Lee Co. ARES participated in the annual exercise with RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) on Sept. 23-25, 2022. This year also ARES only members were invited to participate.
The purpose of the state-wide “Operation Urgent Need” exercise was to demonstrate the ability of Texas State RACES and ARES Amateur Radio Operators to provide useful, accurate and timely information using amateur radio communications (voice and digital modes) to further the mission of the Texas State RACES organization and jurisdictions that we serve. The exercise emphasis was to improve verbal and digital communications skills that result after an extraordinary event. Texas State RACES and ARES Operators, in a plausible disaster scenario where the conventional infrastructure is compromised, would first verbally communicate through UHF, VHF, or HF, a predetermined information request. Then, using digital modes, would send the same information in a Winlink Check-In form to their designated Net Control Stations.
Lee County ARES members updated or bought new equipment for “Operation Urgent Need” and at least a couple of members used Winlink for the very first time. We had a special training net prior to the event which provided us with a greater understanding of the process. In “Operation Urgent Need,” Lee County ARES had 82% participation, making Lee County among the top participants in District 12 (all but four members at the time of this exercise had RACES/ARES double membership, and two had applied just before the exercise).