Amateur Radio

Here you will find information on the amateur radio capabilities used for emergency communications in the county!

Benton County owns a 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 on the repeater to test the equipment, range of the repeater, and work with the individuals willing to provide their services.

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.  It does not currently have Echolink, but the local amateur radio club (D.A.R.K. Dam Amateur Radio Klub) will be adding the equipment and maintaining the cost of providing the Echolink service shortly.

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.

MEETING UPDATES

December 21, 2018 – The Trailer Team was able to install rubber flooring, which will aid in creating electrical isolation, an external power outlet, which will serve as the place to connect the generator to the trailer to provide power to the entire trailer at once, and member Ken Vining (KE0QAL) utilized software to produce a floor plan and rendering of the trailer! You can see in the images below how we hope the trailer will appear when completed!

Part of the BC ARES trailer team includes Fred Woodman (KE0QEC), Ken Vining (KE0QAL), and Samantha Henley (KE0LMY).

December 20, 2018 – We have our first official sponsors for the Em Comm trailer! Dan’s RV Sales, Crainshaw Supply, Inc, and Lowe’s have all contributed essential items to the project! We will begin installing a few items in the trailer at the meeting tomorrow. We will also be taking advantage of the assistance of a design program to illustrate the floor plan and model for the trailer. This will allow us to show images of what we hope will be a great workspace to use during exercises, shows, and emergencies.

December 5, 2018 – Initial meeting of the BC ARES Trailer Team included Ken and Barb Vining and Fred Woodman along with Deputy Director Sam Henley, who spearheaded the Trailer Project.  A timeline was set, sponsors were discussed and some were secured, and an initial layout for the trailer will be turned in prior to the next meeting on December 17, 2018.  If you are a BC ARES member and wish to join the Trailer Team, please Contact Us.