Public Service


ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) is an amateur radio activity that is part of the ARRL Field Organization. Its purpose is to encourage Amateur Radio Operators to use their skills in public service events (such as bicycle races, parades and festivals) and to support local non-profit groups. Participants must hold a valid amateur radio license and be registered with the local ARES Coordinator. Contact WA4NC at

AUXCOMM (Auxiliary Communications) is a program sponsored by the U.S Department of Homeland Security. The primary purpose of Auxcomm is to have a group of trained communications personnel who can be activated to support local, state and federal agencies when normal communications are disrupted.

Auxcomm involves licensed Amateur Radio Operators who have completed specialized training in the Incident Command System and who can support local, state and federal emergency management when needed. Auxcomm personnel are involved in actual emergencies and training exercises. Auxcomm personnel often use advanced communications systems to send photos, documents and other files via WINLINK. Content sent via WINLINK is less subject to errors in transmission and can be sent faster than by traditional voice traffic. Although the two groups are distinct, many Amateur Radio Operators join both groups.

In North Carolina, an Executive Order issued by the Governor directs that all personnel who respond to emergencies must operate under the Incident Command System and be trained in the basics of ICS.  There are four required courses available on-line: ICS100 ICS200 ICS700 ICS800. These courses are offered at no cost. Information on how to register for the courses is available at: Once these courses have been completed and certificates of completion are received, licensed Amateur Radio Operators may be listed in the NC Auxcomm database which is a resource listing available to State Emergency Management. You can become listed in the Auxcomm database by following the instructions that are found at Leadership positions in Auxcomm and ARES require advanced ICS training gained in courses led by certified instructors. ICS300 is a course that focuses on managing emergencies using the Incident Command System structure. ICS400 focuses on more complex emergencies involving numerous emergency agencies in events extending beyond one 12 hour operational period.

Red Cross: The American Red Cross operates under a Charter granted by the U.S. Congress in 1917. The Red Cross carries out a number of functions including blood drives, assistance to military personnel, and disaster services. Locally, there is a Blue Ridge Piedmont North Chapter with an office in Boone. The Red Cross opens disaster shelters when flooding, fires, widespread power outages and other