JLRG, WPBARC and H L Watkins Middle School are 1 of 17 stations to make a contact with the ISS!

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Nothing will fail until you need it most!
    - Murphy

JLRG encourages Amateur Radio Operators to be ready to respond!

What will you need in order to respond as a professional communicator?
What will you bring?
What will you leave?
What will you forget?

Let's start with the, ARRL ARES Field Resource Manual. This is a great start to understand the agencies involved, your role, what to pack and how to prepare. Be sure to read through the section on the deployment checklists. Here's an example list of your non-radio, go-kit items. Arguably more inclusive, is the Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide. Excellent resource to have at the ready.

How will you deploy? What will your role be? There are numerous questions to ask yourself. First and foremost, are you planning for a particular style of deployment or will you plan for multiple?

  • Will you be at a base station?
  • Will you be mobile?
  • What about a field deployment?
What modes of communication will you provide?
  • ATV video?
  • HSMM IP services?
  • HF?
  • Digital messaging?
  • NBEMS? Be CERTAIN to review this guide from the Wellington Radio Club.

How long will you be deployed? Will food be provided or, are you responsible for it?
  • Overnight?
  • A few days?
  • A couple of weeks?
The answers to these questions will determine what and how much to pack. In general, you should prepare to be self-sufficient.

What about the forms and documents you'll need? For this area, the ARES ICS-205 is officially maintained at the PBDARES site. JLRG also maintains an EmComm library.

Will you know how to operate the radio at your deployment site? JLRG maintains documents repository with information on antenna, ICS forms, transceiver manuals, etc. One of the more important sections here will be the trasceiver operation. Locally, Palm Beach County has deployed the Yaesu FT-8800. You should also bring a copy of the manual for your personal radio.

It's a great idea to make paper copies of the forms. Additionally, if you will be providing a portable computer at the deployment site, you may opt to place key documents on a flash drive to carry with you.

How about power? Bringing your own? Can you recharge it? Will you be able to interoperate with other power sources onsite? Keep in mind the standard connector for ARES deployments is Anderson PowerPole. If you haven't already, it's a great idea to go ahead and adopt your power supplies and radio connections to the 30A PowerPole connectors.

Providing your own battery? Keep in mind lead-acid batteries produce a potentially explosive gas while charging. It's best to use an alternative battery type such as AGM or LiFePO or LiPo. Keep in mind that Lithium batteries can be ruined by over discharging and require specialized charging circuits to balance the internal cells. We recommend AGM which are designed as a deep cycle battery.

Solar/PV? Great idea, but keep in mind you'll need to calculate the panel output vs battery size vs duty-cycle (rate-of-consumption.) Recharging your HT battery is a lot different than recharging a pair of deep-cycle AGMs. Also, will you be in a location where you can get to a generally southern-facing sky to maximize the PV production? How many panels will you need? What's the weight Where will you need to transport them to on-scene? You'll need to size your battery and reserve capacity such that you will have enough to get through the late afternoon, evening and early morning before the sun returns to "charging power."

There will be multiple agencies coming together to respond to a large disaster. A system has been developed that helps to get everyone speaking the same language and working in the same fashion in order to foster a more effective team. That's the Incident Command System (ICS.) Are you trained? You need to complete some basic ICS training including the IS-700a, IS-100b, IS-800b and IS-200b.