Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) / Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) are “dual hat” membership organizations. Titles are in pairs i.e. EC/RO and AEC/DRO. As ARES members we can assist in ‘athons’….walkathons, marathons, bikeathons, etc. We ‘switch hats’ to RACES (governmental) when the Town of Huntington opens the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). At that point we are serving the Town of Huntington and are under their direction.
The structure is as follows: The group leader is the EC/RO –Emergency Coordinator (EC) ARES/ Radio Officer (RO) RACES. To assist the leader, there are currently five AEC’s/DRO’s –Assistant Emergency Coordinator (AEC) ARES /Deputy Radio Officer (DRO) RACES. This makes up the ‘Command Staff’ of six. The Command Staff is who you hear as net control stations (NCS) on the weekly net. The general membership of about sixteen to twenty makes up the bulk of the group. The EC/RO sends monthly reports to ARRL NLI Section ARES/ Suffolk RACES supervisors. If the Huntington EOC is opened for an event such as a hurricane or blizzard, the RO reports directly to the Huntington Fire Marshal.
A proper fixed station at your home QTH is required for reliable communications. VHF/UHF is line of sight for local contacts. Install a roof mounted vertical antenna as high as possible. A VHF/UHF radio with a minimum power of 35-50 watts is recommended.
Net Control stations use a second radio for HF, which also can have VHF/UHF. We use 10 meters for local communications. The New York State RACES nets are on 80 meters and use 40 meters as a backup. HF Vertical antennas can be used in limited space. Many operators have wires and use them with good results. Check Amazon for a 2 meter handheld radio, a dual band model can be purchased for less than $25.
Our digital net uses Fldigi software to send forms. You will need a PC in your shack with a digital interface (Signalink, Rigblaster or Rascal). Don't forget that battery backup is a must. Have a plan if your station is knocked 'off the grid'.
In summary, here is an equipment list: