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ULLWA ARES® & Polk County OEM "A Partnership That Radiates!"

The Upper Lake Livingston Wireless Association’s ARES® Team (ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service) has had a long relationship with the Polk County Texas Office of Emergency Management. That relationship has really grown this past year.

The ULLWA ARES® group had dwindled in size and interest but has seen renewed energy and growth since the early part of the year, thanks in part to the appointment of a new Emergency Coordinator (EC) who has promoted training and professional development amongst the team members.

Earlier in the year, meetings with the Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator, Courtney Comstock, resulted in the decision to upgrade the old equipment and antennas at the Emergency Operations Center. Multiple members of the ARES® Team worked with the OEM to suggest the new equipment items. The budget for purchasing those new items was approved by the County for the start of the new fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2023.

Several members of the team participated in the statewide Hurricane drill in May of 2023 at the EOC and on their radios. Following that exercise, our new EC, James “Skip” Straus, W5TXT, met with EMC Comstock and asked if it would be possible to order and install the equipment before October 1. This would allow the team to be fully operational should the county experience an emergency during the current Hurricane season. Ms. Comstock was able to get that approved through the Polk County Judge, Sydney Murphy.

Installed was a Yaesu FTM-300dr and an Icom IC-7300 along with a new vertical dual-band antenna and an OCF dipole antenna on the roof of the Office of Emergency Management.

The ULLWA ARES® Team has grown from seven members at the first of the year to nineteen members today, eleven of which are qualified to participate at the EOC, if needed. Eight of our members are also credentialed as RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) operators through the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

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