Joining Williamson Co – Amateur Radio Emergency Service, WC-ARES, located in Williamson County Texas, is quite easy, just two simple requirements and one simple online form to fill out.
As outlined on the Amateur Radio Relay League, ARRL website, 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.
ARES Membership Requirements:
- Every licensed amateur regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Please inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable but is not a requirement for membership.
- The second requirement is a desire to serve.
Online Registration Form:
In lieu of the ARRL paper registration form, we have an on-line form that collects the same info but also allows you to return and enter/track your training. This also allows the ARES leadership at the county, district, or section level to generate reports based on training, equipment, or rosters. You are also encouraged to update/check your contact info periodically. Addresses, call signs, license class, phone numbers, cell phone carriers, email address, etc. change. It’s much easier for each member to verify their own info that asking a volunteer to do this for hundreds of members. Each member is expected to verify your own data before Field Day or one of our Simulated Exercise Training, SET, or Public Service Events.
To register as a new member, follow this link New Member Registration Form. Complete the form making sure to complete the asterisked mandatory fields.
Once you have completed and submitted your registration form a ARES officer will send you a login and password to the South Texas Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service member database.
WC-ARES is dedicated to training its members the skills needed to assist in Emergency Communications during the time of disasters. To participate in WC-ARES activations that are several three levels of training that will determine your level of participation during any activation.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now requires all volunteers, including amateur radio operators, to have completed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) IS-100.c, IS-200.c, IS-700.b and IS-800.c course material. WC-ARES members will be expected to understand and operate under National Incident Management System (NIMS) during activation. Without this training, you may be excluded from participating or gaining access to emergency sites during activation.
ARRL ARES Task book (here) it explains to some degree what needs to be done. You are welcome to keep a physical copy of the task book if you wish, WC-ARES does not require it.
The IS-xx courses listed in the ARRL ARES Task book are FEMA Independent Study courses. These courses can be accessed at https://training.fema.gov/is/. You will need to register for a FEMA SID number if you don’t have one already. A link to register for it can be found on the linked page above… Once you have registered you can began taking the courses you are interested in and those to complete the task book. There is a pass/fail test at the end of each course. If you pass you will receive a downloadable / printable certificate. Most of the courses in the task book are available online, but not all.
WC-ARES requests that you log into arrlstxdepot.org and date the items you have completed. Then email a copy of course certificate you have received for that task to Doug Dukes at email@example.com.
If you register at PreparingTexas.org you might be able to find some of the courses you need offered in a classroom setting. Or at least you could pre-COVID19, check the preparetexas.org website for more details.
If you have any questions regarding the task book work or need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact Doug Dukes, training AEC for WC-ARES, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updating Your Registration Info:
Each member should update their own information 1-2 times a year even if nothing has changed. Why, because one of the reports the ARES leadership pulls quite often is how dated is this information is. If your records are 2-3-4 years old the data could be wrong and not trusted. So check it and use the Update button on the bottom of the form. It is suggested you do this before every Field Day and Public Service Event you participate in.