NVIS Research Paper Available

(From ARRL Bulletin)

March 31, 2017

A thorough and fully annotated discussion of Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) is available in the research paper, “Radio
Communication via Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Propagation: An Overview,” by Ben A. Witvliet, PE5B/5R8DS, and Rosa Ma

First investigated in the 1920s, NVIS propagation was rediscovered during World War II as “an essential means to establish
communications in large war zones such as the D-Day invasion in Normandy,” the paper notes, adding that the US Army subsequently sponsored a lot of NVIS field research, especially between 1966 and 1973. More recently, NVIS has become a popular means to enable close-in communication on Amateur Radio HF bands between 3 and 10 MHZ. NVIS can be used for radio communication in a large area (200-kilometer radius) without any intermediate manmade infrastructure, and it has been found
to be especially suited for disaster relief communication, among other applications, according to the paper.

“A comprehensive overview of NVIS research is given, covering propagation, antennas, diversity, modulation, and coding,” the
Abstract explains. “Both the bigger picture and the important details are given, as well as the relation between them.” As the paper
describes it, in NVIS propagation, electromagnetic waves are sent nearly vertically toward the ionosphere, and, with appropriate
frequency selection, these waves are reflected back to Earth.

In case the link for the research paper gets broken..

PS.. Ohio’s NVIS antenna day is scheduled for April 22. In addition to 40 and 80 meters, we want to add 160 and 60 meters (a good 160 antenna should also operate on 60). With the band conditions in the trash, we need to work up alternative bands and plans to maintain communications across the state! These new bands should make for some interesting antenna construction projects, so get your teams busy!!

Want more information on how to make a NVIS Antenna? Here’s a link..



Here is a link to an interesting article from Emergency about the Joplin tornado after five years.  It addresses lessons learned about being prepared, their actual response and the recovery period . Click here to view.



June 2016 ARES Activation



Back in March 2016 I wrote a short training article about always being ready for an activation.  See below. Last Thursday, the phone rang and it was Don Parker calling about an immediate request for personnel to activate for a search for a missing elderly man in Warren County. On the grand scale of situations to which we may respond, this was a relatively simple and straight forward request. Still, my mind began racing. What did I need to do before I could leave? What equipment would I need? Was everything ready to go? It was time to put my "readiness" to the test.


How did I do? Well, for starters I was not engaged in anything when Don called so that made preparations a little easier.  I grabbed two HT's and went to my gear stash and picked up a speaker/mic and a headseat with a boom mic, an extra battery which I thought was charged. (It was indeed charged, but I must admit there was a moment of uncertainty.) I grabbed several extra sets of  AA batteries, a charger, a flashlight, pocket notebook and pens. I placed everything into a small deployment bag and headed for my vehicle. Not knowing how we would be deployed I grabbed a hat, sunscreen and bug spray.  It was warm and humid, so based on the recent and timely training provided by John Ferguson, N8FJ, I grabbed a case of bottled water to ward off dehydration for myself and the group. 


So far, pretty good on the preparations.  About halfway to the meeting location it began to rain.  No rain gear onboard! Don and I discussed the rain issue via the radio and I commented that on a hot day like this a little rain may feel good. But seriously, I have many times been caught in a cold, driving rain on a hot summer day. It does not feel good.  Furthermore, hypothermia can be a real threat on day that started very warm.  After a little more checking, I learned that a flash flood warning had just been issued for central Butler County. According to the NWS there was a stationary storm cell in the area that had dumped three inches of rain in the area. Lesson learned. 


This story had a quick and happy ending. About the time that personnel began arriving to commence the search, the missing gentleman was located.  It would be easy to view that "activation" as wasted time, but I saw it as a training opportunity.  As I thought about my response, I had made a few good advanced preparations, I made a few good choices on the way out the door and missed at least one obvious piece of gear.  Please take a moment and think about your state of readiness.  Yes, it could happen today.


Brian KG8UT





Glenn Gombert, KD8TSR, provided an excellent PowerPoint presentation on FLDIGI. The presentation is very detailed and comprehensive. Its good information whether you are getting acquainted with FLDIGI, setting up a station or going a little further into FLDIGI's many components and capabilities. Click here to view the presentation.


Living in a State Readiness


Lately, I’ve been contemplating a good training topic for the website.  It’s March and we just completed spotter training,  maybe something on severe weather?  With spring approaching and a lot of public service events coming, maybe something about the benefit of getting out in the field and getting our equipment on the air?  First aid, CPR, auxiliary power, field antennas? All good options, but nothing really jumped out at me.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon, March 14. I was driving up I-75 and casually observing cloud formations and thinking about the current weather.  Overcast, but nothing that looked foreboding.  I saw some scud and quickly thought back to last Saturday.  No upward movement, no rotation, no problem.  In a few minutes I was home and almost immediately the weather radio alarm sounded.  My first thought was “Its Monday.  I thought the weekly test was always Wednesday.” Imagine my surprise when I saw the message “Tornado Warning.”

I immediately turned on the television, grabbed my HT, switched to the 146.60 repeater and brought up a radar program on the computer.   First thing I heard was Gary, KC8TND, already on the air for Dayton Skywarn. Yep. It was the real deal.  Several tornados quickly spun up out nowhere, catching everyone off guard.

I will let the weather people cover the meteorological details of the event. My point today is that most emergencies come without any warning. When the “big one” hits we are usually right in the middle of our everyday, routine lives. Ask anyone who has worked in law enforcement, the fire service, or really, any job that presents an element of danger and they will tell you that their biggest risk is that of complacency. It’s like driving a car. You drive to work day after day and its business as usual. Then one day you are happily driving along on auto-pilot and BAM! Didn’t see it coming, did you?

In Montgomery County we are fortunate to have few high risk/high frequency threats. Generally speaking, we have no hurricanes, no wildfires, no earthquakes, no catastrophic flooding and few tornados compared to some parts of the nation.  The downside to this is the tendency toward complacency and being ill prepared for emergencies.

The first step toward emergency preparedness is the right mindset. Yes, it could happen today.

Take a minute and think about your state of readiness. Then go and start your generator, check your supply of drinking water, buy some bandaids or charge your HT battery and make sure your weather radio is turned on!   

Brian KG8UT

EmComm Article



Here is a link to an outstanding article on amateur radio emergency communications from Emergency Click here to view.



FEMA Training


From the January 2016 Ohio Section Journal by Stan Broadway.
Like most other things in life, we ride a pendulum with ham radio in the emergency service. I remember in the 70’s, when ham radio –
weather nets, emergency nets, and even traffic – was in its heyday. While not licensed then, I heard the story of a half-dozen hams
gathered in a Reynoldsburg home, handling welfare traffic, searches, even dispatching National Guard helicopters over the big Columbus 76
repeater.  During that event, the trustee reported that the repeater ~never keyed down~ for three solid days, the traffic was that intense.
And so it was through the 80’s with continuous traffic on the repeaters, auto-patches being frequently made, and emergency calls to
the 911 centers a normal activity.

Then, 9/11 hit. And in the emergency circles, things changed forever. FEMA began to exert its national powers, and ham radio operators got to
‘wait for a call’.  More recently, after congressional studies pointed out the resource they were missing, FEMA and other emergency
agencies began to again realize the good things ham radio could provideto emergency operation.  Now, with renewed MOU’s and shared exercises
on the local and national level, amateur radio is regaining a lot of its credibility. But life in the emergency service remains different
from those early days. ICS is the only path to handle emergencies and the only structure to be considered appropriate in every situation.
(And it actually ~works!~)

Amateur radio and ARES has fallen far behind when it comes to validating our capabilities.  Should an emergency arise and a group of
ARES operators be activated how many will be qualified to actually do that job?  Can we assume that your county ARES organization is up to
standard?  Unfortunately, the answer in too many cases is, “No.” And the usual, “I don’t need all that stuff, I can handle this,
been a ham since dirt,” response is completely invalid.  For ARES to be a qualified, bona fide emergency resource, we need to step up and
prove our capabilities.  We need to be certified!

For some time, EC’s have been required to possess the FEMA 100, 200, 700 and 800 courses. These are not brain-burners, they are merely
orientation to how a typical EOC functions and how the management of any emergency will operate. The courses are available online, they are
free, and they are interesting!

This year, our goal is to step up the capabilities of ARES and become more worthy partners with EMA’s and other served agencies.  We prove
our capability through certification.  Thus, we’ve set the following goal: All Ohio ARES members need to complete the four FEMA courses (100, 200,
700, 800) by the end of second quarter (July, 2016.)    I’m instructing all EC’s that ANY ARES operator wishing to operate in the
EOC, or at emergency scenes will be ~required~ to possess this certification.  Paper copies of training certificates should be kept on
file at your county EOC.

Do you really have to do this? Nope. If you are dead set against taking these courses, your help will be more than welcomed for continuing
public service activities- bike rides, runs, and special events. Your time is invaluable for these activities!  But in a real emergency, or
an emergency exercise, your position will be ‘second-tier’ and not directly involved.

Look, this is a very big step to take- and we don’t take it lightly. But we are taking it because ARES needs to be able to put our actions
where our mouth is!

Here is the link to the overview page: Check the course list and find the courses you’d like to take. (Be
careful, this can become addictive!)  I would also recommend that EC’s contact your EMA Directors to provide training in how your EOC
operates!  We need to be familiar with this layer of response before it’s necessary!







Archived Training Articles

Generator Safety

GPS Coordinates

Reference Materials

Anderson PowerPoles®