What is Orange County ARES?

Orange County, FL Communications Auxiliary Foundation Inc. is the corporate name and is the 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Public Service Organization of Orange County ARES. OC ARES is recognized by Orange County Emergency Management.

We cannot be paid for our radio service, hence the title, Amateur Radio Operator.  Operators must be licensed through the FCC.

In the United States, The Amateur Radio Service is defined and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.

By definition, a Licensee’s purpose is to:

  •   Provide emergency communication
  •   Advance radio science
  •   Enhance international goodwill

What is the Amateur Radio Service?

An Amateur Radio licensee has studied and passed required tests and been issued a call sign by the FCC. This call sign is unique to the operator. The holder of a call sign uses it on the air to legally identify all voice and data communications.

What can I do with Amateur Radio?

  • Point-to-point radio communications
  • Bounced radio communications from the
  • Atmosphere, the Moon and Satellites
  • Communicate with astronauts in space
  • Build amateur radio satellites
  • Still picture transmission
  • Slow-scan and Fast-scan television
  • Teletype, Morse Code
  • Computer networking via packet radio
  • Weak signal/low power communications
  • Internet EchoLink
  • Packet Radio APRS
  • Participate in organized competitions

Orange County ARES Public Service

The Amateur Radio Service compliments and expands the abilities of public safety agencies, primarily in the area of Inter-agency Communications. During normal activity, dispatchers pass inter-agency messages.

During disaster situations, Amateur Radio Operators can compliment this part of the dispatcher’s duties. The agencies do not have to be governmental. Non-government agencies, such as the American Red Cross, also utilize Amateur Radio Operators to serve as communication points for shelters opened during disaster operations.  Cellular phone and trunked radio systems play a major part in improving day-to-day emergency communications, but they do not replace the flexibility of amateur radio equipment to be able to facilitate communications under extreme conditions.

Simply, Orange County ARES serves the public during natural and manmade disasters as well as during peacetime. Below is a sampling of the agencies, organizations, and events we’ve served.

  • American Red Cross
  • National Weather Service
  • 2004 Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne
  • 2005 Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Wilma
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Ride 4 Ronald
  • Mount Dora Bike Fest
  • Goldenrod Parade
  • Orlando CERT
  • Orange County Emergency Management
  • Metro Cup Regatta
  • ARRL Field Day
  • Orlando HamCation
  • Orange County Sheriff, Fire, EMS

We support local, state, and national agencies and organizations needing emergency communications or additional communications support.

We’re a versatile group. One weekend we may be staffing an evacuation shelter and the next weekend coordinating communications for a community parade or fundraiser. Our ability to help other public service organizations perpetuates community spirit and helps keep Orange County ARES in touch with the needs of our communities.

The volunteers of OC ARES have been serving the Central Florida Community since before 1990. Last year they contributed over 5600 hours of their time either training or serving public service agencies during events. We use these events as training exercises for emergency situations. Staffing all open shelters in a Hurricane situation, for example, requires a large number of qualified operators. OC ARES is constantly actively seeking Community Minded volunteers who enjoy serving the citizens of Orange County. It does not matter if you currently hold a Valid Amateur Radio License or not. We hold License classes for anyone who has the desire to work with OC ARES. These classes are not hard, and there are no prior skills required other than a strong desire to help your fellow citizens when needed