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ARES Provides Emergency Communications Services During a Crisis

ARES, or Amateur Radio Emergency Services, is the function of the Amateur Radio Relay League Field Organization which coordinates ham radio responses as communicators in disaster situations and public service events. Local ARES units are formed at the county level led by an appointed volunteer Emergency Coordinator. A ham radio license is required for ARES membership, as is a registration form listing contact information and band / mode capabilities. This form is available from the Emergency Coordinator. There are no fees or dues; nor is club membership required.

All hams may participate by volunteering their time and the use of their radio equipment for ARES activities. Currently almost all of our local activities use VHF / UHF FM; so hams with any class of license can participate.

Locally, ARES is sponsored by the Forsyth Amateur Radio Club which allows the use of the club’s repeaters and some of the club’s equipment for ARES needs.

Our primary disaster service partners are the American Red Cross and Winston Salem / Forsyth County Emergency Management (EMA). We participate in training exercises with them, and in communications emergencies can be activated to serve in their responses. When activated we will provide backup communications in Red Cross shelters when they are opened and may provide EMA with additional communications support as well as eyes in the field.

Take a look at our 2017 Field Day event at ReadyFORSYTH’s Facebook page.

The Winston-Salem Journal also had an article about the 2017 Field Day event.

Forsyth County ARES supports major public service events such as the two-day Tour to Tanglewood Bike MS event. Hams are stationed at rest areas, in event support vehicles and at the event command post to provide point-to-point communications and coordination.

The Forsyth County ARES Net meets each Thursday evening at 8:30 PM local time on the 145.47 (Tone 100 hz) repeater for practice in directed net procedures and training topics relevant to disaster response and public service communications. All amateurs are invited to participate in the nets.

For more information on becoming an Amateur Radio Operator and/or to join ARES, check into one of the ARES nets or contact the Emergency Coordinator at a Forsyth Amateur Radio Club meeting or by email at fcares.w1hrc@gmail.com. The club meets every 2nd Monday at 7:30 pm at the American Red Cross, 690 Coliseum Drive NW, Winston-Salem.  Testing for amateur radio license starts at 6:30 pm on meeting nights.  Forsyth Amateur Radio Club website: http://www.w4nc.com

— Submitted to ReadyFORSYTH by Harlan Cobert, Forsyth ARES Emergency Coordinator

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