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 To apply for ARES membership. Click here to download the application.  The form can be filled out on-liner and then printed. After printing, make sure you sign it and then  and then get it to the local ARES coordinator.


The following is the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Chester County ARES.  Please read the policy through completely and you will understand what to do in the case of a local emergency/disaster.  Also, if you have not yet registered with Chester County ARES and would like to be involved, please e-mail myself (Richard Heismann, AJ4VZ, to request an ARES Registration Form and we will be glad to get you registered.

If you would like a Microsoft Word document with the SOP click Here

Leadership Official

Richard Heismann
Emergency Coordinator, Chester County, Tennessee
1355 Cox Rd, Henderson TN, 38340  (731) 608-4682

                                                                                                (Revised)   July 25, 2013


Chester County ARES/RACES Operating Procedures

In the event a disaster of any nature affecting radio communications to one or more agencies in the City of Henderson or Chester County occurs, the following Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) will be implemented:

 All ARES members, and licensed amateurs, should immediately monitor the repeater frequency (147.105) in the event of a local emergency/disaster, or when the treat of severe weather for the area is immanent. 


Upon being contacted by Chester County Emergency Management, or other authority, a net is to be activated on the 147.105+  local repeater.  Should the repeater be down, the repeater frequency will be used for direct (simplex) communication.  An alternate simplex frequency of 146.460 will also be utilized.  Additional net frequencies will be issued by the Net Control Station as necessary.

 NOTE:  RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) Nets can ONLY be activated for “Civil Emergencies” and only under the authority of the Chester County Emergency Management Director.  ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) Operators will be used in most instances.  (See: RACES ACTIVATION below)


The Net Control Station is responsible for:

  1. Opening the net on the primary net frequency, or alternate frequency.
  2. Maintaining order on the net.
  3. Assign stations and “tactical callsigns” to the specific locations requested by the incident commander/emergency management official.
  4. Maintain an up-to-date list of all stations and tactical callsigns assigned to the different locations.
  5. Maintain an up-to-date list of all radio amateurs checked into the net for availability.
  6. Assign relief operators at the assigned locations as needed.


Tactical callsigns will be used in addition to the individual callsigns of the operators assigned to specific locations for official communication.  These tactical callsigns will be assigned by the net control and will reflect the location/duties of the assigned operator.  For example: AJ4VZ might be assigned to operate the station at the Chester County Emergency Operations Center… and the tactical callsign would be “Chester County EOC.”  The Net Control operator would use the tactical callsign “Net Control.”  These would be used in addition to the Amateur Callsign required for legal identification every ten minutes. 


Registered Chester County ARES Operators may be dispatched to the following locations:

NOTE:  It may be necessary to utilize volunteer operators who are not ARES/RACES members.  However, registered ARES members will be used as “Primary” communicators. 

  1. Chester County Emergency Management Office (EOC), basement of Public Safety Building behind courthouse.  This may serve as the net control location or a traffic handling location.
  2. If the EOC is damaged, or if it is determined that a field EOC is required, ARES members will man that location.
  3. The East Chester Elementary School will be used as the primary shelter location for the county during a disaster.  ARES personnel will be asked to man the shelter for traffic handling.
  4. ARES operators may be required at the Central Dispatch office for Chester County. 
  5. The Chester County Executive and/or Henderson City Mayor may request an operator accompany them as needed.
  6. Other possible locations include, but are not limited to: Incident Command Center, Southwest Electric, Henderson Utilities, Fire Station, law enforcement, Red Cross Operations Center…
  7. On-site evaluation (damage assessment) of affected areas.

 NOTE: This is not to be taken as a complete list of all agencies that may require our assistance with communications.  This is only a guide of what our operators may expect to be called upon for service.


In all instances, ARES/RACES operators are NOT to interfere with the business being handled by the entities we are supporting.

  1. When you arrive at an assigned location, notify the person in charge of that area that you are there and are ready to provide communications. 
  2. Ask where would be the best place for you to locate, out of the way, but available when needed. 
  3. Operators should check-in with Net Control when arriving at an assigned location and when being relieved by another operator or released by the person in charge of that area.


  1. Once regular communications are re-established, (if applicable) notify Net Control and inform the person in charge of that area that you are leaving if further assistance is not required.  DO NOT leave your assigned area until relieved by a relief operator or until released by the person in charge of that area, or re-assigned or relieved of your duties by Net Control.
  2. Inform Net Control when you are once again available for further assistance.
  3. Operators are to adhere to all applicable FCC rules and regulations, including keeping a written record of all third party traffic handled.  Remember, we are only to provide communications where normal means do not exist or are overloaded  (Simulated Emergency Test apply).


When requested, the Chester County Emergency Management Director will become the Emergency Communications Coordinator upon RACES activation.  The ARES EC will act as a liaison between the EMA Director and RACES personnel.  All ARES personnel will change to RACES operators and will provide communication assistance as directed.  (All Chester County ARES members have a dual registration with RACES).


Henderson-Chester County Emergency Management

Amateur Radio communications is a valuable resource to have available in event of any emergency. It can be used to augment other communication services and could even be possibly the only communications available, should a large-scale, acute disaster occur. It is conceivable that an emergency could occur in Henderson-Chester County that would require RACES operations, when other communications modes were severely overloaded, or even non-existent. With this in mind, the Henderson-Chester County RACES plan was developed. Amateur Radio Operators thus utilized will be known as RACES, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service.

The Local Emergency Management Director will appoint a Technician Class Amateur Radio Operator or higher class licensee to serve as local RACES officer (LRO). The LRO will conduct drills and generally oversee RACES operations locally. The LRO will also keep lists of operators and available equipment and resources to support the local RACES program, keep log of drills and pertinent traffic during actual emergencies, assign other RACES personnel of their duty stations, etc. All RACES operators are volunteers and provide their communications expertise and service without pay or compensation.

The Henderson-Chester County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is equipped with Very High Frequency (VHF) 2-meter RACES equipment. VHF operations will be on Frequency Modulation (FM).

Local use of 2 meter VHF
A 2 meter repeater is located in the EOC. In actual emergencies, this repeater will be used to enhance local RACES communications. The operating frequency is 147.105+ Mhz. In event that the repeater is inoperative during an emergency, the simplex frequency of 147.105 Mhz. will be used. The alternate frequency of 146.520 can also be implemented
as needed. A spare repeater on the frequency of 147.105+ is available for immediate use if the main repeater develops problems.

Expanded Distance Use of 2 meter VHF
Communication to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) in Jackson, TN for severe weather operations and other emergencies will be conducted on the Jackson Amateur Repeater on the frequency of 147.210+ Mhz. The alternate system will be on the Medina Repeater on the frequency of 146.970- Mhz. Should all repeaters be inoperable, the frequency of 146.520 Mhz. smplex will be used. Severe weather watches and warnings will normally be handled on 147.210+ Mhz.

Operation – VHF
The local 2 meter net will be exercised once per month, or as determined by the LRO. The 2 meter net can be used for local operations, or extended into adjacent counties. Primary use of the 2 meter net will be tailored for local needs: for instance, from Command Post to EOC, from shelter to shelter, from shelter to EOC, for severe weather spotting, etc.

Primary notification of RACES personnel will be by monitoring the Henderson repeater frequency of 147.105+. The local Emergency Management Director, who is also a RACES operator, will broadcast the notification over the repeater. Alternate notification will be through the dispatcher of the Chester County Sheriff’s Department, using a telephone call-out list, upon receipt of request from the Henderson-Chester County EMA Director.

Upon notification the LRO (or other designated RACES operator/s) will proceed to the EOC (or possible other location) to activate the local 2 meter emergency net. The net can be activated and placed in active status or standby status, as needed. The LRO will maintain a radio log, showing times, locations, traffic, messages, message numbers, etc.

The base RACES station at the EOC will be operated by the LRO or his designated appointee. The LRO can assign other RACES operators to serve at Command Posts, shelters, or wherever they are needed, depending upon the availability of operators.

All operations will be in complete accordance to Amateur Radio Rules and Regulations, Part 97, as published by the Federal Communications Commission. In the event of National Emergency, such as nuclear attack, RACES will be operated only under special FCC provisions.

Chester County Storm-Spotters Weather Net
SKYWARN is a program directly related to the National Weather Service. Our nearest reporting office is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Active storm-spotters are needed in Chester county for the tracking,  reporting and damage assessment of severe weather. The Chester County Weather Net is activated during severe weather on 147.105. Contact Mike Burkhead or Ron Means for more information on becoming an official storm-spotter for Chester county.