Saturday, September 25, 2010

Amateur Radio Emergency Service Celebrates 75th Anniversary

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service, an organization of the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is celebrating seventy five years of service to communities all over the United States in combined, unified relationship with emergency service departments at local, state, and federal levels. Often combined with RACES, and mistaken for the same agency which is separate from the ARRL. ARES has also been known to combine their abilities cooperatively with Skywarn, SET Exercizes, and other emergency response activities focusing dually on preparedness & real life response capability. The Public Safety agencies ARES works with are known as "served agencies".

To see more about ARES and the good ARES has done all over the U.S., please see the ARES E-Letters.

The RACES link above will help the public to understand the differences between ARES & RACES, the level of training RACES requires, and will point out the fact that RACES is a U.S. Government Agency whereas ARES is not. More information defining RACES is available here.

Some ARES members will tend to carry ARES Identification Cards, which are NOT issued by the ARRL, as the ARRL only issues general membership ID Cards. Some ARES volunteers are active with an Emergency Management Agency either as a secondary activity to legitamize their ARES activities while others join because it is a condition for being an ARES member in some jurisdictions.

ARES History:
The Amateur Radio emergency Service has been known in the past as the ARRL Emergency Corps and the War Emergency Radio Service back during World War Two when amateur radio in the U.S. was sidelined by U.S. Congress. During this time, licensed amateurs were ordered to stop amateur radio operations. In 1945, the ARRL was successful in pressuring Congress to re-authorize amateur radio again.

ARES Wikipedia Entry

ARRL Emergency Communications Programs

ARRL Sections

ARES Manual

ARRL Field Organization Structure

ARRL Public Service Programs

Although there are ARES members who are well focused, with big hearts and have the correct concept in mind, never operating outside of their responsibility; others will take it too far and add flashing lights / sirens, and all sorts of other accessories to their vehicles. One company makes "Amateur Radio ID Cards" with a copy of the operator's FCC license on it and a real looking bar code. One other company makes a gold "Amateur Radio Badge" that looks like a real life police shield.

Before clicking on the links provided in this next section of this article, please be advised that you may encounter adult language and suggestive terms that a person could find objectionable.

To keep everything in balanced perspective while providing the public and the amateur radio community with the humorous side of blunders made by ARES volunteers, Hamsexy has created the popular term "Whacker" or "Wacker" which is the popular radio jargon for an amateur operator who goes too far with their emergency volunteer identity. Hamsexy has created the "Whacker Alert Archive". Hamsexy made itself famous again in more recent times when they published a photograph of a pair of white underwear with the RACES and ARES logos on them.

Over the past many years, ARES has for the most part become irrelevant due to better emergency radio systems being purchased by municipal emergency departments. RACES is still in existance, although no more RACES licenses are being issued. ARES also has a cooperative history with the United States Military Auxillary Radio Service (MARS) and SHARES, which is another U.S. Government emergency radio communications service that only MARS members can join.

Congradulations to the ARRL on their 75th anniversary of ARES!      

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