Providing Communications Support for Homeland Security and Natural and Human Disasters for Calloway County Kentucky and the surrounding area.


Homeland Security

MSUARC believes that Ham radio is essential to homeland security in the United States. Our service is a dispersed and decentralized communications system that can't be shut down by terrorist attack. While public safety agencies rely on central dispatch stations, amateur radio operators can go on the air just about anywhere anytime.  Hams are trained communicators with technical knowledge that prepares them to put their stations on the air at remote sites quickly, creating makeshift facilities when needed. Amateur radio operators don't have to wait for technicians to arrive to repair equipment or re-program computers. Hams can do it themselves on the fly.

Natural and Human Disasters

MSUARC Amateur radio operators have proven themselves to be essential responders in weather and other natural emergencies, search operations and disasters of human origin. Hams can go on the air and stay on the air when ordinary public service communications may fail. For many decades, ham radio often has been the only means of communicating from a stricken area to the outside world for hours and sometimes even days.

MSUARC ARES volunteers recently aided in the search for a downed airplane.   Go here for a story and pictures from the search operation...


Communications support is frequently provided from this well equipped trailer owned by Calloway County.  The MSUARC provided assistance in designing and equipping this facility and is frequently called upon to staff it upon deployment.


Hams at work inside the mobile communications center during the Spring 2003 "Disaster Blaster" Exercise.


The Calloway County Amateur Radio Emergency Service consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership. 

Calloway County is located in Western Kentucky, southeast of Paducah.  Murray is the county seat.



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Calloway county is one of the eight counties in ARES district 1.




Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator:
Ron Dodson, KA4MAP
2265 Hwy 376, Webster, KY 40176, 270-496-4654

Assistant Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator:
Ronnie Goodpaster, AG4TY
70 Ky Hwy 643, Waynesburg, KY 40489, 606-365-9363

Kentucky Emergency Net:
Monday at 20:00 - 3.888 LSB


Section Manager - John Myers NB4K -

Assistant Section Manager West Kentucky - Bill Call

Section Emergency Coordinator - Ron Dodson KA4MAP  -

First District Emergency Coordinator - Bill Slayman KY4NU - 

County and Local Emergency Coordinators

    Calloway - Mark Garland K4SDI

    Graves, Carlisle, Hickman, & Fulton - Steve Gordon WA6LDV -

    Marshall - Whipple Walker N4STW  -

    McCracken - Steve Poirier KC6GNV -


Weekly net operations are as follows:

The Kentucky Emergency Net (KEN) Every Monday at 7:00 PM CT on 3.880 Mhz LSB, and as otherwise needed. Offers training each session'

1st Dist ARES NET - Every Thursday at 9:00 PM CT on 147.240 (may change to 147.130) Offers training each session.

Calloway Co ARES NET 3rd Monday of Each Month at 8:30 PM CT on 146.940

Marshall Co ARES NET every Wednesday at 9:00 PM CT on 147.130

McCracken Co - Purchase Area Emergency, WX and Tfc Net every Sunday at 8:30 PM on 147.060

Graves Co. To Be Announced


Who Can Join? Calloway County ARES is open to any licensed Amateur Radio operator in Calloway County. Those living outside the county are encouraged to participate in our operations, but should join their local ARES organization. If there is no local organization, we'll be glad to help you start one! We also encourage you to apply for membership in the Murray State University ARC (MSUARC). MSUARC membership is not required to join the Calloway County ARES.

For more information, or to join the Calloway County ARES or the Murray State University ARC contact: Mark Garland, K4SDI ARES Emergency Coordinator for Calloway County.

Useful Resources:

Additional Information


There are four levels of ARES organization--national, section, district and local. National emergency coordination at ARRL Headquarters is under the supervision of the ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager, who is responsible for advising all ARES officials regarding their problems, maintaining contact with federal government and other national officials concerned with amateur emergency communications potential, and in general with carrying out the League's policies regarding emergency communications.

Section Level

At the section level, the Section Emergency Coordinator is appointed by the Section Manager (who is elected by the ARRL members in his or her section) and works under his/her supervision. In most sections, the SM delegates to the SEC the administration of the section emergency plan and the authority to appoint District and local ECs. Some of the ARRL sections with capable SECs are well-organized. A few have scarcely any organization at all. It depends almost entirely on who the section members have put into office as SM and whom he/she has appointed as SEC.

Local Level

It is at the local level where most of the real emergency organizing gets accomplished, because this is the level at which most emergencies occur and the level at which ARES leaders make direct contact with the ARES member-volunteers and with officials of the agencies to be served. The local EC is therefore the key contact in the ARES. The EC is appointed by the SEC, usually on the recommendation of the DEC. Depending on how the SEC has set up the section for administrative purposes, the EC may have jurisdiction over a small community or a large city, an entire county or even a group of counties. Whatever jurisdiction is assigned, the EC is in charge of all ARES activities in his area, not just one interest group, one agency, one club or one band.

District Level

In the large sections, the local groups could proliferate to the point where simply keeping track of them would be more than a full-time chore, not to mention the idea of trying to coordinate them in an actual emergency. To this end, SECs have the option of grouping their EC jurisdictions into logical units or "districts" and appointing a District EC to coordinate the activities of the local ECs in the district. In some cases, the districts may conform to the boundaries of governmental planning or emergency-operations districts, while in others they are simply based on repeater coverage or geographical boundaries. Figure 2 depicts the typical section ARES structure.

ARES Operation During Emergencies and Disasters

Operation in an emergency net is little different from operation in any other net, requires preparation and training. This includes training in handling of written messages--that is, what is generally known as "traffic handling." Handling traffic is covered in detail in the ARRL Operating Manual. This is required reading for all ARES members--in fact, for all amateurs aspiring to participate in disaster communications.

The specifications of an effective communication service depend on the nature of the information which must be communicated. Pre-disaster plans and arrangements for disaster communications include:

While much amateur-to-amateur communicating in an emergency is of a procedural or tactical nature, the real meat of communicating is formal written traffic for the record. Formal written traffic is important for:

When relays are likely to be involved, standard ARRL message format should be used. The record should show, wherever possible:

  1. A message number for reference purposes.

  2. A precedence indicating the importance of the message.

  3. A station of origin so any reply or handling inquiries can be referred to that station.

  4. A check (count of the number of words in the message text) so receiving stations will know whether any words were missed.

  5. A place of origin, so the recipient will know where the message came from (not necessarily the location of the station of origin).

  6. Filing time, ordinarily optional but of great importance in an emergency message.

  7. Date of origin.

The address should be complete and include a telephone number if known. The text should be short and to the point, and the signature should contain not only the name of the person sending the message but his title or connection also, if any.

Point-to-point services for direct delivery of emergency and priority traffic do not involve relays. Indeed, the full ARRL format is often not needed to record written traffic. Shortened forms should be used to save time and effort. For example, the call sign of the originating station usually identifies the place of origin. Also, the addressee is usually known and close by at the receiving station, so full address and telephone number are often superfluous. In many cases, message blanks can be designed so that only key words, letters or numbers have to be filled in and communicated. In some cases, the message form also serves as a log of the operation. Not a net goes by that you don't hear an ARL Fifty or an ARL Sixty One. Unfortunately, "greetings by Amateur Radio" does not apply well during disaster situations. You may hear an ARL text being used for health and welfare traffic, but rarely during or after the actual disaster. Currently, no ARL text describes the wind speed and barometric pressure of a hurricane, medical terminology in a mass casualty incident or potassium iodide in a nuclear power plant drill. While no one is suggesting that an ARL text be developed for each and every situation, there is no reason why amateurs can't work with the local emergency management organizations and assist them with more efficient communications.

Amateurs are often trained and skilled communicators. The emergency management community recognizes these two key words when talking about the Amateur Radio Service. Amateurs must use their skills to help the agencies provide the information that needs to be passed, while at the same time showing their talents as trained communicators who know how to pass information quickly and efficiently. We are expected to pass the information accurately, even if we do not understand the terminology.

Traffic handlers and ARES members are resourceful individuals. Some have developed other forms or charts for passing information. Some hams involved with the SKYWARN program, for instance, go down a list and fill in the blanks, while others use grid squares to define a region. Regardless of the agency that we are working with, we must use our traffic-handling skills to the utmost advantage. Sure, ARL messages are beneficial when we are passing health and welfare traffic. But are they ready to be implemented in times of need in your community? The traffic handler, working through the local ARES organizations, must develop a working relationship with those organizations who handle health and welfare inquiries. Prior planning and personal contact are the keys to allowing an existing National Traffic System to be put to its best use. If we don't interface with the agencies we serve, the resources of the Amateur Radio Service will go untapped.

Regardless of the format used, the appropriate procedures cannot be picked up solely by reading or studying. There is no substitute for actual practice. Your emergency net should practice regularly--much more often than it operates in a real or simulated emergency. Avoid complacency, the feeling that you will know how to operate when the time comes. You won't, unless you do it frequently, with other operators whose style of operating you get to know.

ARES - When all else fails - Amateur Radio Emergency Services gets the message through.