Preparedness in Action

HENDRICKS COUNTY ARES: Your Lifeline in Emergencies

Ensuring seamless communication when it matters most. Discover how we keep Hendricks County connected during emergencies.

Our Mission

The Hendricks County AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY SERVICE (ARES) is dedicated to providing reliable communication support during emergencies. Our mission is to ensure that when traditional communication systems fail, our network of skilled amateur radio operators steps in to bridge the gap, ensuring critical information flows seamlessly.

Why We Exist

In times of disaster, effective communication can be the difference between life and death. Hendricks County ARES exists to provide a resilient communication backbone that supports emergency services, healthcare providers, and the community at large. We train diligently and stay prepared to respond at a moment’s notice.

Our Commitment

We are committed to maintaining a state of readiness through continuous training, community engagement, and collaboration with local emergency management agencies. Our volunteers are passionate about serving the community and ensuring that no call for help goes unheard.

Interested in Emergency Communications?
If you are, join our ARES team!


There are no dues or membership fees associated with being part of the Hendricks County ARES team. All you need is an interest in Public Service and a willingness to train and participate in activities supporting Emergency Communications.

You do not need to be a member of any club or organization to be a member of ARES, although many HCARES members are also members of one or more clubs.

If you are a licensed amateur radio operator, live or work in Hendricks County, Indiana, and would like to be part of an emergency communications team, we would love to hear from you!

To apply for HCARES membership, please complete the registration form by clicking here.

Completed registration forms will be submitted to the Emergency Coordinator, Don Somerville – KD9DHJ. Fill out the form on your computer. 

Members are encouraged to complete a minimum level of training and regularly participate in activities in order to better support the ARES mission. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers some on-line courses that you take at your own pace.

Testing can also be done on-line for many courses.

The leadership of HCARES suggests successful completion of IS-100b, IS-200b, IS-700a and IS-800b as a minimum. These courses are part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The training website can be reached by clicking here.


History of ARES

Responding since the 1930’s, ARES has assisted in a variety of local, state and national (as well as international) emergencies – from natural disasters to the attacks on September 11, 2001 – ARES and Ham Radio operators have assisted various disasters in remote places. These “hams” have stepped in to provide assistance when other forms of communication fail. Disasters still happen regularly, and ham radio operators continue to serve the public with their skills and radio equipment. Emergency management professionals still need to include ham radio operators in their planning processes because of the vital help they can offer.

Ham radio might be considered a precursor to the social media of today. This form of communication dates back to the 1890s. It wasn’t until 1912 when the Radio Act was passed, granting federal licensing to ham radio stations. Ham radio stations today are regulated by the United States Federal Communications Commission. In 1935, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) was established by the American Radio Relay League. Licensed amateur radio operators belong to the ARES, having registered their equipment and qualifications to be ready to assist the public in the event of a disaster. The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service was established in 1952, serving as a civil defense radio service that activates in emergencies. Following Federal Emergency Management Agency protocols, ham radio operators have authorization to transmit during emergencies after the president invokes these powers.

Understanding Ham Radio Communication

Ham radio operators must study and pass exams to earn licensing. The tests include topics such as operator responsibilities, FCC rules, operating procedures, radio propagation, electronic circuits, electrical principles, typical equipment troubleshooting, antenna measurements, repairs, non-voice communications, and safety. Ham operators often have extensive communications experience or even professional broadcasting experience. Many operators are also first-responders. Members may also have earned FEMA training certificates, have law enforcement backgrounds, or participate in volunteer activities such as search and rescue.

How and When to Use Ham Radio

If all communication is being managed via commercial services, ham radio is not necessary. However, regular communications systems may be compromised in a disaster or emergency. When this occurs, supplemental ham radio can take the place of commercial communication systems until they are restored. In major disasters, extensive failures can occur involving overloading of communications infrastructure such as cellular networks, Internet access points, and public safety radio systems. Ham operators will be needed in force for an extended period when this occurs. FCC regulations authorize ham operators to assist the public with direct communication with non-amateur entities such as the military and FEMA. Ham radio operators can provide voice and data communication in these scenarios.

Ham radio operators may be used remotely at auxiliary command posts, emergency shelters, evacuation sites, emergency operations centers, medical facilities, police and fire stations, and public works sites. Ham operators may also assist with communications links between similar agencies, establishing communications in areas outside of public service coverage areas, shadowing emergency management workers to ensure constant contact, monitoring highways and bridges to ensure safety, and observing damaged areas to provide reports. Ham radio operators may not be able to completely replace all communications. However, these volunteers can step in to establish and maintain critical communications during challenging conditions. Ham operators who have solar-powered equipment can even maintain communications when other traditionally powered equipment fails.

The Integration of Ham Radio Into Emergency Management

Emergency management coordinators can integrate ham radio into contingency plans in several ways. A plan may involve establishing an auxiliary emergency communications unit that consists of ham operators. An emergency management team may also host a ham radio licensing class to teach and train new ham radio operators. Even in areas that do not experience frequent emergencies, it’s important to have ham radio operators ready to step in during emergencies. These areas may benefit from scheduling drills and exercises to keep operators ready to respond in emergencies. Drills also ensure that professionals and ham operators are comfortable working together. For optimal results, emergency management officials should strive not to limit ham operators in their responses. By not dictating operator response, hams have the freedom to respond effectively.

Our Capabilities


24/7 Emergency Communication

Our team is always on standby, ready to provide communication support whenever disaster strikes.


Skilled Radio Operators

Our volunteers are highly trained amateur radio operators who excel in emergency communication protocols.


Robust Network Infrastructure

We maintain a robust network of radio equipment and repeaters to ensure reliable communication coverage across Hendricks County.

What Our Community Says

Thanks to Hendricks County ARES, we were able to maintain communication during the recent storm. Their dedication is unmatched.

John Washington

The volunteers at Hendricks County ARES are true heroes. They ensured our safety and kept us informed when it mattered most.

Jane Smith

I can’t thank Hendricks County ARES enough for their swift response during the power outage. Their service is invaluable.

Michael Johnson

Hendricks County ARES provided crucial support during the emergency. Their professionalism and commitment are commendable.

Emily Davis

During the recent floods, Hendricks County ARES was a lifeline for our community. Their communication network was a game-changer.

Robert Brown

Their quick response and effective communication helped us navigate through the crisis. Hendricks County ARES is a vital resource.

Linda Wilson

Join Our Mission

Become a part of Hendricks County ARES and help us ensure the safety and well-being of our community. Your support and participation can make a significant difference.