First let me say that views expressed here are my opinions only. I got into HAM radio because of the emergency service it provides, and became heavily involved in that. But that started almost 20 yeas ago now and things, and I, have changed. The pandemic, health issues with my better half, and old age worked to get me “out of the loop”.

I have no idea what Marion County Ares and the county MERT are doing. Both have websites, but very little info for local HAMS in case of emergency. They both seem to be concerned more with the big picture, and ARES has kind of fallen in with MERT.

I was part of the group that installed the three D-Star repeaters here 15 years ago. It seems that since ICOM no longer makes (or services them) they are on the way out. I understand that is a national trend since the hot spots are so popular now. I hope that when replaced, the VHF at the landfill on a 400 foot spot on the antenna would be a Yaesu Fusion. The other two D-Star repeaters, a VHF and a UHF, are at the EOC up between 40 and 60 feet, and I can’t hit either one with an HT from my residence in Silver Springs Shores. I can’t hit the k4gso repeater either which is the primary ARES repeater.

This is the home page of the ARES website. The site doesn’t offer much for the average user who comes on line during an emergency and just wants to know what is going on or wants to report something. Check it out at Marion County FL Amateur Radio Emergency Service – Marion Co. FL ARES (

MERT has a website at It has info concerning MERT operations and training. Means more to members than the general HAM or ARES populaion. The main communication into the EOC had been D-rats, but MERT stopped that in favor of Winlink now, but it is just for MERT and mainly between the EOC and shelters.

MERT and ARES meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month except December at the EOC at 10 AM All are welcome. Directions and more info on the KG4NXO website.