Thanks for your interest in ARES of Champaign County!
service/emergency communication is one of the foundations of amateur
radio, and can be both fun and fulfilling. ARES is part of the
Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) field organization. It is
composed of licensed amateur radio operators who have registered their
equipment and capabilities to volunteer for public service and
emergency communications. You do not need to be a member of
the ARRL to be a member of ARES.
ARES provides communications support to what are called
“served agencies”. These are typically
agencies with which ARES has an established memorandum of
understanding. In Champaign County, our served agencies are the Central
Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross-Champaign and the Champaign
Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA). The National Weather
Service is indirectly one of our served agencies, as many ARES members
are trained storm spotters and work in conjunction with CCEMA during
severe weather situations. We also provide communications for
public service events, such as walk-a-thons, to any governmental or
non-profit group with such a need. In times of
emergency ARES members set up and operate base stations at shelters,
command posts, emergency operations centers, agency headquarters,
hospitals, and the like providing communications among the various
agencies and their officials out in the field.
Training has always been an important component of ARES
membership. The training for our members is designed to
familiarize them with the needs of our served agencies, improve skills
as radio communicators, and help promote and maintain a
“team” concept among members. In the post 9/11 era,
training is even more critical. Emergency managers are
unwilling to use untrained volunteers. We offer our members
training in basic emergency communications, the incident command
structure, severe storm spotting, training from the Red Cross, and
other topics and areas as necessary. In the past our members
have received training in such things as ground search and rescue,
hazardous materials awareness, and earthquake awareness.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BECOME A MEMBER OF ARES?
Please read the “Expectations” section
below. Our purpose is not to just add names to a membership
list – we are looking for people who are interested in public
service and emergency communications and will be active
members. Whether your ham radio interests are in HF, digital,
or VHF/UHF communications, ARES is a great way to use your skills and
expertise, or to gain additional experience.
Complete the ARES Registration form, and return it to the Emergency
Coordinator (contact information below). You will also need
to provide a “head and shoulders” photo (digital or
regular) for your I.D. card. You will then be provided with
an ID card, vehicle placards identifying you as an ARES operator, a
copy of the Emergency Operations Plan, and a membership list.
You will also be added to the ARES email list and receive a monthly
“newsletter” with information about ARES in
Champaign County. All ARES members are also encouraged to
become members of RACES.
ARES of Champaign County also assesses dues, when necessary, to help
support the operations of the group. These are decided on and
collected at the beginning of the calendar year. Newly
enrolled members are not required to pay dues for the calendar year in
which they register.
As a registered member of ARES, you are expected to:
- Have or obtain the necessary equipment to
enable you to effectively participate as an emergency communicator
(minimally a dual-band H-T or mobile radio).
- Participate in any required or necessary
training, refresher training, and drills
- Attend as many monthly meetings as possible
(first Wednesday of the month). These are generally when
training sessions are offered.
- Participate in the weekly ARES radio net when
- Participate in public service events when able.
Since true emergencies rarely occur, these events provide
good opportunities for training in an operational situation.
Complete the registration form and return it to Steve Hilberg N9XDC,