An Open Letter to ARES Volunteers

This letter is from Bob Turner, W6RHK, ARRL Orange County Section Emergency Coordinator:

May 30, 2014

Dear ARES Volunteer:

In an article by Mike Corey, KI1U, Emergency Preparedness Manager for the ARRL, in the June issue of QST he emphasized the public service aspect of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). This article has caused some misconceptions regarding the future of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and I have received several inquiries from our Orange Section ARES volunteers regarding what this emphasis on public safety means for our organization. I reached out to Mike to get some clarification on the future of ARES.

This is what Mike has to say on the subject of public service and the future of ARES:

“Nothing is changing with ARES; it’s mission, name, field organization titles, etc. are all staying the same. The support ARRL gives to the emergency communications community is not changing. We continue working with organizations such as the Association of Public Safety Communications Official and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council to make sure Amateur Radio has a strong voice. Additionally we are continuing our work with FEMA, National VOAD, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and American Red Cross. And we are continuing to expand partnerships and look for resources and tools that can be used out in the field for ARES work.”

As I read the article I see that he was acknowledging the “more” of what ARES performs as opposed to the “less”. Terminology regarding Disaster, Emergency, and Public Service has been better defined over the years, but our work really has not. ARES offers THE most robust communications system in the nation. No other organization has the capabilities that ARES has now, or will continue to have in the future.

In a presentation I give occasionally entitled “What is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service; and Why do you want to talk to those guys anyway?” I describe how a lone amateur radio operator, registered as an ARES volunteer, may contribute to the public by simply turning on their rig when an event occurs; at that moment they are activated. It is that lone ARES volunteer that can report what is occurring in their neighborhood, outside their window. Those operators inside an affected area stand ready to support their community by reporting to those groups outside the affected area. No other organization has the capability to do that, and that is PUBLIC SERVICE.

I know that there are ARES units throughout the U.S. that support their government agencies, but to organize, train, and only respond in support of their government is a disservice to their community, and to the ARES organization as a whole. There is no shame in acknowledging that ARES works in the interest of Public Service.

ARES is the leader in communications when disaster strikes, or any other time communications, for the public service, is required. We have done it longer than anyone else and do it better than anyone else. So please rest assured that the ARES organization is not undergoing a radical change, no one is being demoted, nor is our mission changing:

“The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.”

Bob Turner, W6RHK
Orange Section Emergency Coordinator

Earthquake Preparedness

equakeThis evening’s earthquake is a good reminder to be prepared for any disaster.

We do have a great article with suggestions for your modular “go kits” and can be found on the SOARA website here.  (Republished with permission.)

Also, please remember that after a quake to refrain use of repeaters/simplex for any emergency and damage traffic first.  Use should be short and allow plenty of room between communications for breaks.  Use of cell phone should be limited immediately following a quake, use SMS text messaging to check on loved ones instead of calling.

73 and good luck.  — Sean, AJ6B

April 5: Desert Storm Rally HAMS Needed

dsr-logoWe still need Control Workers and HAMS for the Saturday April 5th portion of the Desert Storm Rally in Blyth, CA.  We need more control workers and blockages, the better.

The volunteers will receive: Event Shirt, $5.00 fuel card, free lunch and free entry to the I-10 Lucas Oil Blythe Speedway for the final stage on the track and dirt infield in front of over 500-1000 race fans. Plus at the awards a drawing for gift certs. Sign up on

I can answer any questions about the event and about working the event. No previous Rally experience is needed, we’ll provide training.  If members want to volunteer to work for the Friday night part of the event, we’d be glad to have more people for that day.


John Shults

October 3: FCC and NIST shuts down with Government (updated)

closedARRL confirmed today that the FCC has ceased most of all operations on October 1, including licensing of the Amateur Radio Service.

SOARA will continue to offer Amateur Radio license examinations although they will not be processed until the FCC returns to work.

The FCC ULS and CORES is also offline.

NIST is also offline, the atomic time servers are offline therefore the time app on the SOARA homepage will not work.

Updated information from the ARRL is available here.

August 17&18: 2013 Huntsville Hamfest Live Broadcast

This event is now over.

It’s time for the 2013 Huntsville Hamfest!!

Please join us during our live, online broadcast of the Huntsville Hamfest this weekend. (Aug 17 and 18th)

To join the broadcast go to where the fun begins!  During the Huntsville Hamfest W5KUB will interview vendors regarding their latest products, and broadcast the announcement of the Young Ham of the Year.  We will also have special guests like Martin F. Jue (K5FLU), founder of MFJ Enterprises; Charlie Emerson (N4OKL) representing Huntsville Hamfest; and many others. During the live broadcast, you will also have the opportunity to meet and chat with other ham radio operators from all over the world.  During the 2013 Dayton Hamvention we had over 40,000 viewers!

You could be the winner of one of 23 prizes which will be awarded during the broadcast!    These prizes are made possible because of our relationship with partners such as GigaParts, Huntsville Hamfest Prize Committee, ICOM, Ten-Tec, NCG Company, Kantronics, MP Antenna, ARRL, MFJ, and individual hams which have donated prizes.  In the past year over $10,000 in prizes have been awarded!  Of course, no purchase is necessary to win a prize.   W5KUB is not affiliated with any products or companies and does not sell any products or services.

Huntsville Hamfest broadcast hours:

  • Friday, August 16: 1400 UTC (9:00 AM CT) This is set-up time and we will have a live stream going most of the day showing that activity
  • Saturday, August 17:  1400 UTC – 2130 UTC (9:00 AM – 4:30 PM CT) Huntsville Hamfest
  • Sunday, August 18:  1400 UTC – 2000 UTC (9:00 AM – 3:00 PM CT) Huntsville Hamfest
  • Sunday, August 18:  2000 UTC (3:00 PM CT) drive from Huntsville to Memphis (4 hrs) watch us stream the 4 hour drive. Might even have prizes.

Please join our group on Facebook at to keep up with us year-round.

Also, please help spread the word by posting this announcement in Facebook and forwarding this message to your ham radio friends that may not have received this message!

We’ll ‘see’ you in Huntsville!


Tom Medlin, W5KUB