Amateur Radio

Here you will find information on the amateur radio capabilities used for emergency communications and more in Benton County, MO!

Benton County, MO owns an amateur radio repeater which is maintained by our office.  It is open to all regular amateur radio use on a daily basis. 

During emergencies, the repeater is called into service to provide redundant communications in case primary forms of communications are overwhelmed, inoperable, or inaccessible.  The Benton County, MO Amateur Radio Emergency Service (BC ARES) assists the county by providing amateur radio operators who are trained and willing to use the resources and their abilities to assist the county during those times.  The BC ARES has a weekly net every Sunday night at 7 PM local time on the repeater to test the equipment, range of the repeater, and work with the individuals and volunteers willing to provide their services to our great county!

Copy of BC MO ARES 2

The repeater’s frequency is 146.925 (-) PL 107.2 and is operated under our callsign, WBØEM (our callsign trustee is Deputy Director Samantha Henley KEØLMY).  It is located in Warsaw, MO, with the antenna located on the water tower.  It is an analog repeater. 

EchoLink has been restored! Our local amateur radio club, (D.A.R.K. Dam Amateur Radio Klub KEØTGG), has added the equipment and is maintaining the cost of providing the Echolink service.  The EchoLink ID is WBØEM-L and our node number is 459916.  For more information, please visit the BC ARES website by clicking here.

We would like to thank Jason Wood (KCØKWL) of the Northside Amateur Radio Club and the BC ARES for his continued efforts to upkeep the hardware and make adjustments to the system.

We would like to thank James Adkins (KBØNHX) and the Missouri Repeater Council for their assistance in bringing the repeater online after the purchase.  They have been a great source of information and we look forward to our continued partnership!

In the beginning, we had a white pickup and white 7’x14′ cargo trailer.

The proposed Emergency Communications Trailer Project

Who – Owned and maintained by Benton County, overseen by Benton County, MO Emergency Management Agency and managed by Benton County, MO Amateur Radio Emergency Service via the active Emergency Coordinator.

What – Mobile platform equipped with amateur radio equipment, county radio equipment and MOSWIN radio equipment.

When – To be used for exhibitions, training, exercises & real-world events and emergencies.

Where – Benton County

Why – Provides failsafe backup communications capable of communicating and messaging within Benton County as well as to the State Emergency Management Agency, other agencies, affiliates, partners, and businesses equipped with amateur radio equipment and operators, the Missouri Traffic Net, and the Missouri Emergency Service Net.

A communications trailer, as described above, gives the county the ability for the trailer to travel to any location within the county to deliver messages to and from the site of any exercise or real-world incident to the emergency operations center from the Incident Commander.  From there, the messages (or traffic) are delivered directly to the State Emergency Management Agency, our affiliates, partners, the Missouri Traffic Net, and the Missouri Emergency Service Net. Incident commanders have expressed the need to have the capability co-located with incident command given the workload and need for immediate access to information and requests.  This was made abundantly clear during the recent Active Shooter Exercise in August. It would also provide an outlet to move secondary traffic to during emergencies to clear the primary channels. This asset will be used to train amateur radio emergency service personnel in exercises associated with hazardous materials and other emergencies, providing a specialized resource as redundant communication for Benton County.  VHF, UHF, and HF capabilities, as well as digital and other forms of equipment, would be available in the trailer.  An additional mobile repeater would be installed so messages could be easily moved from “dead zones” which affect all cell phones and radios, including those of first responders. This project is not meant to replace primary communications or be a stand in for dispatchers. It is meant to provide a failsafe, redundant communication system should all other means of communication fail or become inaccessible in some way.

Potentially, the trailer would be available for any and all safety fairs, amateur radio shows, local events such as Jubilee Days and Heritage Days, and more, to help illustrate to the public the efforts of those in the county to work together on their behalf to insure the safety of those who may be impacted during emergencies.  The trailer would also be available for any and all training and exercise efforts made by and for first responders for hazardous material and other exercises.


Exercises


2019 Benton County Active Shooter Exercise


Events


Heritage Days

Lincoln 4th of July and 150th Celebration

2019 ARRL Field Day in Johnson County, MO as part of the Tri-County, Tri-Group Team! (More photos to come!)


Meetings


The BC MO EM applied for items for the Em Comm trailer through the Emergency Management Performance Grant at the beginning of 2019. The EMPG money arrived and we were able to bring a load of equipment into the Em Comm trailer before the end of September 2019.

Our next step is to redesign part of the layout to better suit the use of the trailer based on actual field use and testing during events and exercises in Benton County and beyond this year. The new layout will also be wheelchair accessible!

Thank you to the members of the BC ARES Trailer Team for your efforts!

We appreciate the efforts and understanding provided by the ARRL and Ares!

Here is a small example of the information used in the ARRL EC 016 Training Program:

The Emergency Manager has the statutory power, and statutory responsibility, to coordinate these operations. The essential activity in this job is management of resources during emergencies. An ARES unit is a volunteer emergency communication resource.

Some ARES units have attached themselves, by mutual consent, to Emergency Management departments. The county Emergency Manager allocates the ARES unit’s communication resources during emergencies just like any other important resource. The EM tells the EC where communications links are most needed. The EC then does all the usual tasks of an EC – assigning operators and equipment, making relief schedules, and so on.

This arrangement has several benefits.

First, the EC does not have to develop and maintain multiple served agency relationships. The ARES unit is simply a volunteer arm of Emergency Management and serves any other agencies as the Emergency Manager assigns them.

Second, the person who knows best what is needed and where, and who has the statutory job to meet those needs – the Emergency Manager – decides which communication task(s) are assigned to the ARES unit. The EC does not have to decide, for example, that it is more important to serve the American Red Cross than The Salvation Army during a particular incident.

Third, the ARES unit may be afforded a meeting place in the Emergency Operations Center, maintained under the Department of Emergency Management. Some ARES units have even been given a separate “emergency communications center” – a room where Amateur Radio and public service radio equipment is stored and operated. Some Emergency Managers have allocated funds in their budgets to purchase Amateur Radios and antennas to support the mission of their attached ARES groups. As trust and mutual respect develops, Amateurs are sometimes given even greater responsibility. At least one EC has been made Deputy Director of Emergency Management, a volunteer position with even greater opportunity to serve the public in time of need. Again, plenty of advance planning is a must. The most successful EC will be the one who develops a solid working relationship with the County EM so that a predetermined set of guidelines and expectations can be met.

Finally, there is training. Attachment to Emergency Management opens doors to a huge opportunity for emergency training at the local, state, and federal levels. The Emergency Manager can authorize enrollment in a number of web-based and classroom courses offered at the state or national level. Such training also assures both the EC and the County EM that our amateur operators are trained in all of the procedures that they will need should an actual emergency present itself.