Cook County Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®)


This is the home page of Cook County Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®).

 Next ARES Events  
  ARES events only. See complete calendar below for other events,
  including public service events run by other groups.
Homeland Security Threat Level
  Key:     ARES Nets and Meetings    ARES/Operating Activities    Public Service Events    Weather Seminars/Training
Wed Apr 22 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed May 27 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed Jun 24 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Sat Jun 27 1300– 2400 ARRL Field Day.
Sun Jun 28 0000– 1300 ARRL Field Day.

   Quick Jumps

ARES Calendar of Activities and Public Service Events
Invitation to Join ARES
ARES Registration Forms
Severe Weather (Skywarn®) Training 2015
Chicago-Area and Illinois Nets, including ARES, Skywarn, and Public Service
Cook County ARES Net--4th Wednesday every Month
Schaumburg ARC Emergency Communications and ARES Net
ARRL Field Day--Illinois and Chicago-Area Field Day Operations
Illinois Statewide Simulated Emergency Test (SET)
Skywarn® Recognition Day
Further Reading about ARES and Public Service
Contact Cook County ARES

ARES Calendar of Activities and Public Service Events

  Key:     ARES Nets and Meetings    ARES/Operating Activities    Public Service Events    Weather Seminars/Training
Day Date Local Time Event
Tue Apr 21 1900 NWS Weather Spotter Training: New Lenox. Details here.
Wed Apr 22 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Tue Apr 28 1830 NWS Weather Spotter Training--Advanced Class: Kenosha WI. Details here.
Sat May 09 0800 Weather Spotter Training at Dark Skies Severe Weather Seminar: Madison WI. Details here.
Wed May 27 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Sun Jun 07 0630 Public Service: Udder Century
Sun Jun 14 0600 Public Service: Tour de Cure
Wed Jun 24 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Sat Jun 27 1300– 2400 ARRL Field Day.
Sun Jun 28 0000– 1300 ARRL Field Day.
Wed Jul 22 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed Aug 26 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed Oct 28 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed Sep 23 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Wed Nov 25 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz
Fri Dec 04 1800 Skywarn Recognition Day
Sat Dec 05 0000–1800 Skywarn Recognition Day
Wed Dec 23 2100 Cook County ARES Net  SARA Repeater, 146.88 MHz

Detailed Information on Public Service Events*:

Date/Time Event Location Contact and Additional Details
Sun Jun 07

* McHenry Bicycle Club 33rd Annual Udder Century Invitational Bike Ride 2015 udder-century
Union IL

Donley's Wild West Town
8512 S Union Rd (abt 100 yards N of US-20)
Map here.
Wendell Smith N9REP
  • E-mail: here
  • Tel: 815 245 9325 C
Communications provided by an ad hoc group organized by N9REP.
Sun Jun 14

* American Diabetes Association
Tour de Cure for Diabetes
Bicycle Ride Fundraising Event site/TR/TourdeCure/TourAdmin ?pg=entry&fr_id=10179
Aurora IL

Two Brothers Roundhouse
205 N Broadway St. (SR-25)
Next to Metra Station
Michael Johnson KC9QLT
  • E-mail: here
  • Tel: 224-500-0376 C
Communications provided by an ad hoc group organized by KC9QLT.
 * Events marked with an asterisk are run by organizations other than Cook County ARES and are advertised here as a service to the event organizers and to ARES members interested in public service activities. Information is believed accurate, but you should contact event organizers directly to learn of any changes and to let them know you are available to assist.

Invitation to Join ARES

To All Radio Amateurs:

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a voluntary organization of licensed amateurs who have registered their capabilities and equipment for providing emergency communications as a public service to the community. The purpose of the ARES is to furnish communications in the event of natural disaster, when regular communications fail or are inadequate. Sponsored by ARRL®, the ARES functions at the local level to meet local communications needs.

The ARES has a long history of public service going back to its formal inception in 1935. Since that time, the ARES has responded countless times to communications emergencies.

Experience has proven that radio amateurs respond more capably in time of emergency when practice has been conducted in an organized group. There is no substitute for experience gained before the need arises.

The ARES in each locality operates under the direction of the Emergency Coordinator (EC), whose function is to direct the activities of the ARES to maintain a state of readiness.

To register in the ARES, send the detachable registration form above directly to your EC, or to ARRL Headquarters for forwarding to your EC. League membership is not required for registration. Registration does not require the possession of any specially designed equipment. All amateurs can be of assistance to the ARES. There is provision in the ARES for every amateur regardless of class of license, equipment owned, or personal circumstances.

Won't you join us in providing this essential Amateur Radio service?

Richard Palm, K1CE
Field Services Manager

ARES Registration Forms

Illinois Nets, including ARES, Public Service, NTS, and Skywarn® Nets

Cook County ARES Net

The Cook County ARES Net meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 9:00 PM local time on the SARA repeater (146.88 MHz R-600 PL107.2). All amateurs with 2-meter privileges and an interest in emergency and public service communications are welcome, without regard to ARES membership, ARRL membership, or county of residence. The net features a brief training session each month designed to improve each participant's competence in emergency communications. The net also includes announcements regarding emergency and public service communications. Suggested reading material for each training session will be available here or via e-mail.

Schaumburg ARC Emergency Communications and ARES Net

The Schaumburg Amateur Radio Club Emergency Communications and ARES Net meets on the first Thursday of the month at 8:20 PM local time on the SARC repeater (145.23 MHz R-600 PL107.2). If the repeater is unavailable, the net is conducted in simplex on the repeater output frequency. All amateurs with 2-meter privileges and an interest in emergency and public service communications are welcome. The net features a brief training session each month designed to improve each participants competence in emergency communications. The net also includes announcements regarding emergency and public service communications. Suggested reading material for each training session is available here or via e-mail.

Illinois and Chicago-Area Field Day Operations

ARRL® Field Day 2015

June 27 and 28, 2014

ARRL®Field Day is the largest Amateur Radio emergency communications exercise, and is held annually in late June. (More info.)

Amateur radio operators (or "hams") numbering in the tens of thousands, throughout the US and Canada, will demonstrate their emergency communications capabilities by trying to contact as many other stations as possible over a 24 to 27 hour period, using emergency power sources and temporary stations and antennas erected in the field for this event. Many hams participate in this event as part of a local amateur radio club or emergency communications volunteer group. Some clubs/groups operate at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of a government or other served agency, instead of building stations in the field.

Field Day is not just for experienced hams. Visiting a club/group Field Day operation is a great way for new hams to learn more about emergency communications and to meet other hams in their neighborhood. And Field Day is an excellent introduction to ham radio for the general public.

We encourage all amateurs to participate in this fun and educational emergency communications exercise. Most clubs/groups will be delighted to welcome you as a visitor, even if you're not a member of the group, and even if you're not a licensed ham.

2015 Updates Pending

Maps and additional information on club/group Field Day operations in Illinois in 2014 are available at the Illinois and Chicago-Area Field Day Directory:

A Thumbnail Map of Northeast Illinois Field Day Locations Another Thumbnail Map of Northeast Illinois Field Day Locations

Field Day Directory

And while you're planning to visit one of these Field Day operations, please consider bringing along a friend or neighbor who might enjoy learning about amateur radio. Kids love Field Day because there's always something going on!

ARRL Field Day 2016

June 25-26, 2016

ARRL Field Day is always the fourth full weekend in June.

In 2016, ARRL Field Day will be held over the weekend of June 25-26. The Illinois and Chicago-Area Area Field Day Page for 2016 will be posted around April 2016.

For Further Reading on Amateur Radio Emergency and Public Service Communications, Including ARES

Severe Weather (Skywarn®) Training 2015

Severe Weather Spotter Training by the National Weather Service Chicago (Romeoville) Forecast Office

The National Weather Service (NWS) offers severe weather spotter training classes at dozens of locations throughout the Chicago forecast office's county warning area (CWA) in Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana through mid-April.

The classes are about 1-1/2 to 2 hours and feature a multimedia presentation and talk by a NWS meteorologist. Most classes are open to the public, but some host agencies limit participants or require pre-registration. Contact the host agency well in advance to learn of any restrictions and to register. Most classes are free of charge; an exception is the DuPage Advanced Weather Spotter Seminar on 2012/03/10.

Severe Weather Spotter Training by Other NWS Offices

Tom Skilling Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar at Fermilab--28 March 2015

Tom Skilling presents an annual Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar at Fermilab. Although not spotter training, many people interested in tornadoes and other severe weather phonomena find the seminar informative and enjoyable. Two identical presentations are offered, one beginning at 1200, and the other beginning at 1800. The presentations run about four hours. The seminar is offered free of charge and no tickets are required. Because seating is first-come, first-served and space is limited, it is wise to arrive well in advance.

For more information, visit:

WGN TV has announced that the Noon presentation will be live-streamed on the web site.

Illinois Statewide Simulated Emergency Test (SET)

Updates for 2015 Pending

11 October 2014 (Saturday)
1330 — 1730 UTC
0830 — 1230 Local

SET: An Opportunity to Test Emergency Communications Capabilities

ARES units throughout Illinois will participate in a statewide Simulated Emergency Test (SET) on 11 October 2014.

The Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is an annual opportunity for amateur radio operators and emergency communications groups to exercise and test their emergency communications skills and equipment while interacting with served agencies, NTS nets, and other ARES and EmComm organizations.

The following description of the 2014 Illinois Statewide SET exercise scenario was posted by Section Emergency Coordinator Brad Pioveson W9FX on 16 September 2014:



  • 11 OCT 2014
  • 1330 — 1730 UTC
  • 0830 — 1230 Local

(Times listed are for Section nets—local nets can run as long as the ECs and members care to operate.)




A major winter storm has moved swiftly from the Rockies, across the plains, and drops an average of 36 in of wet, heavy snow across the entire state. This has happened on the evening before the SET begins. Temperatures before and during the storm averaged in the upper 20 degree Fahrenheit range, but, in the wake of the storm, frigid temperatures follow, dropping temps to near or below 0 degrees. Locations north of I-70 see temps in the -10 degree range. South of I-70, temps hover near 5 degrees. A second front is right behind the first one, and as the morning of the SET opens, heavy snow is falling across all of Illinois—on top of the already piled 3 ft of snow. Snow is falling at the rate of about 6 in per hour.


The bitter cold temperatures are too low for ice/snow melting concoctions used by highway departments to have any effect. and, highway departments are struggling to get any roads opened to traffic. Major highways, are impassable and have been closed by the Illinois State Police. Motorists are stranded on the Interstate highways and toll ways. Secondary roads are likewise unusable and littered with wrecked and abandoned vehicles. Electrical utilities are slowly failing from the massive energy demand and from tree limbs falling across lines owing to the weight of snow on them. Telephone/Internet service, including cellular systems, are sporadic. With the approach of even more snow, and with it, freezing rain, the stage is set for a major natural disaster in Illinois.


It's not often that weather events are unannounced, and, this storm is no different. Despite frequent warnings from the National Weather Service, most people are unprepared for an interruption in infrastructure and transportation that last longer than a few hours. This storm will disrupt normal lines of communications and transport for at least 48 hours. Rural areas may be affected for a considerably longer period. Hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes all have populations that are vulnerable to these types of events, as they rely on a continuous, uninterrupted flow of supplies, including medicines, equipment, energy, food and water. First responders will be unable to do their jobs well or expediently as communications both from and to their command centers will be unavailable, and, their abilities to move people and equipment will be severely limited.


We Illinois AUXCOMM volunteers, and, that banner is used to describe both ARES and RACES units and members, have talked about ICS (Incident Command System) procedures and classes for some years now. Most of us have taken the four basic ICS courses—100, 200, 700 and 800. Some have added other, more advanced classes to those, and, a few of us have had the opportunity to complete the AUXCOMM class. It's time to put some of the training to work. The primary objective of this SET is for your group—ARES, RACES, MARS or other, to establish local communications between your members and/or your served agencies via your established local nets. Each of your participating members is asked to generate and transmit a message, addressed to the Illinois AUXCOMM Coordinator for this event (details on addressing to follow by separate message), indicating the sending station's location (town/village/city and county), and how long that individual can maintain operations at his or her current location without outside support. That would include such matters as fuel for generators, battery life at 90%-receive, 10%-transmit duty cycle, available food and water, and personal situation (heat, shelter, etc.). A message schematic/template will be distributed prior to the exercise. This message should be in ICS-213 format. Information on ICS-213's will follow in later messages. The message may be sent via voice communications or via digital-RF means, i.e., the Winlink network. If you have a packet RMS station available to you, use it. If not, use Winmor or Pactor. If those aren't available to you, find out who in your organization, or a nearby organization can act as your gateway to get the message onto the Winlink network. The only prohibition is that we won't use the Internet for message traffic. This one is all RF.


Each community has it's own unique circumstances and potential needs, and, for that reason, each EC is free to decide how involved his or her group's participation in this exercise will be. EC's are encouraged to use some creativity in designing the local scenarios based on the general, Section SET scenario.


Pending IEMA approval. Info will follow, as it becomes available.


All three branches of the Military Auxiliary Radio System will be invited to participate.

The following additional information announced by SEC Brad Pioveson W9FX on 02 October 2014:


To give AUXCOMM operators the opportunity to gain experience working with, i.e., generating, transmitting and receiving, ICS-213-formatted messages.


The Statewide SC21 (StarCom21) drill will be held on Tuesday, 07 OCT. All County EMAs will be expected to participate in this drill. As the drill is actually run from NC9IL, the Illinois AUXCOMM station, the NCS for the SC21 drill, will be adding a challenge to the normal, "turn the radio on and check-in" routine that is expected with these events.

The NCS, N9LQF, will be asking all SC21 drill participants to:

  1. Contact their AUXCOMM radio volunteers and generate an ICS-213 formatted message which they will give to their AUXCOMM volunteers to transmit. The message must be transmitted BY RADIO ONLY—no Internet!
  2. This ICS-213 formatted message will be addressed to the State AUXCOMM coordinator, i.e., for amateur messages / , for MARS addressing. Message content should include the following:
  3. The name of the electrical power utility that provides electricity to their (county) EOC
  4. The contact telephone number of the "emergency contact" for that utility, i.e., the number they would call if the AC power at their EOC was disrupted for any reason
  5. The email info, i.e., address, for the point-of-contact at the EOC/EMA generating the message, so I can close the loop with them once I have received their message


  1. What if your county EMA chooses not to "play," or, if you're a home-rule community providing your own EMA function? Well, the SC21 drill won't touch your agency, but that does not mean that you AUXCOMM/ARES folks cannot contact the EMA and request that such a message be generated.
  2. What if your "served agency" is not an EMA at all, or, if you're unaffiliated with a gov't or non-gov't agency? Then, as an AUXCOMM/ARES group (or, volunteer), generate an ICS-213 message, per above, same info, only provide the email address of the point of contact for your group in place of the EMA POC's info.

Note that the SC21 drill is TUESDAY. AUXCOMM folks have until Saturday at 1630 to get that message sent!


Messages must be sent by RADIO ONLY *RF ONLY* and 3G/4G cellular and/or wi-fi hookups DO NOT QUALIFY.

Messages may be sent via voice nets (ISN or other), or, directly, by digital means, including Winlink 2000, by CW (ILN), or whatever other radio-only means is available to you to use.


Yes, the Illinois ARES Net will be on the air from 0800 thru 1230, more or less, on 11 OCT, on 3.905 Mhz, primary, 7.230 MHz, secondary. The command and control net will be on those frequencies. Tactical nets will be generated, on an as needed basis, to handle message traffic. The principal reason for the Illinois ARES HF Net to be on the air that morning is to provide a meeting place for participating groups and individuals. If there is message traffic to be passed, it will be accomplished on other frequencies—assigned "on the fly" and as needed.

Again, the objective of this exercise is to gain experience working with the de facto standard message form in modern emergency management—the ICS-213. Local groups may take this exercise scenario and embellish it as they see fit, adding layers of complexity/problems/injects as they see fit, and as their minds' eyes can imagine.


I am recuperating from major surgery, and, will be rattling around the house for the next few days/weeks. I can answer questions, if posed by email. I am not good at chasing down a ringing telephone, right now, however.

EmComm Round Table for All Interested Hams

Third Saturday of the Month--0900 AM
Hoffman Estates P.D.

Bob Langsfeld WB9TZC hosts an EmComm Round Table meeting for hams interested in emergency and public service communications on the first third Saturday of most months.

The Em Comm Round Table is a public service and emergency communications amateur radio operators interest group. The meeting is open to amateur radio operators and members of clubs, ARES, and RACES. Participants share experience and network with one another. The format typically includes "hot wash" of past events, a posting of upcoming events and coordinator contact information, a brief presentation on a selected topic, followed by a round-table discussion on the presentation topic and any other topics participants wish to raise.

The meeting is held at the Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W Higgins Rd., Hoffman Estates. The meeting begins at 9:45 AM 9:00 AM. Participants gather in the lobby of the Police Department and are guided to a meeting room.

For more information:

Note: This meeting is organized by Bob Langsfeld WB9TZC, but is not an official activity of Hoffman Estates EMA or Cook County ARES.

Skywarn® Recognition Day

Friday 4 December 2015 1800 CST through
Saturday 5 December 2015 1800 CST.

Skywarn Recognition Day is a FUN amateur radio operating event to celebrate the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN radio operators make to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Amateurs visit National Weather Service offices throughout the U.S. to set up ham radio stations and operate during the 24-hour period of the event. The goal for these stations is to contact as many other stations, including other NWS offices, as they can. Other amateurs participate from home, club, mobile, or portable stations. They try to contact as many participating NWS offices as possible. Certificates are available to participants who contact a threshold number of other stations.

Although Skywarn Recognition Day is intended principally as a fun operating event, EmComm-focused amateurs can use this as a great learning opportunity, because Skywarn Recognition Day is a great emergency communications exercise. In some cases, operations at NWS offices are like a winter Field Day, in which visiting hams set up several additional stations and antennas to supplement the stations permanently installed at the office. And maximizing the number of participating stations contacted requires operating skills similar to those needed in an emergency.

The National Weather Service is an important served agency for amateurs throughout the region. Can your station communicate directly with the Romeoville forecast office via simplex? If you now expect to use one of NWS' selected liaison repeaters, and that repeater is out of service, will you be able to use one of the other repeaters? Skywarn Recognition Day will give you an opportunity to find out.

How to participate:

  1. Review the Skywarn Recognition Day information at
  2. Make contacts with WX9LOT, the station at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Romeoville, IL on as many of the repeaters listed below as you can. See "Special Note" below.
  3. Make a simplex contact with WX9LOT on one or both of 2m and 70cm.
  4. If you have HF privileges, make contacts with WX9LOT and as many other participating Skywarn Recognition Day stations as you can on HF.
  5. If you want a certificate or QSL cards from participating NWS Skywarn Recognition Day stations, follow the instructions at

Skywarn Recognition Day is held on the first Saturday of December--in 2015, that's December 5. The event runs from 0000 to 2400 UTC (i.e., the event begins at 1800 CST on Friday and runs through 1800 CST Saturday).

Special Note

2015 Update Pending

WX9LOT at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Romeoville makes a special effort to contact hams in the 23 counties of the NWS Chicago County Warning Area (CWA) on the 2m and 70cm bands. Repeaters typically used include:

RepeaterOutput FrequencyPLOffset
Valparaiso, Indiana147.105 Mhzpl 131.8+
FishFAR--Schaumburg442.900pl 114.8+
FishFAR--Gilberts442.925pl 114.8+
FishFAR--Joliet442.925pl 114.8+
FishFAR--Chicago442.975pl 114.8+
FishFAR--Gilberts146.925pl 100.0
Dupage Radio Club442.550pl 114.8+
Kankakee, Illinois146.94 Mhzpl 107.2+
Grundy County, Illinois442.325 Mhzpl 114.8+
Ogle county, Illinois147.165 Mhzpl 146.2+
Corrections from NB9R and AB9MZ applied.

Invitation to Visit Unified Command Post 15 at Melrose Park Events

August 29–31 at Taste of Melrose Park

September 05–07 at Melrose Park Hispano Fest

The Melrose Park Public Safety and Homeland Security (MPPS) department would like to showcase one of the Cook County Unified Command Post vehicles by encouraging any interested amateur radio operators to visit one of the following, public events, being held in Melrose Park:

  • Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
    July 10th thru July 13th
    at 23rd & Augusta
  • Zacatecanos Fair
    July 19th & 20th
    at 1000 N. 25th Ave
  • Taste of Melrose Park
    August 29th thru August 31st
    at 1000 N. 25th Ave
  • Hispano Fest
    September 5th thru September 7th
    at 1000 N. 25th Ave

MPPS is composed of several specialized divisions, namely: Homeland Security & Domestic Preparedness, Emergency Services, Fire Rescue Team, Medical Reserve Corps and Mounted Operations.

Emergency Services is the heart of the department. This division supports all of the Village of Melrose Park Public Safety Divisions(FD/PD) thorough a variety of efforts, from traffic control, emergency medical response, Skywarn, working at village special events to search and rescue operations.

Contact Cook County ARES

For more information on how you can be a part of ARES in Cook County, Illinois, contact:
   Neil Ormos N9NL
District Emergency Coordinator, ARES Region 4
(Cook, DuPage, Lake Counties)
2700 S. Briarwood Drive West
Arlington Heights    IL    60005-4603
Tel:   +1 847 477 7104
E-mail: ares1 at-the-domain

Outside of Cook, DuPage, or Lake Counties? Visit the Illinois Section ARES page at to find the ARES unit serving your county.



Trademark acknowledgements:  
  • Amateur Radio Emergency ServiceARES, and A R R L  are registered trademarks of American Radio Relay League, Incorporated, 225 Main St., Newington CT 06111.
  • Skywarn  is a registered trademark of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1401 Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC 20230-0001.


Page Version: 2015-04-22 00:36:08 NRO