Author Topic: AmRRon vs Ares  (Read 6893 times)

Offline PrepperJim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: 54
  • Prepping Means Resiliency and Redundancy
AmRRon vs Ares
« on: April 26, 2016, 06:37:13 PM »
I stumbled across the AmRRon group and their podcast. I've listened to a dozen of them and really like the training material on digital modes. I've learned a lot.

Then I see the that there is a conflict between ARES and AmRRon regarding a deployment in Washington state in August of 2015 during a fire event. AmRRon "self-deployed" and, depending upon who you believe, went into the area before the barricades were set up or drove around an unmanned barricade. *GASP* AmRRon also brought guns for protection. I guess ARES views guns as evil. 

Since I've never done any sort of Emcomm, I really cannot form an educated opinion. I can only comment on seeing the value in having the training and ability to communicate both within an organized system and from within a loosely organized network.

As an aside, I went to a Digital Support Group meeting which was hosted at the local Office of Emergency Management. It turns out that the OEM Logistics Supervisor is a big ham radio guy.  It got too late to take a tour of the communications area of the building, but I will definitely tour the next time. The OEM LS sees the value of hams and sees the value of digital communications as well as HF. 

He was one of those guys who wore the 5.11 pants, had a big radio strapped to his belt along with some sort of badge. Kinda funny.

Back on topic. He saw value in ham radio operators who knew how to get a message from point A to point B. He is willing to experiment with both D-Star and DMR while understanding that the Internet may not always be available so other modes must be used.

I guess I wonder if there is a role for both OEM/ARES while keeping open for the modes and methods of AmRRon. If things really went to hell, the OEM would not be functional, so having knowledge of AmRRon and their network might be helpful. 

Comments?


Offline RitaRose1945

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 5526
  • Karma: 403
  • Asking the uncomfortable questions since 1964
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2016, 06:52:44 PM »
 :knitting:

Offline r_w

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1264
  • Karma: 35
  • On my way
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 07:42:54 PM »
 :popcorn:

Offline machinisttx

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 845
  • Karma: 48
  • yay
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 08:40:44 PM »
Never heard of AmRRon. Most of the local OEM folks that I've met are hams....though some of them very rarely key a mic.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 05:36:07 AM »
There are so many groups of emergency responders these days and they all are well intentioned ,but often fall short by running in to an area they don't live in and looking like a bunch of looters with lots of gear in their trucks and often NO IDEA of what to do to co-operate with local government. Much has been done towards emergency requirements in the last 10 years as to the logistics of governmental support and I suggest that UNLESS a group is invited into an area that they stay HOME and wait for an emergency there ,at home,with familiar people and places to defend.

COMMUNICATE ? sure

DEPLOY  ? NO...my group was part of the local Marshals office and we resisted deployment until requested into the gulf region after Katrina and Rita did so much damage ..We had to be able to FULLY SUPPORT our team and be PROPERLY TRAINED to deal with MEDICAL and any problem we encountered...so as to not become a burden to already thin control and supply of the area.

PLUS...my town had 40,000 guests show up to spend the week here ,they caused local supply to suffer till there were shootings at gas station lines and most fast food places had to shut down due to short supply.

Offline Pathfinder

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2095
  • Karma: 97
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 06:21:36 AM »
ARES is quasi-official, part of the ARRL and tied into FEMA. Therefore, the .gov likes them

AmRRON is a private venture set up and run by a former Army comms specialist based out of Idaho who goes by the name of John Jacob Schmitt. He is not "official", he is not tied into FEMA in any way shape or form. And therefore the .gov does NOT like him or AmRRON.

However, there are a number (exact scale unknown) of people who are tied into AmRRON for the very reasons the .gov does not like it. They have multiple practice nets each month on a variety of wavelengths, including digital and CW.

Both AmRRON and ARES are activated on an as-needed basis, but the regular net practice of AmRRON gives it an edge IMHO.

Is anyone really surprised that a private venture self-deployed faster than the "official" group? The .gov is PO'd, mainly I would think, because it made them look unresponsive. You know, BAD!!!   ;D

Offline Sailor

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 205
  • Karma: 15
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2016, 10:05:53 AM »
AmRRON, is a great source to take you from a guy with a radio to effectively using it for emcomm.  They have rolling practice nets throughout each month.  Check the calendar and listen in.  The goal is to test the reach of then net on each of the bands/modes.  #1 they are patriots, with goal of being able to communicate.

Roll out a wire antenna with your county comm ssb SW radio and check in by internet if you have too. 

Everyone is encouraged to start their own local net at least on 2m, frs, gmrs, or murs.

I joined the Corps to have access to the forum, I am amazed at the advanced level of knowledge, there on everything from security/intelligence to comms/gear etc.   

It has made me a better operator, and thus my group as a whole better. 

ARES in my area, is for those that think wearing a green vest in an emergency is helpful.     
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 10:11:02 AM by Sailor »

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2016, 11:17:12 AM »
If I were local to you, I'd buy you a beer and share what I learned from ARES/RACES and other "official"  comms teams that were deployed to the fires in eastern WA last summer.  I heard first hand accounts of people who deployed there.

I'm a regular listener of the Partisan Radio podcast and am generally familiar with AMRRON's mission and procedures.  Like any kind of preparedness, more self-sufficient people is better.  If they get folks into amateur radio, that's fantastic.  I'm also a vetted emergency communications volunteer with my city (it's not technically ARES, but very similar).

Regarding the wildfires in summer of 2015 in WA - As with most tales, the truth lies somewhere between what AMRRON described and what some of the busy body .gov folks described.

The only comment I'll make is one I heard from a firefighter.  When private groups travel into restricted areas during an emergency, they are not only putting themselves at risk, but also the first responders.

There are only so many police, medics and firefighters on the scene of any incident.  One of the things you learn in a CERT class is searching buildings and accounting for any victims found.  This accounting is critical so that precious emergency resources are not redundantly deployed.  It's also important for emergency management to understand how to prioritize WHERE to respond.  Generally the mission is "do the most good for the most number of people possible".  So if AMRRON sneaks into a barn that the incident command believes has been evacuated and a raging wildfires moves in, it could be a catastrophe.

For garden variety natural disasters without any nefarious political agenda [insert Red Dawn fantasy here], it's generally best to coordinate WITH official government agencies.

That's enough for now...

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2016, 11:45:49 AM »
There are so many groups of emergency responders these days and they all are well intentioned ,but often fall short by running in to an area they don't live in and looking like a bunch of looters with lots of gear in their trucks and often NO IDEA of what to do to co-operate with local government. Much has been done towards emergency requirements in the last 10 years as to the logistics of governmental support and I suggest that UNLESS a group is invited into an area that they stay HOME and wait for an emergency there ,at home,with familiar people and places to defend.

COMMUNICATE ? sure

DEPLOY  ? NO...my group was part of the local Marshals office and we resisted deployment until requested into the gulf region after Katrina and Rita did so much damage ..We had to be able to FULLY SUPPORT our team and be PROPERLY TRAINED to deal with MEDICAL and any problem we encountered...so as to not become a burden to already thin control and supply of the area.

PLUS...my town had 40,000 guests show up to spend the week here ,they caused local supply to suffer till there were shootings at gas station lines and most fast food places had to shut down due to short supply.

+1 to this and Carl

While I'm able to relay some anecdotes I've heard, he LIVED them.

Offline SCWolverine

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 547
  • Karma: 66
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2016, 12:01:55 PM »
Apples and Oranges... learn to play nice with both groups and have fun.

Offline Chemsoldier

  • Pot Stirrer
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5722
  • Karma: 544
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2016, 03:07:37 PM »
Some general observations:

They both can be useful organizations from what I have seen.

All volunteer groups are as useful as the local volunteers, this goes for any organizations.  Usefulness of volunteer organizations has some sort of relationship to how close to their home the utilization is.  While they can be useful beyond that home range, they start to lose some margins to the professional organizations. In the midwest storms yesterday, I listened to the local weather net between the volunteer spotters and the local EOC.  There was a lot of informality and less the picture perfect procedure.  But I knew the spotters by name and voice.  So did the EOC operator.  That procedural informality that might have caused friction when deployed away from home was a non-issue. 

As to deployment, I dont see AMMRON as designed as an expeditionary EMCOM group (though they have many operators with the skills to do so), if they were they would be organized, trained and integrated into the responder community differently.  They are a radio group focused on preparedness and are not afraid to contemplate and talk about the possibility that their skills and organization could be useful to fight government tyranny.  How is it surprising than, that in the chaos of a developing emergency, a small group of communicators has a hard time integrating successfully into the response compared to an organization like ARES where their sole purpose is integrating into the response framework and are affiliated with a nationally recognized organization like the ARRL?  I would add that in taking FEMA classroom courses, while the instructors all knew of amateur radio (with varying degrees of knowledge) MANY of the students (mostly first responders and emergency management reps for civilian and government agencies) did not.  I sat near a firefighter who was a prepper and knew of Amateur Radio but did not know the differences between ARES/RACES/SATERN/etc.  So, small groups are going to be most effective when their volunteers are operating where other people know them.

I guess bottom line is, there is no vs. just two groups made up of volunteers.  Some places the ARES guys will be awesome and the AMMRON not so much, some the opposite, some where they are the same people and others where one or both groups are non-existent.

Offline Sailor

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 205
  • Karma: 15
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2016, 06:19:31 PM »
From my perspective I was looking for process's and skills to implement with my own crew.  AmRRON has really helped map that out for me.  My local groups are more of the type to say "Oh so you are one of those guys that has like weeks of food stored up huh"  So with AmRRON I get to practice a few times a month my skills getting info nationally and I just tag on this with my own crew regionally. 

Offline RitaRose1945

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 5526
  • Karma: 403
  • Asking the uncomfortable questions since 1964
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2016, 07:37:08 PM »
When private groups travel into restricted areas during an emergency, they are not only putting themselves at risk, but also the first responders.

There are only so many police, medics and firefighters on the scene of any incident.  One of the things you learn in a CERT class is searching buildings and accounting for any victims found.  This accounting is critical so that precious emergency resources are not redundantly deployed.  It's also important for emergency management to understand how to prioritize WHERE to respond.  Generally the mission is "do the most good for the most number of people possible".  So if AMRRON sneaks into a barn that the incident command believes has been evacuated and a raging wildfires moves in, it could be a catastrophe.

For garden variety natural disasters without any nefarious political agenda [insert Red Dawn fantasy here], it's generally best to coordinate WITH official government agencies.


That was my thought.  Sure, show up.  But then ask the locals what REALLY needs to be done.


There was a great segment on CBS Sunday Morning this week called "When disaster relief brings anything but relief."  It was definitely an eye opener, both about what people do to "help" that is really incredibly stupid as well as what sounds like it would be great but isn't.  If you can make the time to see it (only about 8 minutes long) I highly recommend it.


Note: if you prefer to read, the linked page is basically a transcript of the segment.


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-disaster-relief-brings-anything-but-relief/

Offline SCWolverine

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 547
  • Karma: 66
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2016, 06:41:13 AM »
not taking sides, but to clarify for those who may not have actually listened to the 1st hand accounts:

JJS was invited there by a resident of the area.  Upon arrival he sought out and met with the local mayor, and chiefs of departments.  He was Assigned a location to set up and worked from there.  His crew left on good terms with locals and leadership. 
Listen here:  https://radiofreeredoubt.com/2015/08/23/episode-15-27-washington-wildfires-interview-prepper-lessons-learned-first-hand/
it was the Local (ARES/RACES) Ham Radio Ops who appeared ham-strung waiting on the bureaucracy to work that were angered by their presence, not the local service community.

----------------------------------------------------------

I too drove around barriers while hauling water to MS following Katrina. We were invited by the local relief community and were told to do whatever it took to get the water there.  The deputies who guarded us while we unloaded were happy we were there too.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Some friends and I see huge gaping holes in our local communities emer communications plan (or complete lack thereof) so we're filling in the blanks on our own to be used if necessary.  We're all members of the local 'club' and get along with everyone-and like those that enjoy meeting 9 times a week at the Golden Corral to discuss joint pain; we enjoy working together to build a redundant communications network (even if, behind the scenes).

Your Mileage May Vary
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 06:46:47 AM by SCWolverine »

Offline Sailor

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 205
  • Karma: 15
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2016, 07:17:39 AM »
I have set my neighborhood association up with frs radios, and have a process in place for everyone to self check our streets and neighbors, and report to me.  I can then relay this to the city so they can not waste their time doing well checks in our area if its not needed. 

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2016, 07:24:59 AM »
I have set my neighborhood association up with frs radios, and have a process in place for everyone to self check our streets and neighbors, and report to me.  I can then relay this to the city so they can not waste their time doing well checks in our area if its not needed.

Good ...local organization is good...learning from others is good. Our most likely events are local...Government may have been slow in the past 'large scale events...but they also are learning. If more individuals would prepare to live beyond day to day.......

Plus 1

Offline SCWolverine

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 547
  • Karma: 66
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2016, 09:08:16 AM »
Carl's right....it's all 'Local'

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2016, 09:40:55 AM »
This is a slight thread hijack, but I think some of the audience would be interested...

While it's easy to dismiss politics, when it comes to official emergency management and disaster response, a basic understanding of the process is important.

Here's an example:

There's a BIG earthquake in my region.  It's obvious to anyone with a clue that this is a massive disaster.
As a registered volunteer, IF/WHEN I am asked to deploy, we are provided a mission # from the state government.

Why does this mission # matter?  As soon as I step out of my front door, if I am injured, crash my car or have any other loss or injury, I am 100% insured by my state government. 

Obviously I won't delay assisting my family, neighbors and immediate area as soon as possible.
BUT, if I just roll down to a place I think I might help, AND I'm injured or suffer some other loss, that liability is all mine.

When we watch the news coverage of various disasters, we often hear governors declare it a "disaster",  and often they petition the federal government to do the same.  This is all about money.  If it's a federal disaster, the city can likely get compensated by FEMA for renting heavy equipment, buying relief supplies, etc.

In my city of just 80,000 there are emergency procurement, finance and logistics folks who's job is to decide how likely any situation is to be declared an emergency.  It's a balancing act.  You don't want to delay relief efforts, but in the scenario where the state/fed does not concur, a local city could be bankrupted if they assumed otherwise and couldn't cover the expenses.

Your state and local laws may vary, but knowing I have liability protection as a matter of state law is protection for not just me, but my family.  If some AMRRON operator did something negligent and some litigation attorney got greedy, they could be personally sued.  That said, I have no internal details as to any protections they may have setup as a private organization.  I understand that's something an ARES team would not have to be concerned with during official disaster deployments.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2016, 09:43:51 AM »
Carl's right....it's all 'Local'

Our world is made smaller as technology advances, is our world getting more 'events' or is reporting just getting better?

Offline oregoncactus

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 37
  • Karma: 2
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2016, 11:09:26 AM »
Thanks for this topic.  It is very interesting to me. 

@SmurfHunter, thanks for the liability discussion.  I hadn't thought of that aspect and I will now ask my local group if we are covered.

Offline PrepperJim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: 54
  • Prepping Means Resiliency and Redundancy
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2016, 03:48:26 PM »
We have wonder off a little bit, but that is fine.

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Houston (where I live) was also inundated with evacuees. The hurricane struck on a Thursday as I recall and by Friday afternoon, the buses rolled into Houston. The first area to receive them was the Astrodome. Houstonians lined up to volunteer to receive people from New Orleans Friday and all through the weekend. This was before the Red Cross could get set up. I personally volunteered Friday night after work through the night. I then went home, got a few hours of sleep and was back Saturday and Sunday. It was about Monday before the Red Cross took over and things got bureaucratic. They started turning away volunteers who were not "registered." A lot people, me included, were turned away.

I went over to the George R Brown convention center and did a few shifts because they still needed help. Then the big wigs OEM people showed up and strutted around the place. It was about then that I stopped going.

Fast forward to 2011. I decided to take the CERT training. I completed the course even though it was basically dumbed down basic stuff. Then I signed up for emails for CERT volunteers. Sheesh. All they wanted was for people to hand out water at local races and direct traffic. Then I got married, had a kid, and kinda drifted away being turn off with how the OEM types viewed the CERT volunteers.

After the warm welcome received at the local OEM center for the digital ham club, I may drift back and see how it goes. At least the comms stuff takes some skill, they still seem like they are used for comms at races and other events. I guess if anything "big" happened, at least I would have a window into what .gov was doing. But, I will always take care of my family first before thinking about showing up at the OEM building.....

Offline PrepperJim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: 54
  • Prepping Means Resiliency and Redundancy
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2016, 06:30:50 PM »
I had to leave work in a haste prior to finishing my thought on the last post.

The OEM did a crap job during the Rita evacuation which was the same year as Katrina. I spent nearly 8 hours in my car trying to get out of the city. Many others had it much worse. But, the OEM learned from Rita, changed their planning, implemented counterflow and it paid off in 2008 when hurricane Ike was bearing down on the city. The evac was smooth and calm. My girlfriend, now my wife, two dogs and two cats made it to Dallas very easily.

Houston and Harris county are so large and with such a big population that they can support a very robust OEM. I think that they will operate very well during the next emergency. I still think we need neighborhood organizations to work their areas independently and then have a link to the OEM. That is what the CERT teams are supposed to do. I guess I just got turned off because the OEM viewed the CERT teams as free labor for non-emergency events instead of partners training for the next emergency.

In this way, I think a sort of local AmRRon would be of help in the next emergency. I guess I should get on that. ;-)

Offline SCWolverine

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 547
  • Karma: 66
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2016, 07:15:57 PM »


In this way, I think a sort of local AmRRon would be of help in the next emergency. I guess I should get on that. ;-)

They are waiting on you to get started!

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2016, 07:35:40 PM »
I must note that I am surprised that TSP'S own CAC ( Citizens Assisting Citizens) has yet to be mentioned in this thread..

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=50886.msg580376#msg580376

and more with CAC search from TSP HOME

Offline Canadian Prepper

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 676
  • Karma: 54
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: AmRRon vs Ares
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2016, 10:00:01 PM »
As someone who is a member of the local ARES group and a member of AMRRON, I think that there are a couple of issues at stake here.

For starters, from my experiences most of AMRRON's activities revolve around local, regional or national voice and digital nets, so if I understand correctly, it's more about networking with like minded people and building up radio proficiency through regular practices. I haven't joined AMRRON Corps (though I might just do that) and haven't consequently seen the content of their forums, but I'd be surprised if I was far off in my assessment.

My ARES involvement (here in Canada of course) revolves around participating in a group that provides communications support to the local Red Cross. We might eventually spend about as much time maintaining and practicing with their commercial radios as we would with our mostly VHF/UHF equipment (with some HF), but I'd try to help out in any case, and insurance coverage depends upon deploying only as directed in an emergency call out or for routine training.

I'm quite aware of the problems of non-professionals who self-deploy to emergency situations, putting themselves and others at risk, but as alluded to above, I'm not convinced that AMRRON engaged in that during the Washington fires, as per SCWolverine's comments.

Given pronouncements in the last year from the ARRL that was rather critical of CCW holders deploying with their side arms (essentially verboten for ARES) and perhaps a fear/concern over amateur radio becoming associated with counter cultural survivalism, militias, the "patriot" movement, etc., I suspect that that there's a desire to portray ARES in as uncontroversial a manner as possible. Add to that the natural inclination towards monopolizing a niche by singling out one's organization as the "officially recognized" one, I wouldn't be surprised if some officials within ARES develop an animus towards any people or groups that might challenge that view.

Naturally, a good proportion of hams, particularly those whose entrance into the hobby was inspired by an interest in EMCOMM, piggy-backing upon a generally more critical assessment of America's political and economic stability, might be inclined towards an alternative means of participating in emergency communications. That may or may not give them the option of insurance coverage, but doesn't necessarily make them into a bunch of self-deploying zealots either.