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Updated ARES Manual Now Online
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Stark Co EC

     (May 25, 2015) - - The latest edition (March 2015) of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) Manual now is online.

This edition includes various Incident Command System (ICS) forms for ARES use, clarifies the role of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), contains an improved chapter on ARES training, and includes all current ARRL memoranda of understanding/agreement.

ARES consists of Amateur Radio licensees who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communication duty in the public service, when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of ARRL membership, is eligible to apply for ARES membership.


ARES Safety Vests
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Stark Co EC

 (Nov 25, 2014) - - Many times during public service drills and exercises, amateurs may find themselves shadowing event organizers or exposed to highway traffic hazards. This is especially true during bike-a-thons and marathons.

The safety of our communications volunteers is always important while we provide our service. One way to help increase our visibility is to wear a safety vest. These vests come in a variety of styles and price ranges. While there is no specific ARES Standard here in Stark County a good basic standard is a yellow class 2 safety vest.

The ARRL style comes in yellow and is Class 2 compliant. The cost is $24.95 and ranges in size from Medium to 3X-Large. A nice feature is that it is imprinted with the words "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications" on the back side. It has several pockets and uses a velco strip along the front.

During the Massillon Hamfest ARES member Ted Armstrong showed us a very nice heavy duty Class 2 vest from M. L. Kishigo, a company known for producing superior quality hi-visibility garments. This design, also in safety yellow, is a zippered closure with webbing reinforcement. It comes with 2 lower outside cargo pockets with adjustable flaps. It also has one right chest 2-Tier pencil pocket, one left chest heavy duty gusseted radio pocket perfect to hold your hand held. The price is only $19.95 plus shipping. This model does not come with any lettering but there are several local vendors where you can have this done.

The manufacturer also offers additional items including Arm Band ID Holders and multiple styles of reflective safety hats.

Their website is http://www.hi-vizsafetywear.com/safety-vests/MK-1513-14.html.

While it is not necessary to have a safety vest to participate in Stark Co ARES, they can be a nice addition to your equipment too kit !  

MK-1513-14.jpg

The M. L. Kishigo style Safety Vest.


Stark ARES Display
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Oct 29, 2012) -- Stark ARES hosted an information table at the October 28th Massillon Hamfest. The table was staffed by ARES Net Manager Mike Lackney - KB8MIB and Assistant Net Manager Mike Palmer - KD8ENV.

Our display included a PowerPoint presentation covering basic ARES & Skywarn operations, a display of several versions of Emergency Response or (Go-Boxes) and informational literature.

Many visitors stopped by with questions and comments covering our ARES & Skywarn programs here in Stark County. My thanks to both Mike's for staffing the booth during the hamfest !

Mike Lackney, KB8MIB at the ARES Display


ARES Digital Workshop
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  UPDATED  (Feb 29, 2012) --  Members of the Stark County ARES including Assistant EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ and Digital Coordinator Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ attended a FLDigi Workshop in Mansfield on Saturday, February 25th.

The workshop was sponsored by the Richland County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and EC Danny Bailey, KB8STK.

FLdigi is a computer program for Amateur Radio Digital Modes operation and is one of a new slate of multi-mode programs that support multiple operating protocols that are quickly finding their way into emergency communications on both HF and VHF. Another plus is that the program is available for either Microsoft of Linux operating systems.

The latest version of this free open source program was distributed to workshop attendees and included installation and setup on everyone's laptop.

One unique aspect of this software program is it's ability to automatically generate standardized message forms currently in use by both the amateur service and public safety forces that comply with the new FEMA Incident Command System.

Participants then practiced on-air demonstrations of several modes that would most likely be used for emergency communications.

A special thanks to Richland County ARES for sponsoring this workshop. Stark ARES may consider sponsoring a similar mini workshop for our own members interested in learning more about this messaging program.

Richland County ARES FLDigi Workshop Attendees


Stark Co ARES Meeting
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    UPDATED (Mar 12, 2011) -- The first quarter Stark Co ARES meeting was held on March 10th at the County Emergency Operations Center with 11 members and guests attending.

The meeting reviewed last years public service report in which Stark Co ARES provided communications support for eleven (11) scheduled community events and one county-wide emergency drill. This was an increase of 30% over 2009. These events totaled over 600 hours of community service. 

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to the following individuals for their exceptional public service spirit during 2010;  Mike Palmer - KD8ENV; Igor Nikishin - K8INN; Tom Gill - KC8QOD; Dale Storey - KB8LWP; Wade Huthmacher - WD8MIU; Tom Steele - KD8JRK; Ben Davis - KD8KMQ and John Myers - KD8MQ.

Updates were reported on our Winlink Operations and our recently renewed affiliations with both Affinity Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center and the Jackson Township Fire Department.

A reminder of the Stark County Skywarn Training to be held on Thursday, March 17th beginning at 6:00 PM and the State Wide Tornado Drill the following Wednesday, March 23rd at 9:50 AM.

Activity reports from our Tuesday Night ARES net noted we had nearly 2,300 check-ins during 2010, a 7% increase over 2009. We updated our ARES Roster, currently standing at 30. As part of our normal 3 years cycle, the roster is being updated during this year.

A short report on this years Hall of Fame Festival planning currently underway with amateur radio representation again on both the Community Parade and Timken Grand Parade Committee's.

The meeting concluded at 9:00 PM.


ARES Celebrates 75th Anniversary
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

ARES 75th Anniversary Challenge Coin  (Aug 19, 2010) -- At the ARRL Board of Directors meeting in July the Board unanimously approved a motion to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the ARES. It was in September of 1935 that then ARRL Communications Manager F. E. Handy, W1BDI announced the creation of the ARRL Emergency Corps (AEC). It’s goal was “An Amateur Radio Emergency Station in Every Community!” To enlist, the amateur had to have (1) transmitting and receiving equipment suitable for emergency operation and (2) the capability to operate from auxiliary power. Quite a daunting request in those day’s of spark gap and mostly home built equipment. But the for runner of today’s modern ARES was born.  

The League is currently working on a campaign to celebrate this historic amateur radio achievement and the September Issue of QST covers the beginning of the celebration in a special Emergency Communications Issue in concert with National Preparedness Month.  

This issue covers numerous topics on public service including some great technical projects designed to enhance your ability to respond to emergencies. It also has a great story on the formation of ARES, from it’s humble beginnings to today’s modern service organization.  


Mike Corey, W5MPC - New ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager
Courtesy of the ARRL

  (Apr 19, 2010) --  The ARRL is pleased to welcome Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, to the Headquarters staff in Newington. Corey’s major responsibilities include addressing the development and implementation of an organizational disaster response plan as well as an operational continuity plan, complete with supporting procedures and training. Corey also will play an integral part in the management of ARES®, and in future negotiations with served agencies with whom ARRL shares or...Read More


2009 SET Results
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Jun 28, 2010) -- The July issue of QST includes the results of the 2009 Simulated Emergency Test (SET).

Nine Ohio Counties submitted activity reports this year and we are pleased to report that for the first time in many years Stark County ARES was included in the listings scoring 7th in Ohio with 104 points. Point values are used to rate the level of activity of the reporting county.

Thanks to Stark County ARES for participation in the 2009 SET and we hope to repeat this effort again in 2010 !.


The Branding of ARES
Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ - Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator
A Reprint From The Summer Ohio Section Journal

  (July, 6, 2010) --   If you did not go to Hamvention,  or you missed the ARES forum, you missed a Great Hamvention and an equally good ARES Forum. 

The theme of the forum was “The Branding of ARES” The Speakers were Section Manager, Frank Piper KI8GW; Mike Corey W5MPC the new Manager, Emergency Communications for the ARRL: Keith Robertory KG4UIR from the American Red Cross; and Allen Pitts W1AGP. Allen talked about how the image of ARES, and how we as ARES members need to be concerned and aware of how we are portrayed in the public eye.

Allen said that we also need to be prepared to get our message to the media when we are asked or instructed to by the Incident Commander, or the designated spokesperson. More sections are appointing ARES specific PIOs ,these PIOs arespecialists in covering PR when ARES units are deployed in an emergency or community service operation.

While general PIOs may also do this work, the entire emergency field is becoming more complex and special training is not only advisable, but also strongly encouraged. The goal of the PIO in an emergency is providing the right information, to the right people at the right time.. This person should be ready to respond when asked to by the designated PIO or incident commander telling what the job is of Ham radio is at this activity and what the operators are doing to help in the exercise or emergency. This person should send info to the ARRL as to the who, what, when, where and how. This should include pictures (if available) showing amateur radio operators in action. This info should be sent in a timely manner to the League at apitts@arrl.org, or k1sfa@arrl.org

Please remember that we, as ARES members need to be portrayed in a professional manner and that should be reflected in your dress. That does not mean that you need to be dressed in a suit, but remember that the messages you have on your hat or shirts will reflect on you, and ultimately on Amateur Radio. For further information you can get it on the ARRL website, www.arrl.org keyword PIO or call me.

Finally, this is the report for May, but I must mention the GREAT and professional job during the Severe weather and tornados that ripped through Northwestern Ohio on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6. The ARES and Skywarn groups in Erie, Huron, and Wood Counties worked professionally together and did a real service to Amateur Radio, ARES and their respective counties.

Thank you all for your professionalism.

73
Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ
SEC Ohio


Stark Co ARES Spring Meeting Recap
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 6, 2010) -- The Stark County ARES held their first quarter Spring meeting last Thursday, March 4th with 17 members and guests attending. Our program for the meeting was a presentation by Ohio's Section Emergency Coordinator Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ with District 5 EC Dave Kaltenborn, N8KBC and Art Burnett, KB8UNJ representing Mahoning County ARES. Representative from the Alliance, Canton and Massillon Radio Clubs also attended.

Jack's program covered several topics including the importance of ARES and was very appreciative of Stark County's dedication to public service. He also covered the ARRL's current proposal to enhance ARES volunteers by requesting that they go to a standardized vest to be worn during public service activities. This caused some concern by those attending. You can read the League's full comments by clicking here.

Assistant EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ then covered several business items including a short review of last years public service activities, a recap of the ARES District 10 training meeting in Lake County, and the status of our Winlink program. The group was reminded of the upcoming Skywarn Spotter Training and the Statewide Tornado Test being held this month.

A report was given on last years Tuesday night ARES Net, plus some news on the revised MOU with the American Red Cross. Planning meetings are already underway for this years Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival with Amateur Radio and ARES expected to play a large role in this years parades.

The meeting concluded at 9:00 PM with our special thanks to Jack Sovik for attending our meeting. Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 3rd also at the Stark County Emergency Operations Center. 


The Commercialism of Amateur Radio
Courtesy of the ARRL

    (Oct 3, 2009) --  On Friday, September 25th the ARRL released their statement of the Commercialization of Amateur Radio. I suggest each of you visit the ARRL website, and read this important document. In short, there is no change in FCC part 97 covering the use of Amateur Radio and pecuniary interest. This document describes the topic in greater detail.

In the past few weeks, I and Section Emergency Coordinator Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ have been approached regarding Amateur Radio Groups and donations made by organizations. Jack took this matter to the league, and Dan Henderson, N1ND, ARRL Regulatory Information Manger, gave us permission to post his reply via this e-mail:

"This type of question generally comes up in conjunction of
organizations wanting to make a donation to the ham group for providing public service communications - such as the Walk-a-Thon organizers making a $100 donation to the club for providing communications for their Walk-a-Thon.

This is a very grey and dangerous area...  There can not be a quid pro quo - that is any kind of arrangement/agreement/understanding between the two groups that amounts to a "if the hams do this we will make a donation to the ham club."  Ham clubs should not be trying to raise money by doing public service communications. If the group they help wants to make a donation after the fact, well and good, but it can not be part of the discussions in arranging for the hams to participate and it can not be an expectation of the club to receive an honorarium of any kind.

The second time this gets asked is generally when a group offers things like T-shirts, etc to the ham volunteers.  Again, this is an area that needs to be carefully considered.  If everyone who is volunteering to help is getting a volunteer t-shirt, that is incidental and the FCC is not going to be too concerned about it.  But it can't be an arrangement where the ham group asks the organization to provide t-shirts for its volunteers as part of their agreement to work with them.  Again, the hams need to be doing their communications function with no strings or expectations attached.  The same things with food for example - if they are feeding all volunteers, then the hams are ok, but the club can't request/expect meals as part of their agreement to participate.

The third time this often arises is when an organization wants to compensate the amateur for out-of-pocket expenses.  It is permissible to accept real out-of-pocket reimbursements.  For example, gas money if you are driving a Walk-a-Thon route as the "sag wagon" is ok, but only reasonable amounts to cover the costs.  A $50 "gas payment" if you only drove 10-miles would not be ok.  During Katrina we had a problem with this in particular.  We had funds to reimburse amateurs for travel expenses to and from the scene, which was permissible - but we had many who would not accept it because they perceived it as "payment" for services in stead of reimbursement for expenses.

The amateurs need to be mindful not only of the letter of the rule here, but the intent of it as well, along with the public perception.

Hope this helps...

73's

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Regulatory Information Manager
ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio(tm)"

Frank Piper, KI8GW
Ohio Section Manager


Amateur Radio: An Emergency Communications Service ?
Jim Weaver, K8JE ARRL Great Lakes Director

    (Nov 29, 2009) -- FCC's statement that Amateur Radio is not an emergency communication service created furor among a number of amateurs.  They heatedly insist Amateur Radio is an emergency communication service.  I understand what they are saying, but I disagree with them.  To call the great service we love and enjoy an EmComm service short changes it.  Ham radio is much more than an EmComm service.

The basis and purpose of Amateur Radio as the FCC lists them in Part 97 are:

"97.1 Basis and purpose . . . fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

"(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary, non-commercial communications service particularly with respect in providing emergency communications.

"(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to
contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

"(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

"(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio
service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

"(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to
enhance international goodwill."

Section 97.1 identifies four purposes for Amateur Radio.  Only one of these relates to EmComm.  By definition, Amateur Radio is more than an EmComm service.  Realizing this fact does not detract from ham radio as an important provider of emergency communication support to the public.  It merely allows us to realize the broader value FCC places on our service.


ARES Report From Dayton
Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ - Section Emergency Coordinator

   (Jul 3, 2009) -- Hamvention® is over, the flea market is empty, the vendors are gone, and the forum rooms are empty until next year. If you attended, I hope it went well for you. If not, try to make it next year.

Speaking of forums, I was honored to moderate the ARES forum at this year’s Hamvention. The topic was "The Maturing of ARES since 911 and Katrina."

The planning of this forum started back in January. Thanks to Section Manager, Joe Phillips, K8QOE, three of the best-qualified speakers were recruited to help make this a dynamite forum. They were Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts SEC, NWS Skywarn Coordinator, and Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net; Charlie Miller, AE4UX, South Carolina SEC, and South Carolina State RACES Officer; and Greg Sarratt, N4QZK, Director for the Southeastern Division, and Alabama Section Manager. Greg served as field manager for the ARRL Hurricane Katrina/Rita relief effort. NOW IS THAT A PANEL OR WHAT?

We knew there would be a lot of questions and answers. So to do this the three speakers spoke on the subject for 10 minutes, and the remainder of the time was for questions from the forum attendees.

Each speaker told the attendees, in their own way, how emergency communications have changed during their times of crisis weather it be ice storms in Massachusetts, hurricanes in Alabama, or the recent fires in South Carolina. One thing remained, THINGS CHANGED!

Modes have changed; logistics have changed. The one thing that remained was the professionalism of the amateur radio operator—the fine jobs they did when needed, and the fine jobs they will do when the next test is given.

The forum was then opened up to questions, and they came. Questions were asked on liability, procedures, MOU’s, logistics, and the need for assistance from other sections during an emergency.

I am sure all the attendees came away with some ideas of what was done during some very trying times and how they can apply these ideas to their own counties, districts, or sections.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Hamvention Forum Committee Chairman, Todd Collins N2TUN, and his staff for giving us a great time slot for the forum. Special thanks go to our speakers Rob, Charlie, and Greg and to SM, Joe Phillips, for his good judgment.

Finally, I want to thank all of the attendees for filling up the room and making this forum a great one. See you next year!


Ohio Section Emergency Conference 
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Apr 19, 2008) --  The Ohio Section ARES Conference was held on Saturday, March 29th with over 100 ARES representatives attending from 33 of Ohio ’s counties. Representing Stark County ARES was Assistant EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ and our Winlink Technical Director Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ.  

The conference featured reports from Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Piper, KI8GW and included reports from all nine of Ohio ’s ARES Districts as well as reports from Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips , K8QOE and State Government Liaison Nick Pittner, WB8TMF who updated the conference attendees on the progress on an Ohio type PRB-1 legislation.  

Ohio is very active in public service as reported by Frank. During 2007 ARES volunteers provided over 13,000 hours of public service work including 2,706 hours of actual emergency activation time, and 28,777 hours of Nets, Drills and Training for a total of 44,592 hours spent by ARES volunteers across the Ohio Section. These are impressive statistics that put Ohio in the top ten ARES active states in the nation.

The state of Ohio's Digital Communications was covered by Ohio's Section Traffic Manager John Tipka, W8UL  who reported on the progress made in Ohio's Winlink Initiative as well as the National Traffic System. Additional programs were given by Karl Erbland, K8ARL that covered working with Regional Medical Response Systems (RMRS) and how we can increase our effectiveness as Emergency Communicators.  

Complete details on the conference are currently posted on the Ohio ARES website at www.ohioares.org.


Stark ARES Meeting Notes  
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 8, 2008) -- The Stark County ARES held their first quarter meeting last Thursday, March 6th at the Stark Co Emergency Operations Center with 16 members and guests attending.

The meeting opened with a round of introductions followed by a presentation by EMA Director Tim Warstler and Assistant Director Rick Webber. Tim welcomed the group to the EOC expressing his appreciation for our continued assistance to his office. Tim also discussed Stark ARES assisting his office in providing additional communications support. This would involve additional training in the operation of the county commercial radio center. Our extensive background and communications training would be of great value to his office during emergency operations. We have agreed to review this request and County EC Dave Beltz is currently reviewing the ARES roster and seeking qualified candidates to assist with this new initiative.

The remainder of the meeting covered several topics including background of the ARES  structure in Ohio, an update of Winlink operation in Stark County and additional details of the March Skywarn Spotter training on March 19th.

ARES Registration was also covered during the meeting. Existing ARES registrations is over 5 years old and we are looking for volunteers to serve on a committee to update our registration database. Contact Assistant EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ to volunteer with this effort.

The operation of the ARES Tuesday night net was discussed covering some changes to its operation. We would also like to begin early planning on participating in this years ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) which will be held the weekend of October 4 & 5.

Certificates of Merit were issued to the following individuals for their continued support of Stark County ARES. They were, Igor Nikishin - K8INN, Dan Anastis - N8DZM, Wade Huthmacher - WD8MIU, Jason Stroll - KC8LIN, Rodger Trompower - KA8FTS, Ralph Bugg - K8HSQ, Tom Gill - KC8QOD, Don Finley - W8DEF and Linda Finley - K8MOO. A special Certificate of Merit was issued to Net Manager Mike Lackney - KB8MIB for his tireless efforts in running our Tuesday Net.

The meeting concluded setting a date of Thursday, June 12th for our next meeting at a location to be determined at a later date.


ARES Teams Activated for Northwest Ohio Near-Record Flooding
Courtesy of the ARRL

(Aug 24, 2007) -- Heavy rains over the past week began taking their toll on Northwest Ohio communities, as near record flood levels peaked on Wednesday. Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 was especially hard-hit in the Hancock and Seneca County areas, and a command post at the Seneca County Emergency Operations Center was activated.    Full Story


Revised District Layout For Ohio
Frank Piper, KI8GW - Section Emergency Coordinator

  (Nov 24, 2006) --  After almost six months of review, SEC Frank Piper, KI8GW, along with all the District EC's in the Ohio Section have agreed on a new district layout for the Section. This new district layout (listed below) allows the Ohio ARES to better serve the Ohio Citizen Corps and the Regional Medical Response System, along with all of their served agencies. This new plan also preserves Skywarn reporting plans, as well as being in agreement with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), maintaining 8 to 11 counties per District Emergency Coordinator.

This plan is being posted for general review. Unless there any major problems, this plan will be announced as final and effective. beginning January 2007. 

Stark County will remain in District 5 under DEC Jack Sovik - KB8WPZ which under the revised redistricting structure moved Cuyahoga & Medina Counties to other Districts and added Columbiana, Carroll & Tuscarawas Counties for a total of eleven Counties now in District 5.

The entire proposed new District structure is currently posed on the Ohio SEC website at http://www.iarc.ws/ohio/SEC/default.htm.


ARES Adapting After 911 Attack
Joe Phillips, K8QOE - Ohio Section Manager

(Dec 7, 2006) -- Some vintage words of wisdom do not always work out. For example - the more things change; the more they stay the same. But these wise words are not working in America's post 9/11-post Katrina era. Our ARES program is living proof.

The role of amateur radio in disaster relief has changed substantially the past five years, and every indication is that these changes are permanent. Yet Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Piper, KI8GW, keeps running into hams who refuse to accept this. Two areas of concern, Frank finds, seem to be increased emphasis on specific training (the ICS courses for example) and served agencies requests for background checks on volunteers (most notable the American Red Cross). Now SEC Frank tells me in a year or two we will look back at this resistance by some and "chuckle about how insignificant these concerns were". Sure hope he is right.

But for now these anxieties about training and background checks are at the epicenter of two major but competing dilemmas - the one about served agencies worried about the trust of volunteers working sensitive positions against real concerns of those volunteers about identity theft.

The Red Cross request for background checks is simply a response to reports that during Katrina relief their investigations found suspected sex offenders in charge of shelters and convicted felons handling money. Asking for a background check of proposed volunteers (actually far less information than a credit card application) does seem reasonable.

But when identity theft victims make the evening news, the concern of some becomes a reality ARES leadership must deal with. The SEC is asking for everyone to take a deep breath and read the fine print. "When you have a problem about served agencies like the Red Cross seeking information, call yourself and ask agency officials what exactly do they want," he suggested. "What you will often find is that the information request is not as intrusive as you may have imagined."

Everyone is waiting until we return to the good old days; no terrorists; no airport screening; no background checks; no need to be on guard against the unknown. The simple times. The 9/11 attacks on America changed that.

The above was reprinted from the Winter Edition of the Ohio Section Journal by permission.


Ohio SEC Appoints New District 5 DEC
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (July 4, 2006) -- Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator, Frank Piper - KI8GW has appointed a new District Emergency Coordinator (DEC) for the Fifth Emergency District that includes Stark County.

Jack Sovik - KB8WPZ of Youngstown (Mahoning County) currently an AEC for Mahoning County was appointed DEC for District 5 that includes; Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull Counties.

Jack succeeds the late Jim Miller - K8EIO (SK). Jim also serves the ARRL as a Public Information Officer (PIO), Official Observer (OO), Volunteer Examiner (VE), and Official Emergency Station (OES). He is also the Vice-President of the Mahoning ARC. He is a graduate of the ARRL EmComm Level 3 as well as FEMA's IS Courses 100, 200, 700 and 800.


Frank Piper - KI8GW New Ohio SEC
Courtesy of the ARRL Section Manager Joe Phillips

  UPDATED June 2, 2006(May 16, 2006) -- He has been known for running ham radio communications for the Columbus Marathon and TOSRV - Tour of Scioto River Valley, a multi-county bicycle event. Now Frank Piper, KI8GW, former District Emergency Coordinator for District Seven, on June 1 will officially become Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC).

Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, today made the announcement.  The Section Manager is making good on a promise to appoint a new SEC before the 2006 Dayton Hamvention. "Those participating in SEC search process gave me numerous suggestions on expanding Ohio ARES," said Section Manager Phillips, "these suggestions will go to Frank for his consideration."

Frank, who resides in Fairfield County east of Columbus, will succeed SEC John Chapman, WB8INY, who announced his resignation at the April 22 ARES Ohio Section Conference. John, who is starting a new business, said the time required for this venture just was taking too much time away from his ability to run the ARES program. 

"The Ohio ARES program has a solid foundation formed by great people within the Section," said Frank on accepting the challenge, "I wish to continue John's vision of ARES in the Ohio." He pledged to expand the growing the ARES program and continue the model program that our served agencies will continue to rely on during times of need. 

John and Frank will meet with Ohio ARES officials, beginning with The Dayton Hamvention, on the transfer of command. "I have worked with Frank for a number of years," said Mr. Chapman, "the Ohio Section is lucky to have him as SEC, and everyone should look forward to him moving the ARES program to new heights."

Mr. Piper has been running emergency programs for the ARRL for the past ten years. He was named assistant EC for Central Ohio in 1997, serving as bulletin editor, pubic service events manager and net manager. Frank became Franklin County EC in 2002 and DEC for District Seven in November 2003. While EC, Frank developed the Franklin County EMA Volunteer Coordinating Committee. He is a graduate of all three EMCOMM courses and is a certified instructor and certified examiner for the program. 

The new SEC is professionally a systems programmer for Diamond Power International of Lancaster. His and his wife, Jackie, KC8ESO, have a daughter, Hanna, and reside in Pickerington. Beside ham radio, Frank enjoys computers, automobiles and is a First Degree Black Belt on Okinawan Karate. 

Section Manager Phillips, on the announcement of Mr. Chapman's resignation, began a three week search process. The original list of SEC candidates that developed started with 22 Ohio hams. Four finalist were given individual interviews. Mr. Piper and the other three finalists were informed of the decision Sunday.

Frank's introduction letter to all Ohio ARES members can be read by clicking here.


What Is The ARES  ?


                             The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

1.1 ARES Organization

There are four levels of ARES organization--national, section, district and local. National emergency coordination at ARRL Headquarters is under the supervision of the ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager, who is responsible for advising all ARES officials regarding their problems, maintaining contact with federal government and other national officials concerned with amateur emergency communications potential, and in general with carrying out the League's policies regarding emergency communications.

1.2 Section Level

At the section level, the Section Emergency Coordinator is appointed by the Section Manager (who is elected by the ARRL members in his or her section) and works under his/her supervision. In most sections, the SM delegates to the SEC the administration of the section emergency plan and the authority to appoint District and local ECs. Some of the ARRL sections with capable SECs are well-organized. A few have scarcely any organization at all. It depends almost entirely on who the section members have put into office as SM and whom he/she has appointed as SEC.

1.3 Local Level

It is at the local level where most of the real emergency organizing gets accomplished, because this is the level at which most emergencies occur and the level at which ARES leaders make direct contact with the ARES member-volunteers and with officials of the agencies to be served. The local EC is therefore the key contact in the ARES. The EC is appointed by the SEC, usually on the recommendation of the DEC. Depending on how the SEC has set up the section for administrative purposes, the EC may have jurisdiction over a small community or a large city, an entire county or even a group of counties. Whatever jurisdiction is assigned, the EC is in charge of all ARES activities in his area, not just one interest group, one agency, one club or one band.

1.4 District Level

In the large sections, the local groups could proliferate to the point where simply keeping track of them would be more than a full-time chore, not to mention the idea of trying to coordinate them in an actual emergency. To this end, SECs have the option of grouping their EC jurisdictions into logical units or "districts" and appointing a District EC to coordinate the activities of the local ECs in the district. In some cases, the districts may conform to the boundaries of governmental planning or emergency-operations districts, while in others they are simply based on repeater coverage or geographical boundaries. 

1.5 Assistant ECs

Special-interest groups are headed up by Assistant Emergency Coordinators, designated by the EC to supervise activities of groups operating in certain bands, especially those groups which play an important role at the local level, but they may be designated in any manner the EC deems appropriate.

The ARRL has an emergency communications web page containing a wealth of information that you may find useful. You can find it at http://www.arrl.com/field/emergency  Be sure to check it out.

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Local Level Organizational Structure

Ohio falls under the coordination of Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Piper, KI8GW who is directly responsible for all ARES operations in all 88 counties. The state is further broken down into nine districts and each district is overseen by a District Emergency Coordinator (DEC). Stark County is located in district 5, who also has responsibility over Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Mahoning, Medina, Summit and Trumbull Counties. Individual counties also have Emergency Coordinators (EC's) who are in charge of all ARES activities within their county. David Beltz, WD8AYE is our local EC and is assisted by Terry Russ, N8ATZ our Assistant Emergency Coordinator.

Local level coordinators are responsible to maintain close alliance with local public service agencies as well as provide a contingent of qualified amateur radio operators to participate in various local ARES activities, including any public service events occurring within the county, Red Cross activation and Skywarn Spotter operations.

No facet of the Amateur Radio Service plays so important a roll in community service as does the ARES. If you are a licensed Amateur Radio operator in Ohio, we encourage you to become an active member of your local ARES organization. We would also encourage you to participate in the new Emergency Communications Courses being offered by the ARRL. For the first time ever, regardless of geographic location or education level, hams can attain a standard level of basic emergency communications training from this course. Students who complete the ARRL's course, Level 1: Introduction to Emergency Communications, will earn a certification and ID card for each of its 3 parts.

Amateur involvement in emergency communications is constantly evolving. Professional Public Servants are constantly in training, learning new skills and refreshing existing ones. Amateur Radio ARES volunteers must do the same if we are to remain an integral part of community disaster plans. This is even more important as newly licensed hams enter the realm of emergency communications. Community officials are expecting ham operators to remain qualified, trained and professional if we are to continue to provide ARES communications to our local communities. The ARRL Emergency Communications Courses are one way to achieve this goal. It is hoped that during 2002 the courses will be available in person, perhaps sponsored by local ARES Coordinators. In the mean time additional details are available from the ARRL at:  http://www.arrl.org/cce

The subject of training is an important issue. The events of September 11th demonstrated the need for experienced operators in the event of an actual emergency. Interaction between amateur operators and local public safety forces requires experienced, professionally trained individuals who have both the training and discipline to represent the ARES with a strong, positive presence. The day may come when we are organized with a multi-tier ARES structure. Those Front Line Responders would be responsible for direct interaction with community leaders and public safety forces while others would have support roles during training exercises or real emergency situations. These amateurs would be selected from those who have obtained additional training and experience.

There are several good training programs available to amateur operators involved in the ARES.

(A)    The new ARRL Emergency Communications On-Line courses. While registration fees are high ($70.00 for non ARRL members and $40.00 for members), these are excellent entry level training programs. Each course - Level I, II, and III offer training from basic emergency communications to more advanced emergency communications concepts. An outline of each course is detailed below. Perhaps area radio clubs would be willing to underwrite part of the cost of these courses in order to generate interest in these programs. We hope at some time in the near future to be able to offer these courses locally in conjunction with our quarterly VEC testing sessions.

(B)    The American Red Cross. Basic First Aid, Life Support and Disaster Assessment are but a few of the many fine training programs available through the Red Cross. 

(C)    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA's Emergency Management Institute provides self paced courses designed for both the general public and people who have emergency management responsibilities. Don Finley - W8DEF has taken several of these courses and can provide information on courses available. You can also apply on-line and get additional information at EMI's website at http://www.fema.gov/emi/index.htm 

Of course obtaining training is one thing. It is also very important that you notify you local ARES coordinators of any training you receive so that we are aware of your current skill level. We hope to develop an extensive database of all amateurs in Stark County who receive some type of training so that if an emergency does occur, we will have the necessary information available to us when requesting volunteers.

    Click Here for a selection of excellent ARRL Training Manuals as well as an outline of the ARRL Emergency Communications Online Courses.

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ARES and Anderson Power Pole Connectors

     The Anderson PowerPole Connector is quickly becoming the defacto standard dc power connector for use by ARES groups around the country and the reason is simple. Using this standard, highly reliable connector allows for quick and easy installation and substitution of radio equipment, power supplies, batteries, and other equipment..

Why is this an advantage ? The biggest reason is that it allows us to standardize the power connectors on our equipment, both HF and VHF. In a time critical situation such as during an ARES drill, public service exercise or a real emergency, amateurs are called upon to quickly setup and establish communications in all sorts of places. This often requires using a portable or mobile radio that must be tied into a 12 volt source. Many times we are asked to supply our own equipment for an event which further complicates the task, different radio manufacturers utilize different power connectors. If your shack is like mine, the removal of one of my radios is a major undertaking, involving separating the supply wire from the mass of wires twisted to the terminals of my power supply. How much simpler it would be if all we had to do was unplug the radio, not having to disturb lots of other wiring. Running an efficient local ARES operation requires us to be able to respond quickly to a given situation, being able to setup our equipment and get down to business.

The Anderson PowerPole connectors can virtually eliminate these types of problems. They have long been used in commercial service for just that reason. Their highly conductive silver-plated copper contacts allow minimal contact resistance at high currents. Self-wiping action on make and break keeps conducting surfaces clean. Contact detents keep connectors mated in high-vibration applications and provide quick-break, snap action upon disconnect. Noncorrosive stainless-steel leaf springs maintain constant contact pressure - ideal for frequent connection/disconnections and intermittent overloading. Durable, high impact-resistant polycarbonate housings that are UL Flame rated are genderless, making assembly quick and easy. All important considerations for ARES work. 

Amateurs are being encouraged to utilize these connectors on all their equipment, both for home use and on portable equipment. Price is only about $1.00 per radio to connect. A great way to use these connectors at home is by a new connector block from West Mountain Radio called the Rigrunner. This multiple outlet box is equipped with powerpole connectors providing the ultimate in convenience and safety for your shack. There are several models to choose from, each with more connection points. More expensive models also have LED's to give you a visual indication of power. All come with standard type ATC/ATO automotive style fuses available in numerous current ratings.

Additional information is available from a number of websites, some of which are shown below. The manufacturer is Anderson Power Products although they are generally available at nearly all hamfests. Reference material is provided on West Mountain Radio's website which is also the source for the Rigrunner. Other information is shown on the RACES website.  

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QST Honors ARECC Level III Achievers

Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Mar 13, 2006) -- The March edition of the ARRL's Magazine QST currently lists the ARRL Emergency Communications Course Honor Roll. In it they honor those Amateurs from around the country that have passed all three ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses (Levels I, II, and III) through the end of 2005.

Several local amateurs are listed from here in Stark County and we offer our thanks and congratulations to the following amateurs for achieving Level III status and hope more will follow in 2006.

They are:  N8ATZ-Terry Russ, W8DEF-Don Finley, WA8GXM-James Farriss, KD8JN-Randy Phelps, K8MOO-Linda Finley and K8RLS-Robert Steele. 

All are members of the Massillon Amateur Radio Club except Bob - K8RLS who is a member of the Alliance ARC. 

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Report From The Annual Ohio Section ARES Conference

(Apr 24, 2006) --  Assistant Emergency Coordinator Terry Russ - N8ATZ and Winlink Technical Director Ralph Bugg - K8HSQ attended the annual Ohio Section ARES Conference last Saturday, April 22nd at the Ohio Emergency Management Agency in Columbus. 

The meeting was hosted by ARRL Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips - K8QOE with Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator John Chapman - WB8INY moderating this years meeting. Nearly 60 ARES Coordinators attended the conference representing over 22 counties throughout Ohio. 

The opening report was also the most unexpected as SEC John Chapman - WB8INY announced his resignation effective June 1, 2006. John cited business concerns as his major reason for stepping down though he will still maintain his liaison with local governmental groups in emergency matters, most notably the Ohio Citizen Corps. Section Manager Joe Phillips expressed his understanding and hopes to have a new SEC appointed by the Dayton Hamvention.

Other business covered at the meeting included a report from the ARRL National Response Planning Committee (NRPC). The committee is currently reviewing the current ARES program for a possible update to the current ARES structure. This may include the creation of Assistant District Emergency Coordinator as well as Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator. They are also working on the creation of the National Response Database, a detailed listing of seasoned ARES volunteers that could be called upon during a National Emergency. They are also exploring the possibility of establishing the ARRL as an Non-Government Organization (NGO), a structure similar to the American Red Cross.

Another topic covered was a possible restructuring of Ohio's nine ARES Districts down to eight. This proposed plan will more closely follow the Ohio Homeland Security plan as well as the Ohio Citizen Corps. This would make for a more uniform response to area emergencies as we would all be working from the same geographic districting concept.

With Public Service the theme for this years Dayton Hamvention it was announced that the traditional ARES Forum would be expanded to include two, 2 hour meetings. Several other meetings would cover several aspects in public service over the entire weekend. The full agenda is currently posted on the Dayton Hamvention website.

The next topic covered the Ohio Citizen Corps and the new State & Local programs. One such program, "the Volunteer Reception Center", a planned process to integrate unaffiliated/spontaneous volunteers in disaster response & recovery operations. It is expected that amateur radio operators would play a strong role in the operation of these centers.

SEC John Chapman again noted that due to heightened security concerns, local ARES volunteers may one day soon be required to maintain a basic background security check to provide communications assistance to county installations like Emergency Operations Centers, etc. They may also be required to have certification to FEMA Disaster Courses. This may include IS-100, IS-200 and IS-700 covering introduction to disaster communications and standard NIMS training.

There were group discussions on several topics including how ARES & Emcomm need to evolve for future response to community emergencies.

The Winlink 2000 Emergency Communications program is progressing albeit slowly in many areas throughout Ohio. County ARES groups are still being encouraged to pursue this communications initiative.

The last discussion item for the conference involved the future of the ARRL ARES program itself. If we are to gain acceptance among commercial public safety departments can we continue to call ourselves the "Amateur" Radio Emergency Service ? Is it time to consider a name change to remove the stigma we continue to operate by or is it that difference that properly defines our role in emergency communications ?  

The conference concluded at about 4:00 PM.


Contesting - A Valuable Tool ? 

   The following is a short commentary from Joe Puett, N5QYC, ARES District Emergency Coordinator; Harrison, Arkansas.

Many times over the last several years I have heard others say that contests have no place or value in Amateur Radio. Where else can you evaluate your station effectiveness and your personal operating skills in a stressful situation that best simulates the duration and complexity of an emergency ?

Where other than during a contest are you put into a situation where your Effectiveness, Accuracy and Stamina are tested ?

Where and in what way can you effectively test your antenna selection and equipment effectiveness with varied band conditions and propagation variations within a limited time ?

Where can you get a numeric value (Score) of your effectiveness, and then compare previous efforts and future effectiveness ?

The only place within Amateur Radio where these questions can be answered is during a radio contest, where your skills and operating setup can be field tested under live action conditions. I would rather contest in my chosen mode of operation, where I can learn what I need to know, than be put into the fire untrained and untested in an Emergency situation.


2004 Simulated Emergency Test Results
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Jul 4, 2005) -- The July issue of QST Magazine has posted the results of the 2004 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) and once again the Ohio Section has made the top ten list placing 5th overall with 2,157 points and 4th in Section/Local Nets with 907 points.

The SET is a nationwide exercise in emergency communications. Both the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) are involved. SET gives amateur radio operators the chance to focus on their emergency communications capability and it's interaction with served agencies while testing operator skills and emergency equipment.

October 1 and 2, 2005 is the main weekend for this years SET exercise and your local coordinators are reviewing ideas for this years participation.


2003 ARES Registration Update
Terry Russ, N8ATZ, Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Jan 8, 2003) --  During 2002 we made a strong effort to update Stark County's ARES Registration information. Long overdue, the last time this information was gathered many of you were not even licensed yet. In an effort to collect more accurate information, a newly designed registration form was developed that incorporated the type of information that would prove useful in today's ARES program. Especially important to us was to keep track of additional training/education that is especially important today. This new form was officially introduced at last years Multi-Club meeting and again during Skywarn training in March.

Since then the results have been reviewed, sorted and studied and have been incorporated into a Microsoft Access database program. This has allowed us to review and easily update the records when necessary. We are happy to announce that as of January 1st, there are 45 registered ARES volunteers in the database. During 2003 we hope to add more names to that list. But just as important, is keeping the existing records up-to-date. Amateurs move, upgrade, change callsigns, etc. One way to maintain accurate records is to periodically complete a new ARES registration form. Another way could be to have all the registration records available on this website. Ideally, you could call up your own record and make any updates necessary, submit the changes and the record would update itself. This is possible and we are looking into this sometime later this year. For now, the current condensed ARES registration listing is available on our registration page. 

In the mean time, please use the link to the right under the ARES News section to download a registration form anytime you would like to update your record. Send it to me upon completion and we will update you record. This way we can continue to keep our information current. This is the only we to keep a strong ARES program, something we are dedicated to providing. I want to thank you all in advance for your continued support of Stark County ARES, your community benefits from our services everyday !


"ARESCOM" Plan To Enhance Emergency Communications
Terry Russ, N8ATZ, Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Jul 20, 2004) --  The Board adopted a resolution encouraging further development and expansion of an inaugural network to enhance the emergency communications capability of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). The Board had designated an ad hoc committee, dubbed "ARESCOM," to develop an augmented ARES telecommunications system that would include rapid and accurate handling of long-range emergency communications between states, nationally and internationally. ARESCOM recommended deployment of a digital e-mail system based on Winlink 2000 software.

The Board's motion encouraged the deployment of e-mail via Amateur Radio--as exemplified by Winlink 2000--"as an additional emergency capability provided to agencies served by ARES."

In its report, the committee said situations arise when ARES must "pass message traffic across the nation quickly and accurately," and it said the need for such a nationwide capability within ARES is likely to increase in light of the ARRL's Citizen Corps partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.

A two-part series appearing in the August and September 2004 issues of QST, "Winlink for ARES," by ARRL South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Reimer, KK5CA, outlines an enhanced ARES network that would include e-mail capability over HF links. Winlink 2000--a worldwide Amateur Radio digital radio e-mail system--already is widely used by the blue water boating and recreational vehicle communities to pass e-mail around the world.

"The momentum is moving strongly in favor of our recommended digital message source," said the report of the committee, chaired by Great Lakes Division Vice Director Dick Mondro, W8FQT.

Members of the ARRL Programs and Services Committee witnessed a Winlink 2000 demonstration at ARRL Headquarters the day before the board meeting. ARESCOM said it wants to adapt the already-proven communications network to meet the needs of served agencies and other organizations involved in providing disaster communications.

"The digital network will provide a value-added service for ARES and will continue to be viewed very positively by our served agencies," the committee said in its report. "This allows ARES to be viewed as modern and necessary instead of antiquated and invasive."

The ARRL Board extended the committee's charter until its January 2005 meeting so ARESCOM can complete an implementation plan that ensures that ARES has "the prominent role" in managing the national network and that ARES officials at all levels as well as appropriate ARRL Headquarters staffers have an opportunity to formally critique the network's operation to ensure it meets the requirements of ARES and its served agencies.

In addition, Winlink 2000 technical experts are to "positively address the results and findings of this critique," ARESCOM will develop a plan "to assure timely upgrading of the network as new technologies emerge and future ARES requirements evolve" and it will complete necessary negotiations and agreements to assure ARRL access to the Winlink 2000 software.

The Board praised ARESCOM for exceeding its expectations by demonstrating a working network that implements the basic capabilities of the comprehensive program it had requested. It also commended the committee's members for their "efforts and expertise" in inaugurating the system.

 

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