What is ARES? What do they do?
The Raleigh County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) net meets regularly each Tuesday evening at 8:15PM on the 145.370-(100.0) WV8BD Repeater and Thuresday evening at 8:15 PM on the 147.360+(123.0) N8FWL repeater. The ARES Net generally lasts for no longer than 15 minutes, and of course in the routine nets, there's nothing that says you must 'stay tuned' until the net closes! The routine ARES nets are usually somewhat tailored to practice SKYWARN net procedures.

The most important thing to do is LISTEN to the Net Control Station (NCS)! The NCS directs the net in a manner subject to the type of net and other circumstances. A good NCS will tell you exactly what they expect of you. PAY ATTENTION! The ARES nets are usually called 'directed' nets, meaning that after you check-in, you shouldn't transmit unless necessary, and you need to have the permission of Net Control before you contact other stations on the frequency.

When I have run ARES & SKYWARN nets, I broadcast specific instructions on how I would like people to check in. This isn't done to be domineering, it is done for purposes of brevity and convenience.

As I've previously stated, the most important thing to do is follow the exact instructions of the Net Control Station. Under normal circumstances, here's exactly what I ask for from stations wishing to check-in to the ARES Nets:

  1. Key up and state "This is," unkey to make sure you're not doubling. Rekey & give your callsign phonetically, using the international phonetic alphabet.

  2. Give your first name.

  3. Give your general location (such as "Downtown Lewisburg" or "Northeast of Alderson"). A. The National Weather Service has recently asked us to use regular geographic locations instead of the grid-coordinate system.

  4. If you're a certified SKYWARN member, simply state the key word "SKYWARN." If you have traffic for the net or a question for Net Control, simply state "TRAFFIC." 

    • If you don't state either of the keywords, NCS will assume that you aren't a SKYWARN member and/or you don't have traffic for the net. It sounds real simple, but a lot of people still end up wasting time saying "No traffic" and/or "Well, I'm not a SKYWARN member yet, but, ahhh, I plan on taking the class real soon!"

    • Occasionally, you might be asked to provide parts or all of your SKYWARN Certification Code number (printed on the front of your card) if you're a member of SKYWARN. If you don't have your Cert # handy, you'll be instructed to simply state "SKYWARN."

  5. Only stations currently located within Raleigh County should check-in until Net Control specifically invites check-ins from stations located in other counties.

  6. If you try to check in, but aren't acknowledged by the NCS, hopefully one of the other stations will hear you and relay for you when NCS calls for any relays.
That's it! Sometimes we'll change the order and/or type of check-in information we request. This is done to add a little variety, keep you on your toes, and for other training purposes. We ask all stations to follow the instructions of Net Control, yet we realize that everyone (even NCS!) makes mistakes. The intent behind the routine Tuesday night check-in nets is to familiarize everyone with net protocol then, instead of during actual emergency situations.

In an emergency ARES or SKYWARN activation in Raleigh County, we will operate on one of the these repeaters:

  1. 145.370-(100.0) WV8BD - Downtown Beckley

  2. 147.360+(123.0) N8FWL - Sulivan Hill

  3. 145.170-(100.0) WV8B -  Ivy Knob, Guyandotte, near Bolt - Primary link to NWS

146.550 Mcs simplex (Nationally reconized SKYWARN frequency) could also be utilized, as could other frequencies and repeater assets, if necessary.

During emergency situations, we try to have several 'key' stations on the air. One would be designated as the NCS. One would be designated as a liason station. Others might include an operator at the Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). It is a good practice to not-to-have the NCS at the EOC due to a possible constant audiable noise interference.

If you have any questions, be sure to check-into the ARES net (& state "TRAFFIC"!), contact the NCS after the net, or call our Emergency Coordinator (EC) -- ______________________, ______ -- during business hours at ___ ___ ____

Here is the link to Chapter 1 of the ARES manuel.


SKYWARN Net Preamble

ARES Manual - PDF

to go to the Raleigh County SKYWARN page for a general repeatter listing and a map of the area.

Edgar McKinney, KB8QEU