WESTCHESTER COUNTY ARES/RACES

Information for Members

Required Equipment

The minimum required equipment for effective ARES/RACES participation is a 2 meter transceiver capable of operation on WB2ZII/R (147.06) and other area 2 meter repeaters. This means you must have a PL (CTCSS) tone encoder. All recent 2 meter equipment includes this feature.

To be effective in the field, you need to be able to transport your transceiver, so an HT and/or mobile rig are a must. In either case, you need to be able to operate your rig in somebody else's vehicle (a served agency's car or truck). You will need a power source, preferably both batteries and a cigarette lighter plug adaptor. Additionally, alligator clip battery leads may be needed on occasions when a vehicle lacks a cigarette lighter. Be sure in these cases that the vehicle has a 12V battery and get the polarity right -- some government vehicles, especially those used by military units, have positive ground and/or 24V batteries.

Optional Equipment

Additional optional equipment that is frequently used by ARES/RACES includes 440 MHz and 220 MHz. It helps to have 440 capability, and of course many rigs today are dual-band 2m/440.

Also important but generally not required to be portable includes HF coverage of 40 and 80 meters SSB for state-wide and regional communications. 10 meter SSB is also used in a manner similar to that of 2 meters. Being able to set up a portable emergency-powered HF station is something that we all practice each June during Field Day.

The ability to use 1200-baud packet is a plus. The County communications van is equipped with a packet station as is the EOC. Some members have portable and/or mobile packet stations with lap- or palm-top computers.

Amateur TV has also been experimented with by some members.

Current Callup List is dated February 2010

The current ARES/RACES callup list is dated February 2010. If you are aware of any errors or have not received yours, please let Tom / WB2NHC, know about them. (And, don't worry, the callup list is confidential and will not be posted here!) Make sure to make copies of the callup list to keep in your car, at school or work, and at home.

How the Callup List Works

The callup list is divided into approximately 25 alphabetical groups arranged roughly geographically. Each group has about 5 members in it. Group "A" (pronounced ALPHA) consists of the "Net Starters" who are generally the people who get the call to start a callup. The Net Starters list is made available to the various served agencies. Groups "B(ravo)" through "Z(ulu)" cover various Westchester County communities along with members who live in Putnam Co., Rockland Co., NYC and Connecticut and work in Westchester.

An activation of ARES or RACES starts basically the same way: a member of group "A" is contacted by somebody (in the case of RACES, by the County government) and, after determining the scope of the operation and the number of radio operators needed, may simply contact the few people who are needed, or, may initiate a larger-scale callup.

For a large-scale callup, the routine is:

  1. Group "A" member contacts others in group "A" and selects an initial Net Control Station.
  2. NCS makes a callup on the 147.060 repeater to get anyone monitoring to:
  3. Anybody hearing of the callup by any means and irrespective of their position in their call list group should, if possible, activate their group. It is better to have a person get called more than once than not at all.
  4. Once the initial batch of phone volunteers get started, the NCS then begins activating the two-tone and DTMF pagers. Even if you don't own a WECA pager, the distinctive series of tone pairs will alert you to an ongoing callup if you happen to be monitoring the machine. Also, you can monitor for the group DTMF paging tones with most rigs that support DTMF code squelch or selective calling (SELCAL), or with TAPR's DTMF Accessory Squelch.

How to activate your group:

  1. If you learn of a callup that involves your group (some callups are localized and may only activate a group in a particular locality), make sure you have the following information (See the "fill in the blanks" Emergency Activation Script that the NCS is working from, and which is included with the roster):
  2. ARES or RACES?
    Is it an ARES or RACES callup? A small number of people are only members of one or the other group. There are also legal ramifications of a RACES callup (see FCC rules).
    Requesting Agency
    Which organization or agency has requested our services? Two of the most likely examples are Westchester County O.E.M. and Red Cross.
    Nature of Activity
    This is a brief description of the reason we have been activated.
    Location
    Name of location where the incident took place. DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE LOCATION unless instructed to do so by NCS, RACES Radio Officer, ARES EC, or a designee.
    Locality
    The city, village, or town.
    Number of Members
    The estimated number of ARES/RACES communicators needed.
    Starting Time and Duration
    The expected starting time and duration of a response. In some cases, the group will be activated several hours or even days in advance of an anticipated need, for example, if severe weather is forecast. For a long-running operation, members will be scheduled in shifts.
    Date of the callup list.
    It helps tremendously if your callup list matches the Net Control Station's. If it doesn't, please inform NCS.

Our Internet Mailing List

An Internet mailing list, ares@weca.org, is used for general ARES/RACES announcements to supplement group communications. Confidential information should not be posted to this list. Please be aware that there are a number of ARES/RACES members who are not on this mailing list so do not expect that a mailing will reach everyone.

To subscribe to the list, send email to ares-request@weca.org containing the following text:

subscribe
Your subscription request will be forwarded to the list maintainer who will add you in a few days.

Training Goals

Try to use the following as a guide to improve your ability to perform as an ARES/RACES member. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please let the author know of your ideas for improvements to this list.
last updated Tuesday, February 15, 2011