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

Registration Now Open for ARRL’s New EC-001 Course

ARRL’s Lifelong Learning Department is excited to announce the launch of the recently revised Introduction to Emergency Communications (EC-001) course. As part of this new initiative, the course has been updated, beta-tested by a group of course mentors, and transferred into a new online learning platform.

With the closing of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) in mid-2018, EC-001 lost its virtual home and was taken offline. At that point ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness staff started working with the new Lifelong Learning team to explore short and long-term alternatives for offering the course. After a period of careful evaluation and review, the decision was made to move the course from the previous Moodle platform to a more modern Learning Management System called Canvas, which will be used while the new Lifelong Learning Initiative program is being developed. The EC-001 course will eventually become part of this new, comprehensive online learning environment.

EC-001 is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. We hope this course will be the starting point for you in your service to your community as radio amateurs and inspire you to think outside the box and look at new and useful ways the radio amateur can lend a hand to the public that has given us the trust of our spectrum of skills. With the online format, students can access the course at any time from anywhere during a 9-week period, so you may work according to your own schedule.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer Introduction to Emergency Communications EC-001 once again” states Kris Bickell, ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager. “The Emergency Preparedness staff at ARRL has been incredibly helpful while we’ve worked together to get the course back up and running. And the input from previous EC-001 mentors has been an invaluable part of the testing phase. The timing is right to put the course back online.”

As in the past, students will be able to register and take the course entirely online. The Canvas platform is also mobile-responsive, meaning that students can view the course materials, interact with fellow students, and complete assignments from any mobile device.

Each course will run for nine (9) weeks, with a group of up to 30 students who will be supported by an experienced mentor. There will be no cost for the course, although students must meet certain pre-requisites to be eligible to participate, which are listed on the registration page.

To view the 2019 course schedule and to register:

Ellis Rud N1MWJ, SK

It is with sad regret to announce Ellis Rud N1MWJ has become a silent key on Nov 27.

Ellis was currently the EC for North Berkshire county, prior to that he was the past president of NoBARC in Adams. His career was for the state as a park ranger for Mt Greylock until his retirement.

Details can be found here:



Volunteering in Florida ARES Mutual Assistance

The ARRL has been asked to share the following from the Communications Branch Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management:

“The State of Florida appreciates the service of ARES. State of Florida SEOC and its staff will never request individuals or provide individuals any information on an incident.  All requests for individuals in the ARES program in the State of Florida will follow the North Florida ARES Plan and direction of their Section Manager Stephen Szabo. Absolutely no direct communications to the SEOC or its staff is to be made by individuals to request to be deployed or provide services at anytime.”

Any amateur wishing to volunteer to assist needs to go through the ARRL Northern Florida Manager Steve Szabo’s established processes, as that is the system Florida Emergency Management is utilizing to coordinate Amateur Radio activities.  Under no circumstances should individual Amateurs contact Florida Emergency Management.

We also remind ARRL / ARES volunteers who may be assisting in support of the ongoing relief and recovery efforts that the only persons who should be speaking on behalf of the ARRL or its field organization are the ARRL Section Manager or their Public Information Coordinator / Public Information Officer.   Unfortunately we have had reports of false information being apparently shared via Amateur Radio channels.  This type of misinformation can negatively affect the hard work being done by various Emergency Management agencies involved, as well as the various agencies also providing assistance, and can be harmful to the efforts of the Amateur community trying to assist in the response and relief efforts. ARRL SMs, PICs, and PIOs only provide information publicly where it has been vetted by state officials, and only as directed.  Unauthorized false reports can seriously and negatively impact the work of relief and recovery officials as well as damage the good relationships that Amateurs have in those relief and recovery communities.  Let the trained PICs/PIOs do their jobs!

Thanks to the hundreds of Amateurs who are providing communications assistance as this story continues to unfold.  With everyone working in concert and through appropriate channels, your work is helping make a difference.

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Assistant Secretary, the American Radio Relay League, Inc.
Regulatory Information Manager
ARRL – the national association for Amateur Radio
Phone: 860-594-0236

Training for ARES ECs, DECs, SECs

WMA ARESARRL Headquarters will be offering a training session for ARES Emergency Coordinators, District Emergency Coordinators and Section Emergency Coordinators on local, section, and state level Memorandums of Understanding for ARES. The training webinar will be Tuesday May 24, 2016 at 8pm Eastern Time. You may register for the webinar here. The webinar will be recorded and made available online afterward. All EC’s, DEC’s and SEC’s are encouraged to participate.

— Mike Corey, KI1U, ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager.

KA1OTQ, Southern Worcester County DEC, SK

KA1OTQIt is with regret and sadness that we must convey that the Southern Worcester County DEC Bob Beausoleil KA1OTQ has recently passed away and become a Silent Key.

Bob was involved with amateur radio in the section and locally for several decades, including being Sutton Chain of Lights Communications Coordinator and being the Net Manager for the Sunday morning ARES net on the W1BIM machine.

Bob’s obituary can be viewed here.



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