Amateur Radio Emergency Service in Olmsted County

Rochester Amateur Radio Club (RARC) members are associate participants in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) to provide communications support during real and simulated emergencies in Rochester, Olmsted county and throughout southeast Minnesota.

Olmsted County ARES Organization

The Olmsted county ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) organization provides emergency communications for real and simulated emergency events in southeast Minnesota.The ARES organization provides emergency communications support for VOAD, Channel One, the American Red Cross, Rochester Police Department, Rochester EOC, and Fire Deparment, the Olmsted County office of Emergency Management and the Mayo foundation.

Steve Wiebke (W0STV) 254-3993 is the Olmsted county ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC).

Active ARES members are amateur radio operators who have completed an ARES Registration Form. To become an active ARES member, simply complete and return the ARES Registration Form. Download the ARES Registration form PDF file to your PC. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill out the form, and return it by doing one of the following:

  • Print out the completed form and mail it to:
    • RARC
      P.O. Box 1
      Rochester, MN 55903
  • Or, print out the completed form and bring it with you to an RARC club meeting, and deliver it to Steve Wiebke.
  • Or, save the completed PDF form, and email it to

The participation hours in ARES activities and nets determines the registered member’s position on the ARES A or B teams. All RARC club members are associate members of the Olmsted county ARES organization.

All active ARES memebers are encouraged to purchase an ARES vest. If you need an ARES vest or would like to become an active ARES member, please contact Steve

Any Olmsted ARES member that is available to provide communications support when ARES is activated is requested to contacting EC Steve Wiebke on the 147.255 PL100 repeater or at 254-3993. Please contact the following for additional Minnesota ARES and Olmsted county emergency management information:

  • Benton Jackson K0BJH Minnesota Section Manager (SM)
  • Daniel D. Anderson, KDØASX, Minnesota Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC)
  • Bob Wiles AB0BW SE Minnesota ARES DEC
  • Bob Wiles, ABØBW, Minnesota District 1 Assistant Emergency Coordinator.
  • Marvin Myers Jr, KCØCLC, Dodge County Emergency Coordinator (EC).
  • Capt Jonathan Jacobson Director of Olmsted Security and Emergency Ops for Olmsted County
  • Ryan Osterang Emergency Management Director for Olmsted County
  • Kyle Mirehouse, Director of Emergency Management for Rochester

ARES and related information links:

Olmsted County Emergency Services Nets

An ARES net is activated when threatening situations warrant as determined by the National Weather Service in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, or by the Olmsted County or Rochester Emergency Operations Centers. Skywan nets are directed nets and all communications is controlled by the net control station (NCS) using net procedures. Contact Steve Wiebke (W0STV), for more information on becoming a ARES net control station operator.

The Olmsted county ARES net uses the Olmsted EOC 147.255 repeater, PL100.0 Hz, for skywarn and emergency event activation/information.  The 146.820, PL100.0 Hz, repeater is the backup for the 147.255 repeater and is available to provide additional ARES communications. A third back up repeater is the 146.625 PL 100.0 for redundancy and over flow traffic that can not be handled by the previous two repeaters..

An ARES information and training net is held every Sunday evening at 9:00 PM local time. Please see the Nets and Meetings page for net and repeater information. All registered ARES members are required to check into this net. Any licensed amateur radio operator may check into the net. Please listen first and follow the NCS check in procedures.

ARES net information links:

The Olmsted skywarn activity debriefing is held during the Sunday evening ARES nets, following any previous weeks activation. All amateur radio operators that were activated are requested to check into the net. Comments and constructive suggestions are welcomed.

Olmsted County ARES Frequency List and Grid Maps

Olmsted County ARES Radio Communications Plan:

Emergency Management Grid Maps:


NBEMS stands for ‘Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System’. It is becoming a widely accepted standard for amateur emcomm digital communications. We use NBEMS in our Thursday night net . These tutorials show how to set up and use NBEMS: Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software (NBEMS) 
FLDigi (soundcard modem) and FLMsg (message handler) are the two main applications needed to participate in NBEMS communications.
MT-63/2000L is the mode most often used for VHF/UHF NBEMS communication for Olmsted ARES (See the Thursdays@6:30PM SE MN Digital Net on  the 147.255 repeater).
Olivia 8/500 is the mode most often used for HF NBEMS communication for Minnesota ARES (See the Thursdays@8PM MN Digital Net on 3583.5 kHz USB).

Recommended Training

The following self-directed courses are available for free through FEMA.
ARES members are encouraged to take them in order to get familiarized with the Incident Command System in use nationally.

MN ARES also recommends the following courses:

Yearly SKYWARN training is also encouraged. Please attend at least every two years to stay current!

SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotting 

Severe weather storm spotting and reporting in Olmsted county is coordinated by the Olmsted County Emergency Management Office. 

A SKYWARN weather net is activated when a potential for severe weather is determined by the National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and/or the Olmsted Office of Emergency Operations Center. The KD0EOB 147.255 (PL100.0 Hz) repeater is used for SKYWARN nets, with the WØMXW 146.820 repeater providing backup communications. A SKYWARN net, when initiated by the EOC, may be operated from any SKYWARN trained NCS location until the EOC net control station is activated. Mobile radios are mandatory outside the Rochester city limits and always be operating on high power. If you only have an HT let the NCS know this. They will station you around the city limits to storm spot. When net control asks for spotters to check into a SKYWARN net give your CALL SIGN, your NAME, your CURRENT LOCATION.  (NE, SE, SW, NW). Notate if in city of Rochester.

EXAMPLE: This is W0STV, (pause) Steve in NW Rochester (pause) available as a mobile and standing by.

A county grid map is required to provide spotter locations for severe weather reports. SKYWARN spotters should keep safety in mind when tracking severe weather and always leave an escape route. Never obstruct traffic, park only where it is safe, be visible, and use vehicle hazard lights or other warning lights when parked. Use SKYWARN signs to identify vehicles and do not park on private property. SKYWARN spotters are required to have attended one National Weather Service (NWS) training class, sponsored and coordinated by Olmsted County Emergency Management Office, at least once every two years. All SKYWARN mobile spotters must be 18 years of age or older.Have a valid drivers license and vehicle insurance coverage.

[make this whole Skywarn bit into a video, or better yet find someone else’s video on the topic and link]

This page is the responsibility of the ARES EC.