Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I hope your holiday has been and continues to be a great one, for you and your loved ones.

This year has been a  productive one for ARES in RI… we participated in many training exercises and events, we held training sessions, we commenced the build out of a new VHF WinLink system, and recruited many new members. We exercised with the ARRL, National HQ for the American Red Cross, and FEMA, we supported the National Hurricane Awareness Tour for the NOAA, we activated Beavertail Lighthouse, we supported the Tour de Cure, and visited the Wireless and Steam Museum. We held supplemental training sessions for the EC-001 ARRL Emergency Communications course, and while changes in the policies and procedures at the ARRL made some of the process different than I had in mind, we never the less had many members enroll and complete that training. 

According to our mailing list, we have more than 90 members, although many have not signed up for the ARES Connect system as yet (you can do so at http://riares.org/membership/ ) or at the Groups.io RI ARES group, where we will soon start connecting with members. Once you sign up for ARES Connect, please remember to update your training information, and to sign up for participation in events, and to log your participation in those events and nets so that we can track it, and report it to ARRL. This is important also for demonstrating to current and prospective served agencies that we have active membership that is trained and practiced. Please do so if you are not already.

We have also begun working with the Red Cross, both regionally and state wide, and will be serving their communications needs when required. So training, participation in nets, and general preparedness is important.

We will also be holding a simplex net once a month commencing in January, very likely the third Tuesday, following our regular repeater nets, once a month going forward, in conjunction with Providence EMA’s team. This will be a very useful net to determine propagation and ability to communicate and relay messages state wide. I encourage all to participate.

More to come.

I want to thank the leadership team for their efforts this past year. In particular, I want to thank Jim KB1MAO, DEC for Westerly and the Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator, Jeremy K1JST, the DEC for Kent County, Tim KB1UZD EC for Washington County,  and Marc W1MCX EC for Providence County for their efforts at Net Control for the 3 VHF repeater nets each week. I want to give a shout out to Jeremy K1JST again for his efforts with the WinLink server system. To Jim KB1MAO for his organizational skills with the Tour de Cure, but also with so much else regarding ARES, thank you so much. Another Shout Out to Aaron KC1EPX for all his help getting our logo, our banners, and business cards designed. Great stuff. And a Shout to Charles W1CRB for his help in getting the cards printed at no cost to us. One more shout out to Scott WX1X, trustee of our RI ARES call sign W1RIA.

Additionally, I want to thank John N1ZO a relatively new member, for stepping up and taking Net Control on the Tuesday night nets a number of times. You do a great job John. Thanks for being as active as you are.

Lastly, but really first, I want to thank Bob W1YRC our Section Manager, for all his support over these 3 years. He is an invaluable resource and advocate. Thanks Bob.
And thanks to all of you for being ARES Members and making this an organization when there was none just 3 yrs ago. Momentum is difficult to establish, and we are building, slowly but surely… Given my own absence for fully 6 months of each of those three years, deploying to disasters with FEMA and more often with the Red Cross, I am so very grateful for the support of the leadership team throughout this effort. We would be nowhere without you all.

Thanks to all of you for offering your time to ARES in RI. I look forward to seeing more activity from each of you this coming year. Without it, RI and your community will be left in a much more precarious circumstance in the event of a disaster.
We still need some active leadership in Bristol County, and a Chief Information Officer to handle public relations and get the word out when ARES does its thing. If you are interested in becoming part of the leadership team, please let us know.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, and a very healthy New Year to you all.

Paul Silverzweig, W1PJS (note the new call sign)RI Section Emergency Coordinator