Welcome to MCAR on the Web!
On behalf of Montgomery County, PA ARES/RACES A.C.S.-RACES (MCAR) welcome to our website! This is the place where our mutual desires to help our community via volunteer service and our collective enjoyment of our hobby come together.
This web site is our team’s web site. The content is about our ARES/RACES A.C.S.-RACES (MCAR) team and your individual passion for service and collective contribution to the team. This site is driven by your need for current, relevant information about the happenings at MCAR as well as the ham radio emergency communications community as a whole.
We give our time and effort to Emergency Communications because we love our communities and want to give back by also providing service doing something we love, ham radio. Hams enjoy giving back to their home towns and communities. We show our communities our commitment to help when we are providing radio support for charitable events like walk-a-thons or bicycle races like the Livestrong Challenge right here in Montgomery County. We also show that commitment when we are at the ready in case of natural or man made disaster to provide auxiliary emergency communications.
The saying “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio” is not just a slogan but something that the men and women of MCAR are committed to on a daily basis. It has been proven in this post September 11th world that when our new high tech communication mediums fail, ham radio still gets the message through.
We all know that ham radio is a great hobby. You get to talk to new and interesting people whether they are around the block or half way around the world. All you need to do is key-up that microphone or tap out some CW on your paddles or telegraph key and you are instantly in contact with someone you never met before.
You can set up wireless e-Mail networks that survive even when the Internet collapses. You can pick up your cell-phone-sized handi-talkie (HT) and chat with people all over the state (or even multiple states) all at once. You can even take that same HT that is D-Star enabled and connect via internet gateways which enable communication to the far corners of the globe from the palm of your hand. Cool stuff for sure!
What makes Ham Radio a great opportunity for public service is that when the cell tower is down after the big storm, when weather events shut off power, and when land line phones are down, ham radio still works and gets the message through! When disaster strikes armed with their portable radios, batteries, and portable antennas, hams come to the assistance of their served agencies and communities when the call goes out.
If this is your first exposure to ham radio, though, please remember this…
There are some hams who may have high powered radios and antenna farms in their backyard but that is just a glimpse into one aspect of this great hobby that offers so much diversity in its different modes of operation. Whether you are into contesting, VHF/UHF, D-Star, digital modes like PSK31, mobile operation, or just talking to your buddy down the road there is a niche in amateur radio for every operator.
If you are a long-time ham operator, we hope this site will spark your curiosity and interest for Emergency Communications. Take an opportunity to read some of the many posts on how you can take your service up a notch and become nationally certified in the the Incident Command System (ICS) through the FEMA NIMS program. Find out how you can improve your emcomm skills by taking ARRL “Amateur Radio Emergency Communicator Courses.” Study up on the latest digital initiatives involving D-Star, Winlink 2000 or APRS. Check into some of the exciting, cutting edge things that our organization is involved with as we seek to improve our service to our county, our region, and our country.
For more information about getting involved with Ham Radio, with Montgomery County, PA ARES/A.C.S.-RACES, SkyWarn, or with EmComm in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly Doug Priest or Rocky Pistilli and we will be more than happy to provide you with additional information.