The Bastrop County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, (Bastrop ARES®), an affiliate of ARES®, consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes and causes the disruption of normal communications services in the area. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in 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 licensed amateurs are eligible for membership.
Bastrop ARES® serves the residents of Bastrop County through the coordination and direction of the Texas ARES/RACES Organization and the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). ARES® helps support the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and National Weather Service with communications related tasks and operations. During RACES activation, the FCC can impose restrictions on Amateur Radio operations. In these instances, only the Office of Emergency Management can request ARES/RACES activation.
The National Weather Service is indirectly one of our served agencies, as many ARES members are trained storm spotters and work in conjunction with the National Weather Service during severe weather situations. In times of emergency ARES members set up and operate base stations at shelters, command posts, emergency operations centers, agency headquarters, hospitals, and the like providing communications among the various agencies and their officials out in the field.
Bastrop ARES® maintains and operates a system of radio repeaters providing communications coverage for hand held radios within the cities of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville and mobile and base station coverage throughout the Bastrop County and well into the adjacent counties. The repeaters also include HF, VHF and UHF remote base stations which enable communications with amateur radios systems in adjacent states and counties.
Bastrop ARES® operates and maintains complete HF, VHF and UHF radio base stations and Internet connected computers at Lakeside Hospital, Smithville Hospital and the Smithville Police station.
Bastrop ARES® has assembled portable "Jump Kits" that contain a complete VHF/UHF base station, battery, charger and antennas for use where rapid portable deployment is needed during emergency operations.