Welcome -old

I started this website back up inJuly of 2022 and a whole lot has changed in reguards to emergency communications in Marion County Florida since the pandemic officially started in March of 2020. The Covid virus really kicked off in early 2019 and life as we knew it changed… a lot.

First and foremost were the health issues. Many of us who worked with MERT and ARES are “senior citizens” which prevented any kind of face to face meetngs. The ZOOM app came into play, but it faded after a while. The schools were off limits, the EOC was closed to us, no more Wednesday meetings and equipment checks, and on and on and on.

It’s 2022 and a lot of things have opened up, so meetings in person are happening more now. I am no longer an active member of MERT or ARES. I will just be monitoring in case of events like hurricanes.

There are different HAMS running the administration of ARES and MERT and new ideas are in play. One of the biggest is the change from D-Star and D-rats being the main communication method to the EOC to the use of Winlink instead. D-star is still operational but is now a back-up system. And it’s not just in Marion County, WINLINK has become the EMCOM standard everywhere.

I’ll try to go over things in more detail throughout the site, but keep two things in mind:

1: If you have a D-star radio keep in mind that D-star is still important and will be used. More on that in another section of this webiste. (PS: It’s still a very cool hobby system world wide.)

2: Download and install Winlink on your PC. If your radio is capable, invest about $120.00 and get a Signalink USB sound system to communicate with the Winlink gateways in the county. If the internet at your house goes down it will come in handy.

So, explore the website. As I used to say at the end of meetings “Go forth and communicate”.

73 Ed W9CHA