Harris County ARES Info Resources
Written by KD5U 16MAY2021
Free for distribution for non-commercial use.
Tonight’s training is just a review of some ARES related information resources available to us and tips on how we might better stay in touch as a team and up to date on ARES activities. We sometimes receive questions on a topic indicating a member did not know where to look, what to do next or they were out of the information loop for some reason. As communicators, we want to make sure we do everything we can to close the loop and keep each other informed.
When I started as a new ARES member, there was limited guidance on where to start. It was hard to determine what to do after I signed up and how to get involved. This indicated to me it would be good to provide additional guidance and orientation to new recruits as well as reminders to current members on how to leverage some of the tools we have.
Where do you start? – Joining ARES of course.
If someone asks you how to join ARES its easiest to just remember to tell them the following:
- Go to harrisycountyares.org and click “join ARES”.
- Click the FSD-98 link at the top of the page and fill out the form.
- Once the new member registration is approved, they will receive a login to the STX ARES information Depot.
In the South Texas information depot, you will find your personal Task book under the link Courses and Training. Your Task book is your guide to the desired basic skills and initial training suggested for each ARES member.
- Your first goal should be to fill out your Task book with dates of current or newly acquired skills and then identify any needed training.
- Ask one of your team AEC’s for assistance if you have questions on a listed skill or need help finding potential sources for the recommended training. All members should do the following:
- Regularly review and update your Task Book
- Keep your Information depot contact information up to date. This includes email, cell phone # and carrier. If your carrier changes, you may not get ARES txt alerts and may get late notice of an activation or drill.
- If you do not have a photo in your profile, make sure you send an appropriate photo to your Unit EC to update your profile. This is also required to obtain an ARES ID card. An ARES ID can be helpful and even required if you’re deployed or working at a served agency.
District 14 (Harris County) ARES
The District 14 (Harris County) ARES site is another great reference for you to find more ARES related information.
Here you will find:
- Unit Leadership Team and leadership contact information. We are available if you have questions or need assistance.
- Frequencies we use, net schedule and scripts for our regular nets. This frequency list is a great place to start for the minimum frequencies to program in your radio.
- Net Scripts. The net script is a good reference for you to begin learning more about participating in and possibly even being a net control operator.
- Public Service Events (PSE) we are involved in and who to contact if interested in volunteering. PSEs are as close as we can come to actual disaster involvement. Volunteering is a great way to get to know other ARES team members and to gain valuable operating experience.
- District 14 and NW Unit comm plans – You should review and be familiar with these unit comm plans. The most important thing to remember from the comm plan is that during a potential incident but in the absence of specific direction from your leadership, you should monitor the 147.000 MHz (+) 103.5, District 14 ARES® bulletin/information repeater. Here you will get incident updates and potential activation information.
- • Training – Also at harriscountyares.org under the training link you will find the ARES training library with a wealth of information and great articles gleaned from the ARRL and from Districts and Units across the nation used during our weekly nets.
- You will also find links to external free Emcomm training with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the ARRL Emergency Communications training program.
- Go to the FEMAweb site where you’ll find IS-100,200, 700, and 800 courses which are all prerequisites for
- the more advanced AUXCOMM training that will be available to us in the future.
- ARRL.org Emergency Communications Training You can sign up for the ARRL Ecomm courses mentioned in your task book such as EC-101 and EC-016 there. Click the learn more link in the “Intro to Emcom ” section.
National Traffic System (NTS) Training Another training opportunity to mention is the weekly nets offering “hands-on” National Traffic System training. Whether you are new at traffic handling, experienced or somewhere in between, this is a great opportunity to learn, practice, and exercise traffic handling skills. You will also find NTS traffic handling as a new requirement for advancement in your Task Book.
The two Houston area NTS nets are held :
- Monday, 630PM ,146.940 MHz,(167.9 Tone) Mondays are focused on formal training with some traffic handling.
- Thursday, 630 PM local 147.000 MHz,(103.5 Tone) Thursday nets will focus primarily on radiogram traffic handling.
That concludes tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested additions to this material?
Thanks, this is (callsign) clear to net control.