Hawaii Amateur Radio
Emergency Service

About Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®)

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October 16, 2021 Hawaii Great ShakeOut

This year's Hawaii Great ShakeOut will be this coming Saturday, October 16, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. HST.

For those who have Winlink capability, please participate in this very short exercise. You can sent it in whatever mode, e.g., VARA FM, VARA HF, Packet, Pactor, or Telnet if you are not in range of a gateway. Please do not submit before 9 a.m. However, once you submit your DYFI, you are done. The scenario is similar to yesterday's 6.2 earthquake but will be a 7.2 earthquake in the Volcano National Park. How extensive your damage report will depend how far your location is from the simulated Hawaii Volcano National Park. The simulated earthquake will be felt throughout the State and may cause major simulated damages as you do your report in the DYFI form.

Here is a link to the Hawaii Great ShakeOut 2021 instructions - http://HawaiiARES.net/HI Great ShakeOut 2021.pdf

Please follow the instructions, especially the Exercise ID and adding the additional information in the Additional comments at the bottom of the DYFI form. Also, please CC the message to KH7HO. This instruction will also be on the hawaiiares.net web site shortly.

Hoping many Hawaii Hams will participate and show USGS how Hawaii Hams will support DYFI and the Great ShakeOut this year.

Have fun with this exercise.

Remember, in a real earthquake to duck, cover and hold on!

October 2, 2021 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test

The nationwide ARRL Simulated Emergency Test occurs the first Saturday of October every year. This year Hawaii ARES is having EMCOMM stations provide simulated damage assessment reports to simulated county emergency management agencies.

This year's scenario is a 9.2 moment earthquake in the Aleutians leading to an extreme tsunami causing damages to all the counties in the State of Hawaii. Participating Amateur Radio operators should be aware of the closest extreme tsunami evacuation zone to their operating location and what damages could be expected. Information can be found by checking with your respective county emergency management or Civil Defense agencies or in the yellow pages.

For this exercise, the tsunami has already hit, and we are reporting damages. All repeaters, including Winlink gateways, will be operational.

The purpose of this COMMUNICATIONS EXERCISE is to verify our ability to pass messages using the digital protocols, as well as voice communications.

Click here for complete instructions.

June 19, 2021 Makani Pahili Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the ability of Amateur Radio operators to provide accurate and timely messages via Winlink. This exercise is open to all licensed Hams whether they are with ARES, RACES, HealthComm, SKYWARN, CERT, or unaffiliated. We encourage all Hams to participate as we prepare for this year’s hurricane season.

• Amateur Radio stations to be able to compose and successfully send three properly
completed Winlink forms using Winlink email over radio; however, the use of Telnet is acceptable for those with no access to a Winlink gateway or computer interface to a radio.
• Amateur Radio stations to be able to operate in a simulated shelter using emergency power, e.g., generators or batteries with or without solar panels; however, we encourage radio operators to participate even if they cannot operate off the electrical grid.

Exercise Scenario
A destructive category 4 hurricane has developed in the central pacific. It is named Makani and has sustained winds of 150 mph with gusts of over 200 mph. It is approaching south of the Hawaii island and will move northward on the west side of the state, impacting all islands.

Exercise Activity and Timeline
This communication exercise (COMMEX) will be on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The overall exercise timeline will be from 9 a.m. to 12 noon HST.

Radio operators living in the following counties will send their messages to KH7HO using Winlink:
• City & County of Honolulu
• Kauai

Radio operators living in the following counties will send their message to KH6FHI using Winlink:
• Maui
• Hawaii

We will simulate as shelter radio operators for this exercise. You are encouraged to operate away from your Ham shack in the following suggested locations:

• At home in your back yard/garage;
• If you operate at your Ham station at home, use battery or a generator; if no alternate power source, can still operate using the electrical grid;
• Mobile in your vehicle;
• Setup in a community center parking lot;
• Setup in a park parking lot;
• Setup near a school, or with permission, in the school parking lot.

Note: Please exercise care as we are still faced with COVID-19.

Again, to encourage all licensed Amateur Radio operators to participate, if you do not have mobile or an auxiliary power source, you can still operate from the electrical grid. We encourage the use of hub and spokes and encourage CERT groups to participate in this exercise. Voice messages are acceptable but will need to be converted to the Winlink templates and sent via Winlink.

For more details on this exercise, and to view the exercise message requirements, please click here.

Results of the Red Cross Nationwide Emergency Communcations Drill


To demonstrate the ability of Amateur Radio to provide accurate and timely messaging using Winlink forms to further the mission of the Red Cross. This can involve Red Cross communication leads, as well as ARES, RACES, Auxiliary Communications Service. The primary emphasis will be on digital forms of communications. Objectives:

◦ Amateur radio stations will compose and send forms using the Winlink email over radio to Red Cross divisional clearinghouse (ARCHI)
◦ Increase Red Cross awareness of the Amateur Radio capability to assist in their mission
◦ Prepare and train Amateur Radio operators to effectively use the Winlink system
◦ Determine weaknesses that future training can address

National and Worldwide:

◦ 722 unique callsigns
◦ 862 Check-In messages received at all eight divisional clearinghouses
◦ 782 properly filled Check-In forms
◦ 15 international participants


◦ 38 callsigns (1 did not use any forms)
◦ 44 Check-In messages received; 7 duplicates

◦ Modes:
◦ VARA FM – 26
◦ VARA HF – 8
◦ Packet - 1
◦ Pactor – 1
◦ Other – 1

The Following Hawaii Hams participated in the Spring Drill


For more information and to see pictures of hams with their operating stations, please click here to see the full report.

Spring Red Cross Nationwide Emergency Communications Drill

The spring Red Cross nationwide emergency communications drill will be held on Saturday, May 8th, with Red Cross, ARES and other operators asked to demonstrate the ability to deliver digital messages using Red Cross forms to specific addresses via Winlink. For this exercise, participants are tasked with sending two messages to the Red Cross Divisional Clearinghouse for their geographic area. The exercise scenario and guidelines attached to this message provide details and instructions for operators desiring to participate. This exercise draws on lessons learned in the previous Winlink Thursday sessions. For those who have been following along, this scenario gives you the opportunity to put into practice the skills you have been practicing since January. You will need to send a Winlink Check-In Form to register your participation and a separate WInlink message with a template ARC Disaster Requisition Form 6409. The hand-written sample provided in the exercise packet is similar to one that might be handed to a radio operator supporting a Red Cross relief operation. We urge everyone to take their time and be sure the information transcribed into the Winlink template form is an accurate copy of the information supplied on the form and that each message is properly addressed to the recipients specified in the directions.

A new addition to our playbook is the inclusion of a real-time map that displays the location of each station as their Winlink Check-In Form is received. You can follow along and watch as the exercise progresses on Saturday by clicking here to view the map. Please submit your messages on Saturday, May 8th between noon and 4 p.m. local time.

For those who can do so safely, we encourage you to once again pack your "go-kit" and get out in the field to submit your exercise traffic. This is good practice for any operator looking to become proficient in EmComm operations.

Last month, many of you submitted photos of your go-kit in the field as an attachment to your Winlink message. For this iteration, in order not to tie up the Winlink gateways unnecessarily, we request that anyone looking to submit an image to share in our gallery do so by sending it via traditional email to photos@ARC-EmComm-Training@groups.io Do not send images using Winlink in this exercise.

This year our spring exercise falls on World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, an annual celebration of the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. World Red Cross Red Crescent Day is celebrated on May 8th each year. This date is the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828. He was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. We have set up a special clearinghouse for amateur radio operators from other national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies to check in for this event using the Winlink tactical address ARCDX.

If you would like to be included in our future training and exercise sessions, visit our website at ARC-EmComm-Training.org and subscribe to our mailing list. You can also find additional information on suggested proficiency goals and training materials to help you broaden your skills as an amateur radio operator.

AREDN MESH Comes to Hawaii

In 2020, more than 80 AREDN MESH nodes were deployed in Hawaii. As done on the mainland, Amateurs connect their stations via a private Amateur Radio network. Here’s a link to the current Hawaii network, https://tinyurl.com/y56ox3wu The AREDN MESH network is self-configuring. A node added to the network broadcasts its identity to all the other nodes. Installation is truly well designed and easy to use. The ability to deploy go kits with AREDN MESH radios that are added dynamically makes it one more digital tool to pass traffic.

Mastering the technology allows us to build networks around our islands. We can be less dependent on access to high places. Hawaii AREDN MESH is not an Internet ISP. We can ring our islands with many short hops that provide multiple paths from one node to another.

The basic component needed for a short hop is the AREDN MESH router, a MikroTik hAP. The term hAP stands for home Access Point. It is really just an Internet home router that has been “flashed” to operate in the Amateur Radio private network. As Amateur Radio equipment goes, it is inexpensive. About $50 on Amazon!

With a hAP connected via Internet, Amateurs can begin learning about the Hawaii network. The next step is to add a microwave link to become more independent of Internet. A pair of MikroTik SXT 5.8 GHz radios can be added to access a “sector node” in his area or interconnect two Amateur’s stations via microwave. One of these can be had for about $70.

The IEEE recently hosted a ZOOM meeting that brought a lot of information to Hawaii Amateurs. Stephen Minakami (NH6XL) setup the meeting. We are fortunate that he was able to arrange a member of the AREDN MESH organization, Orv Beach (W6BI), who gave a great overview of mainland networks and the hardware and software components building the network. Here is a YouTube link to Orv’s talk. https://youtu.be/qVM4W_I8mx0 Following his talk, Gessie Alpuro (WH6AV) gave an overview of AREDN MESH in Hawaii. As of now AllStar repeaters and seventeen Hawaii gateways are already connected via Hawaii AREDN MESH. It is amazing how well developed the network has become.

One of Gessie’s focus has been interconnecting AllStar and Winlink gateways on the Big Island. hAP, SXT and point to point hardware has been donated to BIARC members to get the network started. He is working with Oahu as well as with his own island. Jim Pilgram (NH6HI) is driving the progress on Kauai. This is truly an all-Hawaii project. Here is a link to Gessie’s YouTube, https://youtu.be/U2_oHUJ2Nn4 Hawaii ARES now supports Winlink and AREDN MESH use in its exercises. Previously Clem Jung (KH7HO) made arrangements with the Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Digital Radio Network, Inc. (HEARDn.org) a 501C3 corporation, to provide audio adapters and VARA software licenses at a reduced cost to interested Amateurs. He now also has HEARDn support for AREDN MESH components.

If interested in adding digital modes to your Amateur Radio station, contact Clem to see how ARES can help Amateurs interested in either of these digital technologies.

American Red Cross EmComm Drill - November 14, 2020

This drill was an exercise in sending messages from local sites to a group of American Red Cross Divisional Clearinghouses to simulate and demonstrate the capability of amateur radio operators across the country to relay information in times of need.

The drill used the messaging program Winlink as the primary method of delivering preformatted messages. Amateur radio operators were free to utilize any connection mode available - HF, VHF, UHF and Telnet.

The goal was to encourage more operators to become familiar with Winlink and the message templates within.

Click here for the exercise instructions

A total of 60 station participated in the event. Here's a phto collage of particpants who enjoyed participating!

Click here for After Action Report

Click here for the exercise statistics

USGS national Great ShakeOut - October 15, 2020

For the first time, Hawaii Amateur Radio stations have been invited to participate in the national Great ShakeOut on Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 10:15 HST. This is an annual event occurring on the third Thursday of October. Participating organizations including schools, churches, non-profit organizations, submit reports using Internet.

With the increase of Hawaii Winlink stations, we have the opportunity to submit useful reports using Amateur Radio.

Click here for USGS Hawaii DidYouFeelIt exercise instructions

USGS Sent Appreciation for Particpating Hawaii Stations (Rev B)

ARRL Simulated Emergency Test Instruction Sheet - October 03, 2020

The nationwide ARRL Simulated Emergency Test occurs the first Saturday of October every year. This year Hawaii ARES is simulating deployment of EmComm stations to shelters statewide providing reports to American Red Cross shelter managers directly to the Red Cross email system.

The purpose of this COMMUNICATIONS EXERCISE is to verify our ability to deploy equipment to shelters and operate using the digital protocols developed in conjunction with Hawaii State Red Cross.

Click here for Hawaii exercise instructions

Click here for exercise statistics (Rev D)

Hawaii ARES

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is made up of Amateur Radio operators, who register their equipment and qualifications with ARES. These operators provide volunteer communications services in times of disaster or civil emergency.

The ARES national organization is comprised of smaller regional organizations, each being within an ARRL Section. This web page serves the Hawaii Section, covering the entire state of Hawaii, managed by the Hawaii ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC).

Hawaii ARES is segmented into four counties, which are aligned with Hawaii Bureau of Homeland Security Regions. Each county is organized into districts, each having an assigned District Emergency Coordinator DEC) or Emergency Coordinator (EC).

Hawaii ARES members participate in NET (i.e. Network or on-the-air information gathering) operations, exercises and training. These activities may be organized at the statewide, county or district levels.

ARES is open to all Amateur Radio operators. You don't need to be a member of the ARRL to join ARES.

Please join us! Amateur Radio operators can enroll in the Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service by selecting the Register New Member menu item under the Members menu on this page.

Amateur Radio Operator Qualifications

ARRL membership is not required to become a member of ARES. Any Amateur Radio licensee may register as an Hawaii ARES member. There are no registration fees or dues associated with ARES membership.

Amateur Radio operators may participate in training in order to obtain qualifications beyond that of holding an Amateur Radio license. Such qualifications enable an Amateur Radio licensee to participate in Hawaii ARES at a higher level of service. Hawaii ARES Amateur Radio operators are encouraged to obtain additional training.

The primary sources for Amateur Radio operators to obtain qualified training include both the ARRL and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute. Training resources for both of these organizations can be found under the Training menu on this page.

Recommended training includes:

  • ARRL Training
    • EC-001: Introduction to Emergency Communications
    • EC-016: Public Service & Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs
    • EC-015: ARRL Public Relations
  • FEMA Training
    • ICS-100: Introduction to Incident Command System
    • ICS-700: Introduction to National Incident Management System
    • ICS-800: Introduction to National Response Framework
    • ICS-200: Incident Command System for Single Resources & Initial Action Incidents

Additional training opportunities are listed under the Activities menu on this page.

Amateur Radio’s Emergency Communications Role

Amateur Radio's role in Public Service Communications and Emergency Communications is declared within the purpose of Amateur Radio defined in the Code of Federal Regulations:

CFR Title 47, Part 97.1

Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an Amateur Radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

  • Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
  • Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
  • Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
  • Expansion of the existing reservoir within the Amateur Radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
  • Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

From a practical, and operational perspective, Amateur Radio provides several resources and capabilities to Incident Commanders. Among these are:

Amateur Radio is not a replacement for Public Safety or governmental agencies, but acts to serve agencies in a subordinate capacity. It enables Public Safety agencies to focus on their primary role, maintaining critical Public Safety radio services.

Amateur Radio is particularly well suited to serve logistical communications requirements of an Incident Command and to provide communications that can be used as a replacement for failed public communications infrastructure. It can provide communications services to non-governmental agencies, such as the Red Cross, in time of disaster. It is to these missions that the Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service is committed.