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ARES D1 membership or affiliation does not require ownership of a High Frequency (HF) radio. Ownership or access to an HF radio is desirable, but not a requirement.
Ownership of, or access to at least one Very High Frequency (VHF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Frequency Modulated (FM) portable, mobile, or fixed/base station radio, capable of Analog voice communications is the least common denominator for message exchange among ARES D1 personnel and beyond.
ARES D1 membership or affiliation does not require ownership of data (digital) or associated peripheral device(s). Ownership or access to digital (data) or associated peripheral device(s) is desirable, but not a requirement.
Digital (data) communications, including Email over radio, is the most efficient, most demanded messaging capability by public safety agencies and other organizations that ARES D1 supports, thus ARES D1 personnel are highly encouraged to have that capability if possible.
Point-to-point (simplex) Analog voice communications is the least common denominator for message exchange in ARES D1 and useful for quick, tactical communications.
Likewise, ARES D1 recognizes the value and convenience of using VHF and UHF Repeaters (Semi-duplex), including Amateur, GMRS and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) repeaters for short-haul and tactical communications needs. ARES D1 personnel are encouraged to have the capability of communicating by Analog voice on a VHF or UHF (non-DMR) repeater, if possible. Having DMR capability adds to flexibility.
Using repeaters makes sense in many scenarios, including special events; intra-Hospital communications; relaying messages to and from the “last mile,” from medium and long-haul HF communications systems; and interoperating with neighborhoods and communities, for example.
Participation with ARES D1 does not require volunteers to buy expensive software. ARES D1 uses the following software:
1. Winlink Express Software* for use with:
VARA (HF) and VARA-FM Software (Becomes a software soundcard compatible “Terminal Node Controller” when used with Winlink Express software). The software is Free.**
* - There is an optional one-time voluntary contribution of $25 to the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, the developers of the Winlink System and its software to help it keep the network operational requested. If the donation is not made, a pop-up window asking for the donation appears once during each Winlink Express session (i.e., once each time the software is started).
** - There is an optional one-time voluntary registration fee of $75 to the software developer (Amateur Radio Operator EA5HVK). If the registration fee is not paid, the speed of the modem/data is significantly reduced, but fully usable. When the fee is paid, the speed is equivalent to that of a Pactor 3 modem, which costs approximately $1,200.
Optional High-Speed Modem - SCS Pactor 4 (Pactor 3 minimum) modem (Allows very high-speed data exchanges in poor band conditions. Pactor 4 is backwards compatible to Pactor 3 speeds which are normally allowed on Ham radio frequencies. During a disaster, the FCC often waives the speed restriction to permit Pactor 4 operation on Ham radio frequencies.
2. Narrowband Emergency Messaging System (NBEMS) consisting of the following Free software:
a. Fast Light Digital (FLDigi) (cross platform Modem program that supports most of the digital modes used by ARES D1).
b. FlMsg – To allow the sending and receiving of FEMA Incident Command System (ICS), Hospital ICS, ARRL Radiogram and American Red Cross Forms, and other files.
c. FlWrap – Used to ensure that 100% accuracy during data transmission and reception was achieved.
d. FlAmp - Amateur Multicast Protocol that transmits one or more files with one or more iterations of the transmission, broken into check sum blocks to ensure 100% of the message was received.
3. MMSTV – Slow Scan Television/Image transfer.
4. Automated Position Reporting System (APRS) – VHF, UHF and HF resource position reporting and telemetry.
ARES D1 membership or affiliation does not require ownership of emergency-powered equipment. Ownership or access to emergency-powered equipment is desirable but is not a requirement for membership or participation.