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What is Denver ARES?

“The Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a program of the ARRL, offers to its partners at all levels, trained Amateur Radio Service licensees who are skilled in the use of a wide range of emergency and disaster communications techniques and who are committed to supporting our partner’s missions in service to the public.”

from the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) ARES Plan

Thanks for asking!

Denver ARES is a group of everyday people who volunteer to help out in times of trouble. We are all Amateur Radio operators, that’s the ‘AR’ part of ARES. We work with Denver Office of Emergency Management to provide backup communications – Emergency Service is the ‘ES’ part of ARES.

DENVER PREPARES

Overnight operations at a field station.

What Fails?

Many events like 9-11, Katrina, wildfires and floods in Colorado Springs and Boulder, and most recently, the hurricane devastation to Puerto Rico have demonstrated the vulnerability of existing emergency communications resources.

  • The goal of the Denver Office of Emergency Management is to bring the right capability to the right place at the right time to meet the needs of the City and County of Denver during an emergency.
  • The goal of Denver ARES: To provide radio communications when all else fails.

On 9/11 the radio tower tumbled from the top of the World Trade Center building. That tower was the backbone of New York City’s emergency radio network. Cell phone systems are made for “average” levels of usage. They fail when over-loaded because every cell phone user tries to make a call at the same time. 911 dispatch and first responder radios become overloaded. Wild fires and floods destroy mountain top radio systems, topple power lines and destroy roads and bridges.

What Does ARES Do?

In addition to helping the City and County of Denver, we also participate in radio-linked SkyWarn® networks to report severe weather directly to the National Weather Service, and provide communications for a variety of other events. We help with the Arapahoe County Fair – working to locate lost kids, and keeping the people safe during the fireworks; we provide communications for the Denver Kidney Walk, part of the National Kidney foundation’s nation wide event; we also have a number of annual exercises, field day programs and training events to keep our skills up!

Field day provides a great opportunity to let people see ‘ham radio’ in action. Held in a Denver City Part, it is open to the public so drop by and say ‘Hi!’

All it takes is a willingness to help out and an amateur radio license, if you have one. And if you don’t have your license yet, don’t worry! We work with the local Patriot Volunteer Examiner team who provide free training and testing every month. They have an amazing success rate in getting you from knowing little or nothing to being licensed and on the air.

How do we help?

Amateur radio operators called upon by Denver’s emergency management will respond to the Emergency Operations Center located in the Denver City & County Building. They operate two stations capable of both voice and data transmission on the two meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands.

Generator power, easily transportable transceivers and special antennas are available for field use. Radio contact will be established and maintained with other stations located at shelters, incident command posts, and other designated spots throughout Denver. In addition to local radio contacts, ARES members are equipped to reach stations throughout Colorado and other states.

Denver ARES is made up of people from new hams with their first radio to experienced hams with decades of experience. We have one goal – to provide communications in times of trouble, and we all help each other out to provide the best communications possible.  If you are the kind of person who volunteers, and you have an interest in radio communications, you should check us out.

Learn more at a meeting!

If you would like to learn more you can attend any of our face to face meetings.We meet regularly, on the last Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Red Cross building in Denver, 444 Sherman St. Come join us for discussions and presentations on emergency communications and disaster preparedness.

Check in to a net!

If you are already a ham, join our net at 7PM Tuesdays, except the night of the face-to-face meeting. Our on air net is held on the  146.670 MHz repeater (negative offset, 100Hz tone) provided by the Castle Rock Repeater Group.

Emergency Communications is a field where there is always more to learn and more experience to gain!