Joint ARES/ARC Exercise Planned – Nov 14

Our next operating event is an exercise wherein ARES units nationwide will be providing communications support to the American Red Cross. Due to covid concerns, this has been designed as an individual activity rather than a group exercise. All ARES members are asked to review the incident action plan, which has been sent to all via the reflector, and originate a Winlink message as described in the plan some time between 0900 and 1800 local time on Saturday. Should you do so, please cc W3TDH so we have a count of how many of our members participated. The exercise permits you to send your message via any Winlink mode, including telnet mode. So every MC ARES member should have the technical means at your disposal to participate.

The instructions in the plan are self-explanatory, but there are a few points to note.

As Tom noted in his email, please address your Winlink message (with the attached ARC-213 form) to the tactical call sign “ARCATLANTIC.” You should also include that tactical call sign as the “To Address” in the ARC-213 form. And please send a cc of your Winlink message to “W3TDH” so we have a count of how many of our members participated.

In the body of the ICS-213 you create, please identify yourself as participating in the exercise as an solo operator, not as a team. In future exercises of this type, we might plan a joint activity with our local Red Cross chapter, but for this exercise, Montgomery County ARES is simply encouraging our members to participate on their own.

If you get stuck, call Tom or a Winlink-savvy friend. Or just give a holler on the repeater. Chances are, someone will be listening who can give you a hand.

2020 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET)

Montgomery County ARES participated in the Section-wide over the course of three weekends in late September and early October. The exercise, designed and directed by Maryland/DC Section Emergency Manager WB3KAS, involved surveillance of USGS/NOAA river gauges throughout the state. Montgomery County ARES members visited seven gauges and collected data on the exact location of each gauge, safe access routes, condition of each gauge, and water levels in the associated streams or rivers. In some cases, the gauge was located on or near a highway bridge crossing the waterway in question. In other cases, a short hike was required to reach the gauge.

Reporting of collected data (including photos) was done via Winlink. Deployed operators were tracked using APRS.

The photo shows a structure housing a gauge on The Patuxent River. This was a particularly pleasant exercise to participate in, given the beautiful Fall weather.

Thanks to the following participants: W3ADP, W3CID, KB3CJJ, KB2JG, N3QYJ, W3TDH, KN3U, and WB2U.

Special Election to Fill Open Position on the MCACS Board

Update — A candidate for the open board seat has not yet emerged. Please consider serving in this position.

MCACS members are reminded that a special election is under way to fill a vacant at-large position on the MCACS board of directors. You may nominate yourself or another, but all nominees must be Full Members of MCACS. In addition, nominees must agree to serve before being placed on the ballot. So if you are going to nominate someone else, please confirm that they are willing to serve before submitting their name.

Please think about upping your level of involvement in MCACS. You don’t need a ton of experience, just a willingness to put in a modest amount of time toward advancing our mission. None of us was an expert when we started in this game. We learn as we go.

The election will be conducted entirely by email. Here is the plan:

  • You may submit your nomination by sending an email to our president ( no later than <date TBD>.
  • We will give the candidates a week to submit a statement, should they choose to do so. 
  • On <date TBD>, a member of the board will announce the slate of candidates on our weekly net, and ballots will be sent to all voting members of MCACS. (Remember, you must be a Full Member to vote.)
  • We will establish a deadline of <date TBD> for returning ballots via email.
  • The winner will be announced after the ballots have been counted.

MCACS vs. ARES — What is the Relationship?

The relationship between MCACS and ARES has been a point of confusion for many new (and not-so-new) members of MCACS for some time. There is a lot of background material under the heading of About MCACS in the website menu at the top of the page, but it has been suggested that this particular topic needs more prominent placement. So we have added a new website page explaining this relationship, with a link to the new material in the menu. Here is a shortcut to the new material.