Emergency Services

Rochester Amateur Radio Club (RARC) members are participants in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) to provide communications support during both real and simulated emergencies in Olmsted county and throughout southeast Minnesota.

ARES photos

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Olmsted County ARES Organization

ARES logo

The Olmsted county ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) organization provides emergency communications for real and simulated emergency events in southeast Minnesota. The Olmsted county ARES organization provides emergency communications support for Rochester Police Department, Rochester Fire Deparment, Olmsted County Emergency Management Office, and the American Red Cross.

Rob Richter KCØFOW is the Olmsted county ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC).

Active ARES members are amateur radio operators who have completed an ARES Registration Form. To become an active ARES member, simply complete and return the ARES Registration Form. Download the ARES Registration form PDF file to your PC. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill out the form, and return it by doing one of the following:

  • Print out the completed form and mail it to
    P.O. Box 1
    Rochester, MN 55903
  • Or, print out the completed form and bring it with you to an RARC club meeting, and deliver it to Rob Richter, KCØFOW
  • Or, save the completed PDF form, and email it to Rob Richter.

Participation in ARES activities and nets determines the registered member's position on the ARES A or B teams. All RARC club members are associate members of the Olmsted county ARES organization.

All active ARES memebers are encouraged to purchase an ARES vest. If you need an ARES vest or would like to become an active ARES member, please contact Rob KCØFOW.

Olmsted county ARES volunteers are available to provide communications support on request by contacting EC Rob Richter, KCØFOW . Please contact the following for additional Minnesota ARES and Olmsted county emergency management information:

  • Skip Jackson, KSØJ, Minnesota Section Manager (SM)
  • Daniel D. Anderson, KDØASX, Minnesota Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC)
  • Bill Osler, KØRGR, Minnesota Southeast District Emergency Coordinator (DEC).
  • Bob Wiles, ABØBW, Minnesota District 1 Assistant Emergency Coordinator.
  • Marvin Myers Jr, KCØCLC, Dodge County Emergency Coordinator (EC).
  • Capt Mike Bromberg, KDØEOB, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Ops for Olmsted Cty
  • Greg Martin, Deputy Emergency Management Director for Olmsted County
  • Ken Jones, KD8HPX, Deputy Emergency Management Director for Rochester

ARES and related information links:

Olmsted County Emergency Services Nets

An ARES net is activated whenever threatening weather or other situations warrant as determined by the National Weather Service office in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, or the Olmsted County Emergency Operations Center. ARES nets are directed nets and all communications is controlled by the net control station (NCS) using a standard set of net operation procedures. Contact Rob Richter, KCØFOW, to become a ARES net control station operator.

The Olmsted county ARES net uses the RARC 146.820 repeater for emergency event activation and information. A CTCSS tone of 136.5 Hz is transmitted on the repeater to notify ARES members during overnight hours. The Olmsted County Emergency Management repeater EOC 147.255 (PL tone 100.0 Hz) is the backup for the 146.820 repeater and is also available to provide additional ARES communications.

During SKYWARN severe weather operations, the EOC 147.255 (PL 100.0 Hz) repeater is used for event activation and information. The RARC 146.820 repeater provides communications backup.

An ARES information and training net is held on Sunday evenings at 9:00 PM local time on the 146.820 repeater. All registered ARES members are required to check into the weekly training net. Any amateur radio operator in the Olmsted county area is also invited to check into the net.

ARES net information links:

The Olmsted RACES/SKYWARN net is held on Monday evenings at 9:00 PM local time from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The net meets on the WØEAS 147.255 (PL tone 100.0 Hz) repeater. Items related to emergency communications and SKYWARN are highlights of the net. All amateur radio operators are welcome to check into the net. Comments and discussion suggestions should be sent to Steve, WØSTV.

Olmsted County ARES Frequency List

Olmsted County ARES Radio Communications Plan

  • Olmsted County ARES Frequencies:     VHF, UHF,   HF.


NBEMS stands for 'Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System'. It is becoming a widely accepted standard for amateur emcomm digital communications. We use NBEMS in our Thursday night net . These tutorials show how to set up and use NBEMS: Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software (NBEMS)

SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotting

Skywarn logoSevere weather storm spotting and reporting in Olmsted county is coordinated by the Olmsted County Emergency Management Office. 

A SKYWARN weather net is activated when a potential for severe weather is determined by the National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Olmsted Office of Emergency Operations Center. The WØEAS 147.255 (PL tone 100.0 Hz) repeater is used for SKYWARN nets, with the WØMXW 146.820 repeater providing backup communications. A SKYWARN net, when initiated by the EOC, may be operated from any SKYWARN trained NCS location until the EOC net control station is activated. Mobile radios are mandatory outside the Rochester city limits and should always be operating on high power.

A county grid map (pdf) or county grid map (jpg) is required to provide spotter locations for severe weather reports. SKYWARN spotters should keep safety in mind when tracking severe weather and always leave an escape route. Never obstruct traffic, park only where it is safe, be visible, and use vehicle hazard lights or other warning lights when parked. Use SKYWARN signs to identify vehicles and do not park on private property. SKYWARN spotters are required to have attended one National Weather Service (NWS) training class, sponsored and coordinated by Olmsted County Emergency Management Office, every two years. All SKYWARN mobile spotters must be 18 years of age or older.

Additioanl SKYWARN, weather and climate information can be found at: http://www.rarchams.org/links.htm#wx  (Use your browser's "back button" to return here.)

Last update: Sept 7, 2013