ARRL Hires Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, as Director of Emergency Management

Originally posted on the ARRL HQ website:

As another step in ARRL’s increased focus on strengthening its emergency communications capabilities and long-standing working relationships with federal and state agencies and private emergency response organizations, ARRL has hired Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, of Cedar Park, Texas, as its first Director of Emergency Management.

Gilbert brings more than 30 years of experience in public service in both his professional and amateur radio endeavors. Beginning with his appointment as Emergency Coordinator in 1987, he has held multiple positions in the ARRL Field Organization. Currently in his second term as South Texas Section Manager, he has also served for more than a decade as the West Gulf Division’s Assistant Director for Public Service, acting as liaison between Division leadership and local, state, and federal emergency management organizations.

Professionally, Gilbert most recently was Radio Officer, HQ Staff, for the Texas State Guard, where for the past 6 years he has been responsible for planning and implementation of the organization’s communications capabilities. Previously he was a Public Safety Radio Coordinator for a Texas agency, charged with overseeing that organization’s large-scale disaster communications response and identifying and eliminating in-state interoperability issues.

Gilbert, who has an Amateur Extra-class license, is a member of Army MARS, and holds numerous DHS certifications, including COML, COMT, COMT Instructor, and AUXCOM Communicator. He is a member of the FEMA Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECCWG), a graduate of the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s Exercise Design Course, and was a founding member of the Texas Division of Emergency Management Communications Coordination Group.

In his new role, Gilbert will manage a team responsible for supporting ARRL Emergency Communications (EmComm) programs and services, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) and National Traffic System (NTS), as well as lead the continued modernization of those programs in consonance with the future emergency communications needs of the public and ARRL’s key partners.

WMA ARES Looking for Volunteers for VHF Testing

The WMA ARES Section is in the process of conducting simplex communications testing on 6 and 2 meters within the section.

At this point, we are looking to test 6 meter communications between Hampden and Worcester counties and need a few volunteers with good 6 meter capabilities, particularly in the Southern Worcester County area. Time involved will be short …. approximately 15 minutes at your station’s convenience.

Anyone wishing to participate can contact me directly on email at

Vy 73 and Thanks in advance,
Bob – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator

FCARC Meeting on JS8Call Important For WMA ARES

This month’s Franklin County Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held online via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The meeting will be on Monday May 11 at 7 PM.  All are welcome to attend this online meeting.
FCARC President Aaron Addison KF1G will presenting on JS8Call.  JS8Call is a digital mode built on the popular FT8 protocol, however, it instead offers real-time, keyboard-to-keyboard messaging as well as store-and-forward capabilties and other similar features.  
Parts of this presentation has been developed as a part of a training that Aaron has been working on with Section Emergency Coordinator Bob Meneguzzo K1YO.  The training is intended to be a part of a series to help WMA ARES members communicate in a variety of ways.  Digital communications has proven extremely useful in emergency communications scenarios for transporting bulk data such as summaries of weather and infrastructure reports.  All WMA amateurs are welcome to join the meeting and learn about JS8Call, especially those involved with WMA ARES.
Use this information to join the meeting via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 949 7949 5039
Password: 226283

More details on the meeting are available on the KF1G’s personal website.

Amateurs Contact Military Stations on 60M

MARSThis just in from Tom Kinahan N1CPE of Army MARS:

A government station call up amateur stations on 60M channel 1 (Dial 5.3305 Mhz) at 9am Sunday (11/3/19) for the purpose of getting situational awareness reports. Amateurs will be asked for any known failures of infrastructure in their county such as water, power, telecommunications, sewer, medical, and also their zip code. If they don’t know of any failures, then they report no failures. Reports of no failures are just as important as failures.

This callup will be shortly after the Western Mass Emergency Net on 3.944 at 8:30am.

There will be a 60 Meter broadcast on Nov 17 0301Z. That is Saturday night in 2 weeks.

The Broadcast will be Voice and Digital. The Digital mode is M110A, and the software is available on the website under software.

under x86 MS-DMT.

Amateurs can use this mode on 60 meters only, and will facilitate interoperation with Military and other government stations.

All reports must be real life reports. Do not make up situations.

WMA ARES Simulated Emergency Test Sunday November 3

WMA ARESAfter a long hiatus, the Western Massachusetts ARES Section will conduct a simplified Simulated Emergency Test (SET) to determine our current capacities for communications within the 5 counties in the section.

The exercise will begin at noon local time on Sunday November 3 and last until approximately 3PM. Inter-section communications -MAY- be attempted in the 3PM to 4PM timeframe if the appropriate equipment can be put into place. More information on this will appear on this website prior to Nov 3 or be announced in an update during the regular ARES nets on the Sunday morning od the SET.

The SET will attempt to communicate across counties using our normal repeaters for an initial callup at 1200 local time, followed by county – to – county VHF simplex testing from 1230 to 1255.

At 1300, the ARES HF Emergency net will do a roll call on the same frequency (3.944 MHz+/-) as the usual Sunday morning HF net. Following this, at 1330, we will attempt to establish contacts across counties using SSB; there will be several ‘acting EOC’ stations to facilitate this testing under the guidance of an announced net control station.
Digital mode (NBEMS) activity will commence at 1400 with a simple HF digital net on the 75M NBEMS frequency … 3.580 MHz USB using PSK31. We will attempt to broadcast a beacon message for stations to synchronize their operating frequency … the short message will read :


And will be repeated for 5 minutes after which we will have an NBEMS net control station calling up several stations by county and coordinating direct digital communications between them.

At 1430, we will initiate some WinLink messages to pre-established addresses to test this capability for stations so equipped. There also may be some direct peer to peer testing using WinLink although this is not anticipated to be the usual mode for direct communications during an emergency.

Additional inter-section testing is possible after 1500 with predetermined parameters that will not likely include the general ARES membership but could give our neighbor section(s) a chance to test whatever may be appropriate for their needs.

It is important to note that we are NOT looking to have a flawless exercise – but we should observe how effectively we may participate … a chance to identify our individual and group shortcomings and make notes on these. We will conduct several review meetings to reveal where we need improvement, and to identify additional training the WMA ARES team will develop and provide to our members. This will allow us to develop exercises in the near future to test and measure our improvement in key areas needed. MISTAKES ARE WELCOME !! – IT’S HOW WE WILL LEARN TO BE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS

Vy 73,
Bob K1YO
WMA Section Emergency Coordinator

Pay It Forward!

Amateur Radio is a great avocation! It challenges us to improve ourselves in many ways. Where else could we learn and manipulate how the physical universe affects our radio performance through ionospheric propagation on different bands? We communicate with each other on opposite ends of the globe through various evolving operating modes, via orbiting satellites and even by bouncing signals off the moon. We improve our operating skills while enjoying contesting with other stations. Whether we realize it or not, all this expands our knowledge and improves our effectiveness … as COMMUNICATORS.

We personally gain much from Amateur Radio, and it offers us an opportunity to return the favor …. to PAY IT FORWARD … by assisting our communities in times of need. ARES, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, is an ARRL program which does exactly that. ARES trains us to provide a communications conduit for our communities and agencies in emergency situations but also for local events that could benefit from effective communications.

The key word here is effective! We obviously must be effective in our technologies and radio skills; but it is critically important to effectively interface with those we serve. Our Post – 9/11 environment has driven government and healthcare organizations to adopt strict operational protocols such as the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS). Credentialing and Certification requirements are part of these protocols, and the ARRL has recently revamped ARES to comply with this, working with many groups such as the American Red Cross and FEMA to ensure ARES meets their current needs.

Training of ARES participants is a major factor required of us by external agencies, and it varies with the level of involvement the ARES member desires to participate on. The basic training involves locally provided sessions perhaps as part of a club meeting or event. Those who wish to get more involved will find that a few online courses will suffice (ICS, NIMS and ARRL introductory courses) to satisfy current ARES requirements. (Working onsite with certain organizations may require completing additional training required by that agency.)

ARES Section leadership officials (SEC, ASEC, DEC, EC) have a few additional online courses required. These are mandatory in order to participate in leadership positions. A 1-year period to complete relevant courses is allowed. All of us (myself included) will be held to these standards.

Over the past several months, many of you have expressed concerns about the training required for a ‘volunteer position’. I truly understand, but this is not something that is negotiable. Consider an example … would you want any volunteer firefighters or ambulance personnel without the training required by their departments responding to your needs in an emergency? I believe ARES holds a similar position.

It is critical to recognize that it’s not the ARRL imposing training on us …it is a compliance requirement of the organizations and agencies ARES serves.

Thanks to all for your support as we improve WMA ARES … and for paying it FORWARD as we move the organization in the same direction.

Vy 73
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator WMA ARES Section

Message from WMA Section Emergency Coordinator K1YO

Hello, fellow Western Massachusetts Radio Amateurs !!

I’m sending this email to both introduce myself and to update you on my plans to revitalize the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program within our Section. My name is Bob Meneguzzo, K1YO, from Southwick MA, and I’m your new Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for the five counties that comprise the WMA Section.

For many of us, a large part of Amateur Radio’s appeal is the potential it offers to serve our respective communities using the communications and technical skills we’ve developed while engaging in its wide-ranging activities. Frequently, segments on the media or in publications reflect what seems to be an increasing incidence of hazardous situations where amateur radio has played an important role in preserving the health and welfare of the public. This is entirely due to the skill and dedication of those amateurs involved. We need to ensure that these efforts are effective, with an eye to continuous improvement through practice and the application of new developing technologies available to us.

Various agencies also depend upon our assistance during emergencies, and the requirements they ask of us have grown significantly in recent times. So we will need to comply with their changing needs while at the same time keeping ourselves proficient at our technical and communications skills.

Here are the ARRL’s comment on the changes to the current ARES program membership:

“Previously, participation in ARES was open to all interested Amateur Radio operators. The only requirements were a valid FCC license and an interest in serving. There were no requirements for ARES participants to be trained and no skill sets were specified. In contrast, many of the partner agencies that ARES serves have mandated and structured training programs where all participants receive the same training and, when activated, or assigned to serve an agency in the field would be qualified to assume any position to which they were assigned.

Therefore, changes have been made to resolve this issue identified by our partners about the inconsistent training required of ARES participants. Under this policy, a national standard for qualification in ARES is instituted to address the needs of our partners. Training is expected to be phased in over time and will be required for all ARES participants. Such training will be measurable and recognized across a broad spectrum of the country by served partners.”

The ARES program has been developing in line with this; it recognizes the need for compliance by addressing several key aspects … Organization, Training, Qualification and Credentialing.

Effective Organization is the base requirement and it needs to take place at the County level through the efforts of the named Emergency Coordinators (ECs) and their Assistants who have key knowledge of their local resources and government agencies.

Training needs to be provided regularly in the form of drills and exercises that emulate emergency situations, but also falls under the Qualification aspect through courses such as ARRL’s EC-001 and FEMA offerings available to individual ARES members.

Credentialing is increasingly required by agencies we assist … and is essential for those amateurs deployed with or embedded in the operations of these entities.

My activities as SEC obviously need to focus on these areas, but I recognize that not all of us want to take a role in ARES that might consume too much of our time. As our Section Manager notes, ARES ‘should not be a job’ for anyone. But I feel that we must offer everyone an opportunity to participate at a level they would be comfortable with. To accomplish this I’d like to establish another level of ARES participation for the WMA Section: Local Reserve.

The Local Reserve group members would not be expected to do anything besides participate in net operations (normally or during an activation) although they might be asked to provide weather or damage reports for their local neighborhood if requested by their Emergency Coordinator. This is similar to the ARRL Level 1 Member described below although they would not be field or agency deployed for anything. Training requirements (minimal) are the same as Level 1 also.

Following are the current ARES Membership Levels ….

Level 1 — This is the primary level for those who choose a non-leadership role as well as those new to Amateur Radio or emergency communications. This introductory training is conducted by the local ARES group to meet their needs and those of their served agency or partners. This training could be formal or informal, and would introduce the ARES participant to the fundamentals of emergency communications and provide instruction on how participants are to conduct themselves while serving in the field or otherwise activated. Participants may elect to remain at this level, or any level, based upon the extent of their desired ARES involvement.

Level 2 — To qualify for this level, participants shall have completed the following courses: ARRL’s EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (a no-cost program) and FEMA IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities available through partners to enhance their knowledge and skill set.

Level 3 — This level of training prepares ARES participants to take on leadership positions such as EC, ADEC, DEC, ASEC, and SEC, and other designated positions in the ARES program. Participants are required to complete ARRL’s EC-016, Emergency Communications for Management, when available along with FEMA Professional Development Series of courses IS-120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288 the Role of voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management. Participants also are encouraged to complete the FEMA courses IS-300, and IS-400 should they be available locally.

So we see here that there is a broad set of choices of participation in ARES … that hopefully will meet the commitment levels of many of us. You can participate minimally, or continue your development to higher levels should you choose to do so!

I sincerely hope that you will consider becoming a part of ARES if you are not already a member and to help make this a team that we can be truly proud of in our service to our communities!

With that said, there is ONE very important thing I need to ask of you: to register for new membership on our WMA ARES website or login as a member to update your existing one. Please sign-in if you have not done so in 2018 or later. I am trying to clean up our membership database and there are a LOT of folks that have shown no Log-In activity prior to 2018 (or never!).

To register for, renew, or update your WMA ARES membership, choose Emergency Communications from the main menu of this website, scroll down to the ARES Membership line in the document to register or Login.

Thank you for your time today — I hope to meet up with you at your club meetings and will keep you posted via the WMA ARES website on my progress at the many tasks ahead.

I am in 95% LISTEN mode right now … if you have comments, questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me. I sincerely appreciate your inputs,

Very 73,
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator