Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)

Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)

Welcome to the Big South Fork Amateur Radio Club’s (BSFARC) Amateur Radio Emergency Services ARES page.  If you landed here you must already have an interest in amateur or ham radio or looking for some help from us. ARES is the public service side of our club. Our various ARES units provide emergency communication services to the various counties we cover in addition to providing communications to local public events. Being amateur radio operators only means that we are not paid for our services which are delivered professionally. Each person in our unit and club have demonstrated radio knowledge by passing their FCC license examination.

The BSFARC offers local classes and is authorized to administer the amateur radio license exam as well. We encourage you to learn more about ham radio and how you can volunteer with us in case of an emergency.

In addition to being a very enjoyable hobby… amateur radio can also play a very important role in emergency communications. Hams are well known for their role in providing communications during disasters & emergencies when other communications are not working or are simply overloaded.  

This is why having a trained pool of Amateur Radio operators standing by, ready to help in the case of an emergency, is so important.

In this post-9/11 world, simply having a volunteer spirit along with a HAM radio license will not guarantee you acceptance into the inner circle of rescue workers & other volunteers. Many agencies now require volunteers to be trained in emergency procedures, and as such, possess the credentials to prove you can be entrusted to maintain a high level of professionalism and security in time of crisis. It is through a ARES group that you can most readily gain this additional training… thereby becoming a more valuable emergency volunteer!

ARRL has revamped the ARES program by establishing various levels of registration with level 1 being the entry level. Congratulations as you have already reached that level by being a licensed amateur radio operator, joining our ARES unit and receiving your task book.

Level 1 Requirements:

  1. Download the ARES training plan from the ARRL web site
  2. Join an ARES group.
  3. Be a licensed amateur radio operator at Technician or above

As you become more comfortable within the ARES unit additional training is available at no cost. The courses are all taken on-line and at your own pace with a test at the end of each module/course. Our unit will provide classroom based training for hands-on requirements. It is suggested that our NCS (Net Control Stations) and others wishing for a field appointment to be registered to level 2.

Level 2 Requirements:

  1. Register for a FEMA student identification number as this is required to take the final exam test on the FEMA web site.
  2. Take course FEMA ICS-100 course and pass the final exam
  3. Take course FEMA ICS-200 course and pass the final exam.
  4. Take course FEMA ICS-700 course and pass the final exam.
  5. Take course FEMA ICS-800 course and pass the final exam.
  6. Take the ARRL EC-001 course and pass the final exam.
  7. Participate in a quarterly ARES NET
  8. Program tone into HT
  9. Program frequency & offset into radio
  10. Write and send an ICS‐213 message

We also have dedicated pages for our various ARES units which are segmented by county. Contact your Emergency Coordinator for the password. These pages contain information related to the specific operations for each ARES unit.

Besides emergency incidents we also participate in community service events including ultramarathons such as the Dark Sky 50 and No Business 100 races. Please contact our club’s ARES coordinator Bill at KF4TY at ARRL.NET for help with your next event or to volunteer for your local ARES team as a licensed operator.