Another very important aspect of ham radio is public service, where hams provide their communications skills to support public safety and security in activities such as:

ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Services 

The following chart shows upcoming events related to ARES, in reverse chronological order. In some cases, the More Information column contains a link to a more detailed description.


Date Event More Information
Fri Aug 17 - Sun Aug 20  STAREX 2017 Exercise  Big exercise: Details TBA
Monday May 8 Emergency Preparedness Week Kickoff - AlertLondon Announced Details Here. Recommended for all Hams
Sat Feb 18 - Sun Feb 19  IMS 200 Course IMS 100 is prerequisite
Byron EOC 08:30 - 14:30
Needed by ARES leaders
No charge
Feb 9 - Thursday LARC Meeting - ARES presentation Details TBA
Feb 8 - Wednesday City of London Marconi-Braun Exercise Details here
Sat Jan 28 - Sun Jan 29 Basic Emergency Management (BEM)Course Presented by Ont. Fire Marshall 2 days, 08:30 - 14:30
Held at Byron EOC
Congrats Paul VE3PFN for attending and passing


Alert London

At the Kickoff meeting on May 8 for Emergency Preparedness week, the mayor announced a new emergency alert system for the city of London. It looks like they've done a good job, and it's a good idea for Hams, especially ARES folks to sign up.

The information and sign-up page is:    London.ca/AlertLondon

To sign up you'll need to have this info handy:

   -a new username (I used dougelliott)

   -an 8 character password with letters and digits

   -places you'll likely be located (I put my home address. You can do several.)

   -a confirmation question/answer (I used my city of birth)

   -a list of alert notification methods, in priority order. I chose:

       1) personal email

       2) text message to my cell phone

       3) phone call to my cell phone


    Doug Elliott  VA3DAE

Back to Calendar


City of London Marconi-Braun Exercise Wednesday Feb 8

The following information is mostly taken from the City of London documentation for this exercise, and a lot of it isn't relevant for the ARES support effort. Although the background information is useful, the following sections are the most pertinent for ARES support purposes:

Master Event List

ARES Contact List

Notes for ARES Participation

ARES Glossary and Acronym List


 The aim of this exercise is to train, exercise and practice: radio communication and information technology interoperability for first responders and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The goal
is to produce a London Communication Annex (Plan)

The scope:
Exercise Marconi-Braun is designed as a functional exercise: walk through, talk through practical exercise (crawl - walk - run).

The exercise includes interoperability between first responders at the site, the site to the EOC, agency Information Technology and Audio Visual at the EOC, and confirmation of standard operating procedures / guidelines.

of the exercise will include:

-activate the EOC and set up Public Information Center (PIC)
-deployment of the London Police Services (LPS) Community Communication Vehicle (CCV) and video stream
-LPS Local Area Network (LAN) in the EOC
-Video Conferencing call with Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)
-Radio Interoperability on Harris LIMS channels
-Radio check with First Responders (on duty) with LIMS 1 and LCOM 1
-Amateur radio back-up emergency communications and IT capabilities


-Exercise and train streaming video from the CCV to EOC, EOC to PEOC

  • as backup Skype video
  • IT from City and LPS requirements for firewalls
  • video conference with Ontario Fire Marshall Emergency Management (OFMEM) (EMO) PEOC

-Exercise LPS LAN computer access in the EOC

  • confirmation of serviceability
  • orange network cables require LPS IT activation (SOP??)

-Provide an opportunity for first responder to conduct radio communications on the Harris LIMS radio channel

  • radio check on LIMS 1 and LCOM 1
  • LIMS channel w/ LPS, LFD, EMS portable (City) Dispatch radio units
  • establish protocol, net control, SOP/SOG

-Test and confirm communication between agency dispatches, agency/services operation centres and agencies including Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

  • Radio, phone/call
  • Patching calls, links, etc

-Amateur radio check from City to NGO including MLHU and OFMEM

  • never done from City to EMO, LFD, MLHU, or SATERN
  • training for ARES and NGOs

Exercise Participation
will include members of:

-City ITS
-London EOC
-NGO's: ARES Salvation Army, SATERN, MLHU

Recommended Preparation

-review London Emergency Response Plan (URL)
-consider potential impact of communications, interoperability, back up of resources (Murphy's Law), critical infrastructure and essential communications of our City
-examine your own (Agency) internal plans and procedures
-review EOC plans and procedures
-Utilize Egan Team Board (electronic whiteboard) as emergency mapping
-meet and greet
-practice of current day IC / Unified Command team (LPS, LFD and EMS)

Exercise Activity

The exercise will be guided by the creation of a Master Events List (MEL) describing activities and incidents used by the Directing Staff (DS)

Phase 1: stream video from the LPS CCV to the EOC, set up PIC

Phase 2: radio communications between first responders and the IC on the Harris LIMS channel; video conference

Phase 3: communication between operation centres and dispatch centres

Phase 4: radio checks (amateur radio) with EMO ARES and NGOs

Logistics and Administration

Location: Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) 275 Boler Road (Byron Firehall)

Equipment and Supplies: Participants should come prepared with radios and SOPs, IMS 201 form or any other tactical command sheets, Department/Agency support plans

Parking: EOC or Library parking lots

Refreshments and Meals: Refreshments will be served and lunch will be provided


  • IC: A designated Incident Commander will be delegated
  • EOC, video link, radios, EOC LAN networks, ITS support
  • In the event of a real emergency The exercise Director will call an immediate end to the exercise. Real emergency messages must be prefaces the words "NO DUFF"
  • Public information: TBC Corporate Communications has been requested to prepare a news release about the exercise fro dissemination to the public through the media.
  • cellular phones, Blackberries and pagers canbe exercised

Exercise Debriefing and Post Exercise Report

-details to be finalized
-may include central debriefing at end of day
-each agency should review own activities
-debriefing and evaluation should include following points of view:

  • was the exercise well planned and controlled
  • did it meet its aim, was it conducted effectively
  • what were the difficulties, what could be improved
  • does the emergency plan work?


Summarized Master Event List (NOT FINAL)

Serial Time Activity IC Remarks HAM Activity
1 830-900 set up PIC, email PEOC   CCV to arrive set up prep camera on tower, ITS prepare video link  
2 930 downtown camera video & city facilities CCV video checks
Skype test with Salvation Army
     CCV only around in morning - must do radio check early
3 1000 Video con with PEOC
Fax PEOC test
     maybe start hospital checks
4 1030 Stream LPS video from CCV (ICP) into EOC, skype test, wifi      
5 1100 LPS LAN network connections, test in EOC      
6 1100 Frist responder radio check on LIMS1, LCOM1
Skype with Red Cross
    may involve hams at MLHU
7 1130 Teleconference with MLHU, Hospitals, City Hall, county, etc      
8 1200 Lunch      
9 1300 Communications check with dispatches (Phone) /Radio, etc      
10 1330 Radio Check with all dispatches      
11 1400 Amateur Radio check with EMO, Satern, LFD, County, MLHU, hospitals, etc ARES   may have done some of these earlier
12 1500 Hot Wash Review, After Action Report      



ARES Contacts and Locations for Exercise Marconi Braun


 Ref# Name & Location-Station Address
1 CACC Central Ambulance Communications Centre - London 1510 Woodcock St, suite 20 London, ON. N6H 5S1
2 UH LHSC University Hospital 339 Windermere
3 St. Joseph’s Health Care London Grosvenor St 268 Grosvenor Street
4 City Hall SOC (aka Commissioners) Security Operations Centre Dufferin Ave
5 EMS Middlesex London Emergency Medical Services 340 Waterloo Street, London N6B 2N6
6 LPS 911 Centre London Police Service London Police Service HQ 601 Dundas Street
7 MLHU Middlesex London Health Unit M-L Health Unit 50 King St, London
8 Salvation Army King St
9 EESD – City Dispatch Environmental & Engineering Services Department aka City Public Works Yard A.J Tyler Operations Centre 663 Bathurst St, London ON N5Z 1P8 519-661-2500X4582
10 ESS CHOCC Emergency Social Services Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre (Reception Centre) 656 Elizabeth Street London, ON N5Y 6L3   Adelaide/Oxford
11 VH LHSC Victoria Hospital 800 Commissioners Rd East
12 Middlesex County, and County EOC @ Middlesex County Bldg, 399 Ridout St N, London N6A 2P1
 13 London Fire Department
Fire 911 Centre


Notes for ARES Participation

Here is some information about the ARES role in this exercise:

  • This exercise assumes that electrical power is available, and ham repeaters can be used
  • We will test communications from the Byron EOC to the locations described in the contact list. In effect, we are verifying that each location is able to reach the designated repeaters.
  • We will test from inside the building at each location, at a local EOC location determined by the agency. This may be a specified meeting room, the switchboard room, the security office, or something else
  • For each location, we will provide contact name, phone number, meeting place, and parking information.
  • We will test with hand held transceivers, ideally with 5 watts power and an extended gain antenna
  • We will test both VHF, and UHF. UHF is known to work better in large buildings.
  • We will use the VE3OME repeater for VHF, 145.45 MHz, negative offset, 114.8 PL tone
  • We will use the VE3SUE repeater for UHF, 444.4 MHz, positive offset, 114.8 PL tone
  • testing will be done throughout the day. What ever testing hasn't already been completed by 2PM will be done in the 2 PM time slot in the master event list
  • We need volunteer hams who can be available:
         -in the morning only
         -in the afternoon only
         -for both morning and afternoon
  • If you can take part, or have any questions, please contact Doug Elliott VA3DAE:
        cell:  (519) 630-8925
        email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ARES Glossary and Acronym List





Amateur Radio Emergency Service (Hams)


Audio Visual


Central Ambulance Communications Center


Community Communication Vehicle


Carling Heights Optimist Community Center


Directing Staff


Engineering & Environmental Services Department


City Emergency Planning Dept (incl Henry, Cori & Andre)


Emergency Management Ontario


Emergency Management Services


Emergency Operations Center, usually at Firehall 12 in Byron, London


Emergency Social Services ( Neighbourhood, Childrens & Fire Services). Shelter

Hot Wash

Event Review, Post Mortem


City of London Information Technology Services


Local Area Network (computer connections)


Part of City’s shared 800 MHz radio system


London Emergency Response Plan


London Fire Dept, #1 Station


Part of City’s shared 800 MHz radio system


London Police Services, 601 Dundas at Adelaide


Master Event List – schedule of major activities for the exercise


Middlesex London Health Unit


Non Governmental Organization (Salvation Army, Amateur Radio, etc


Office of the Fire Marshal Emergency Management


Provincial Emergency Operations Center (Toronto)


Public Inquiry Center


Standard Operating Procedure


Standard Operating Procedure / Standard Operating Guidelines


Corporate communications for City of London


The Salvation Army


 Back to Calendar



A.R.E.S. is the 
"Amateur Radio Emergency Service"

A.R.E.S. is a trained group of amateur radio operators willing to assist emergency services and municipal agencies in an emergency or disaster.

They are specialists in various forms of communications modes from computerized packet radio, long distance HF voice and morse code, UHF/VHF voice, and even amateur television. To be an amateur radio operator, Industry Canada requires that individuals pass examinations in technical and regulatory competence. Morse code is not a requirement for entry level licenses, and is not mandatory for long distance and advanced operations. Amateur operators are usually quite distinctive from citizens band (CB) operators who require no training or licensing.

Our members come from various walks of life including police, fire and ambulance services, doctors, nurses, lawyers, radio and computer technicians, former and current military officers etc. In exercise situations we find ourselves being radio resource people for officials in command post and control group locations.

Communications in a Disaster

Communications is often cited as the weakest link in the command and control component of an  emergency.

Experience has shown that in emergency situations, traditional systems become overloaded or are disabled. Groups who normally don't need radio communications such as Social Services, need it. Locations that have not been covered before and now need to be linked can't be because the portables that are being used won't work. Services that don't usually coordinate with each other, need to. People who seldom or never have used a radio are now on them for extended periods of time. Batteries that are used only to monitor for a few hours a day are now pressed into emergency service and fail. Telephone systems become overloaded or fail. Caution should be used when considering cellular phones as a component of your emergency communications system. They are most effective in metropolitan areas. Service outside cities is very limited and is normally restricted to a few phones at a time and concentrated on a transportation corridor. This radio based system could be overloaded during an emergency. These factors can seriously impair emergency/disaster command and control operations.

A lot of key participants only carry portable radios. Usually no one has extra battery packs or chargers. This would mean that there would be a limited life span for their communications. Most batteries are subject to a condition called "memory effect" and, unless they were used for transmitting on a regular basis, would not hold up for more than a couple of hours under emergency conditions. This is applicable for cellular phones as well. At a very minimum, extra batteries and chargers should be available.

Also, portable radios may have problems transmitting out of some locations. Temporary control post locations can have severe problems if they are in buildings constructed mostly of metal. This type of situation can be very frustrating in an emergency. Ideally, base radios should be considered for control group locations, or external antennas with chargers. A suggestion is to have a "global radio" for VHF, one for UHF, and one for 800 mhz (if applicable) to cover area frequencies.

REMEMBER THESE PROBLEMS DO NOT NORMALLY OCCUR IN ANY STANDARD EXERCISE, unless it is a full scale field exercise. This means that the problems can only really be determined in an actual situation. Communications are one of the most critical aspects of handing a disaster, yet they receive little attention in the disaster planning process.

How A.R.E.S. can HELP

Hams have been utilized extensively in major disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, and floods in many parts of the world. Use of amateur radio in Canada has included the Mississauga train derailment, the Barrie tornado, and the Eastern Ontario icestorm, to name a few. To be effective, an Amateur Radio representative should be included in the initial notification of the Emergency Control Group. The A.R.E.S. Emergency Coordinator will initiate a callout of amateur operators to establish a network on a standby basis on a local amateur repeater.

He/she will normally then report to the Emergency Operations Control Group and activate a net control station. In some situations, our involvement may only be until other communications facilities can be established. Other times, it can be until the incident is completed. The A.R.E.S. priorities will be coordinated by the Emergency Coordinator in consultation with the E.O.C.G. members. These may include:

  • providing a common communications link between agencies, control groups or services involved attending the Command Post location
  • being available to provide any required communications around the disaster site itself 
  • establishing assembly areas for responding volunteers outside of the effected area 
  • controlling the assignment of the needed positions 
  • assisting Social Services and Red Cross with Registration and Inquiry communications 
  • providing backup facilities for first responders in the event of loss of radio/phone services 
  • doing long distance relay of status to federal and provincial agencies should outside links be lost 
  • linking Weather Office to Disaster Site or Control Group to provide weather information in situations where weather is a critical factor 
  • supplying a team of trained communicators to assist in any related duty such as manning an evacuation perimeter and providing information linking media to Control Groups to ensure dissemination of factual information to the general public 

Based on priorities, assignment of tasks and availability of personnel/equipment, more "nets" would be set up on the local repeaters, packet radio, amateur TV and HF long distance systems.

The A.R.E.S. Emergency Co-Ordinator would assess the need for additional volunteers and request mutual aid from other amateur radio groups.

A permanent antenna installation, power supply and desk may be necessary in your Control Group location. By providing these facilities, you can have a team of trained communicators at your disposal in an emergency.


ARES Activities
  • Weekly ARES net, Wednesday at 7:30 PM on VE3OME, 145.450 MHz
  • ARES practice exercise, 3rd Wednesday of the month, in place of ARES net
  • Ontario ARES nets




  • Here are the local CANWARN area maps:

    CanwarnGrd1    Essex, Kent, Lambton Counties

    CanwarnGrd2    London, Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Perth

    CanwarnGrd3    Huron, Waterloo, Wellington, Bruce and Grey

    CanwarnGrd4    Hamilton-Wentworth, Haldimand-Norfolk, Niagara, Brant