WVARES Comm Plan


NOVEMBER 1, 2015

WVARES Communication Plan


The purpose of this communication plan is to provide a framework for conducting statewide ARES emergency communications operations, integrating regional and local communications plans into this statewide communications plan.
The purpose of ARES is to provide communications service during times of a communications emergency and public service activities where no established communications links exist, or to supplement existing systems.


ARES Districts: ARES subdivisions of West Virginia Sections. Each district is managed by a DEC.

ARES NET: On the air exchange of information between stations. The primary function of the NET is to pass emergency traffic and tactical information during emergencies and to conduct training during non-emergency periods.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES): A volunteer organization sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) to provide communications in times of emergencies. All ARES volunteers are FCC licensed Amateur Radio operators, who have registered their capabilities and equipment and have been trained in public service emergency communications to serve as emergency communicators.

American Radio Relay League (ARRL): National organization to promote the Amateur Radio Service in the United States. Membership is open to all; full membership is open to anyone who holds a valid Amateur Radio Service license.

Amateur Radio Service: As defined in Part 97 of the Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations; “voluntary noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.”

Client Agencies: Governmental or non-profit agencies and organizations with which WVARES or the ARRL has formal agreements to serve during a declared or non-declared emergency or event.

RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service): A radio communication service of volunteer licensed amateurs specifically designed to provide emergency communications to local or state civil preparedness agencies. RACES is administered by civil authorities and not the ARRL. RACES is activated only by the authority of local, or state civil preparedness agencies. Although ARES and RACES are separate entities, dual membership is encouraged. State and local authorities reserve the right to select and approve of those who operate under their authority. The State of West Virginia RACES Officer is the DHSEM-appointed administrator of the State RACES program.

West Virginia Amateur Radio Emergency Service (WVARES): The ARES organization that has jurisdiction in the West Virginia Section.

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management): The State agency that is responsible for emergency command and control during declared disasters and major emergencies for West Virginia Amateur Radio Emergency Service: WVDHSEM is responsible for administering Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).

West Virginia Section: A geographically defined subdivision of the ARRL. The United States and its possessions are divided into 71 sections, each managed by a section manager.


An ARES communicator who assists an EC. This person is appointed by the EC.

A WVARES leadership official who has the responsibility for a District within the WV Section…The SEC appoints this person.

An ARES Communicator who has leadership responsibility within a district…The SEC appoints this person.

ARRL leadership official appointed by the Section Manager to Supervise all ARES units/groups in the section.

Elected official of the ARRL responsible for the operation of a section.


LEVEL 1: A potential for an emergency exists. Members should monitor their local ARES net frequencies and the WV Section web site http://www.wvarrl.com for information and activation.

LEVEL 2: An unusual condition exists that has caused state officials to declare a warning.
Members should monitor their local net, telephone and email for additional information on
activation by the EC…A statewide HF net may be initiated with additional activation information
as required.

LEVEL 3: The highest state of alert. An emergency exists and the need for volunteer operators
and radio equipment resources will be requested. WVDHSEM may activate RACES. At this class of emergency, management and resources are transferred to the RACES Radio Officer.


In West Virginia the ARES and Races organizations are separate entities that are designed to work together seamlessly. In WV, ARES and Races members hold dual membership. When an emergency is declared in the State of West Virginia requiring the activation of RACES, Operators act on behalf of the Governor at the direction of RO. Those ARES operators who were previously qualified to operate under RACES may be asked to switch roles and operate as RACES operators. These operators may be asked to man certain critical-designated State of West Virginia Communications positions including operating non-Amateur Radio communications systems, telephone systems or shadowing key emergency response operations personnel. This position will require advanced EM Sponsored training. Under the guidelines of ESF-2 a RACES request for ARES resources is to be made by the director of DHSEM or designee to the WVARES Section Emergency Coordinator.


All WVARES districts plans are to be integrated with the WVARES plan and must be submitted to the SEC with the revision date marked on each page. Plans should be reviewed quarterly to insure accuracy.


Any amateur who suspects a communications emergency exists should contact their EC/DEC as
soon as possible.

The EC/DEC, or designee, will authorize the activation of their district as appropriate.
The EC/DEC, or designee will activate the district notification plan and initiate a local net on the assigned repeater or simplex frequency.
The local ARES net will act as a stand-alone net unless additional resources are required to support the local activity. Additional nets may be required to coordinate the management of resources into, and out of, the affected area.
The EC/DEC, or designee will contact the SEC should additional resources be required to support served agencies within their jurisdictions. It will be the responsibility of the SEC, or designee, to activate additional ARES districts to support activities within the affected area.
If the activation is contained to their local area, it will be the responsibility of the EC/DEC to de-activate the local net as the condition warrant. Under no circumstances shall a WVARES district self-terminate from an activation or drill without approval of the EC/DSC.
The EC/DEC, or designee, will notify the section Emergency Coordinator of all local activations within 8 hours of the beginning of the activation.


The WVARES Activation Plan will be initiated for all Level 2 and Level 3 emergencies.
The SEC will activate WVARES after notification by the appropriate client agency or by leadership within a WVARES District that the emergency exists.

A WVARES HF Net will be initiated and maintained for the duration of the emergency.
Each WVARES district will appoint a liaison to the statewide HF net when a Level 2 or Level 3 emergency is declared.
District ARES nets will be established according to their district plans operating on their normal or backup frequencies.


WVARES and all nets associated with the activation will operate until the termination notice is given by the SEC or his/hers designate. The termination notice will be given on the statewide WVARES net and will be relayed to all activated districts.
If the situation warrants, a WVARES district can request to terminate operations prior to the WVARES termination notice being given by the SEC. The SEC will evaluate the situation, and if appropriate, grant the district an early termination from the activation or drill. Under no circumstances shall a WVARES district self-terminate from activation or drill without approval of the DSC.


If the emergency dictates very rapid communications, it is permissible to operate in a tactical format that would allow for informal message format and station identifiers.
In other operations, traffic may be written out in the appropriate ARRL or DHSEM format. If messages are to be sent via the ARRL National Traffic System the ARRL format MUST be used.
All nets will operate as Directed Nets.


The statewide ARES HF net will be exercised at the conclusion of the WVFone Net on the first Thursday of each month, on or about 3810kHz.

ARES members are encouraged to participate in ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses to ensure that members are qualified to assist in an emergency.

District ARES nets will be established according to their district plans on their assigned or backup frequencies unless directed otherwise.

District and WVARES plans will be exercised and reviewed on an annual basis and updated as necessary.
Should an on-air training session contain a simulation scenario, the words “this is a drill” shall be used, at the beginning and end of each transmission for the duration of the drill.


The information contained in this plan is to be used as a guide. It is not the intent of this document to limit district plans. Any conflicts between this plan and any district plan must be reconciled and approved by the SEC.
WVARES is organized to provide communications services only. Radio operators on duty are under no obligation to serve in any other capacity. Any operator who chooses to serve in a different capacity or function must first seek approval from WVARES leadership prior to leaving ARES control to perform in another function. Any help to served agency, within reason, without causing the potential for harm to the ARES volunteer, may be performed as long as the primary communication function does not suffer.
The authenticity, correction and additions of all messages are the sole responsibility of the originating authority. ARES operators are not permitted to alter the content of a message without the authorization of the originating authority. The content of all messages should be considered confidential.
A radio operator should report conditions as he observes them. Such observations are considered those of a layperson and should be treated in that context.
Saved or printed copies of this document are not considered current. Current content of this document may only be obtained from the official WV ARRL Section website: http://www.wvarrl.com  WVARES COM PLAN