Bringing Radio Messaging to ARES: More Than Dispatch

Post date: Jul 12, 2020 2:26:16 PM

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) provides radio operators to government agencies, non-government agencies, and others providing humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and public events. Particularly in large-scale emergencies, written messages need to be moved beyond the reach of a single county or require resources beyond what volunteers in the affected county can provide at the time.

This is where the ARES Districts to which counties belong, and the Ohio Section to which Ohio's 10 ARES Districts belong can provide additional help to ensure that people who need the help are able to get it.

Ohio's ARES District 7 is a ten-county area in Central Ohio served by the Central Ohio Traffic Net (COTN), a message handling radio net that can take messages from counties and relay them into other counties in Ohio, other states, and beyond as the situation requires, as well as to take incoming messages to the affected areas. COTN conducts daily operations every evening for routine messages, and activates as needed to support ARES operators preparing for and responding to emergencies.

A presentation by COTN's Net Manager in July 2020 outlined COTN's capability and how ARES organizations in Ohio ARES District 7 can work with COTN. We urge all ARES organizations to include the vital capability of radio messaging in their toolbox, and not to remain limited to what operators in their own county can provide directly. Amateur Radio is most powerful as a public service when it works as a system of volunteers, trained and organized for mission success.