ARES Cambridge Logo

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is an Amateur Radio public service program operated by Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) on this side of the border, and similarly, an ARES program operated by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) exists with our neighbors in the United States of America.

The reason that the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) exists is to assist and support our emergency response agencies and various levels of government in times of crisis, and during interruption of communications and so forth.

As with all Amateurs, we take our initial course, get our Amateur license and use the hobby as a fun pastime and get involved in things like contesting, DX, CW, EME, ATV, digital Modes, APRS, IRLP, Echolink, or whatever else each of our personal interests in this great hobby takes us.

What may be a little different for an ARES Amateur operator is being part of an organization with a nationally developed formal training plan for ongoing emergency training, invitations to participate in provincial and federally organized emergency training programs, a schedule of ongoing meetings, familiarization tours at various fixed emergency stations, participation in disaster excercises, and the possibility of being "called out" to assist in an emergency that can occur with little or no warning.

To be able to respond to these callouts, ARES members generally have an inventory of mobile and portable equipment suitable for rapid deployment, along with various pieces of support materials which may included a 'Grab and Go' kit stocked with batteries, power supplies, additional feedlines, antennas, repair tools and so forth that can be brought to a site to establish a filed station where previously none existed. In may cases, it is like "Field Day", but with only one-hour's notice -- and we don't know where we are headed until the call comes in.

Now none of this enthusiasm and communications capability would really matter except for somewhere to use it, and that is where our "clients" or what we may refer to as "our served agencies" come into play. ARES members in Manitoba serve and support a number of emergency agencies and programs including: Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization; Manitoba Health Disaster Services; Public Safety Canada; Environment Canada; and the City of Winnipeg Emergency Program. In addition, they also support of a large number of communities and rural municipalities in the province.
For the Cambridge (ON) the ARES group communicates and operates with the 911 emergency service via their own dispatch located at the Cambridge Fire Department.

Most recently, ARES members monitored the HF bands at the Amateur station at Public Safety Canada for the first two days after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, seeking information on conditions there that would be of assistance to the officials at Public Safety Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs in the time prior to the arrival of foreign aid teams with emergency telecommunications gear.

A lot of ARES groups, like ARES Cambridge, also work closely with CANWARN, which involves severe weather spotting and communicating their findings to Environment/Weather Canada.

So now you know a bit about what ARES is and some what we do.

73 Tony VA3AVR
ARES Cambridge Ontario

Radio Amateurs Canada     Red Cross     EMO     AMBERALERT     CANWARN    

Last Updated on January 15, 2011
Copyright © 2010, Tony van Roon VA3AVR, CARC.