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Travis County ARES Overview

Visit the Travis County ARES Website

The Travis County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (TCARES) provides emergency communications to several served agencies with the motto “When All Else Fails”. Monthly meetings are held the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. Weekly Nets are each Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on the 147.36+131.8 repeater. Activities include training, certifications, exercises, and events, in addition to responses to communication incidents. Visit for more information.

Our served agencies include:

  • ARCHES (Amateur Radio Communication Hospitals Emergency System) provides back-up voice and packet communications between 15 area hospitals and the Emergency Operations Center
  • ADRN (Austin Disaster Recovery Network) – supplements ham radio operations to needs assessment and disaster recovery efforts
  • EOC (Combined City of Austin and Travis County Emergency Operations Center) ARES equips and mans a radio room connected to the EOC that commands all emergencies in the city and county
  • Infrastructure Awareness gathers information on the functionality of basic infrastructure and provides that information through MARS to the Department of Defense and Homeland Security in the event of terrorist or cyberattack
  • Natural Disasters can make communications infrastructure inoperable, non-functional or overloaded. ARES provides back-up communications locally, in adjacent counties or regionally with the Austin Rapid Response Team
  • National Weather Service – Weather nets are activated any time a severe weather warning is issued for Travis County. Weather reports according to SkyWarn guidelines are reported through the WX net to the NWS, all area EOCs, and all Austin TV stations through a controlled chat room.
  • Red Cross in addition to providing back-up communications as needed, ARES maintains the antennas at the Central Texas Red Cross Center on Pershing Drive
  • VOAD/CERT communications are provided to member agencies as required

If you are interested in supporting one or more of these served agencies, please join us on our weekly nets or monthly meetings.

TCARES Training Net

Sunday Night Net is held @ 19:00 local time on the 147.36 MHz+131.8 repeater or backup frequencies if required.

In an emergency, tune to the Resource and Information Net on the 147.36 MHz repeater.  During a weather event, tune to the SkyWarn and Information Net on the 146.94 MHz repeater.

TCARES NEEDS YOU!  We need more Net Control operators. We are operating weekly needs on a thin crew right now. We could definitely use some help filling in spots. At the moment, it is becoming difficult for a Net Control operator to schedule time off.  If you are in range, can read a script and copy call signs, you are qualified!  Please contact Glenn Meter w5mtr [[at]] to discuss what schedule fits you best.

Planning Committee Meetings

TCARES Planning Committee meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. This meeting is open to all. Contact the Travis County EC for meeting info.

Online Training

TCARES has several training videos available on YouTube. Visit

Travis County ARES WinLink Wednesday

WinLink Wednesday provides a regular opportunity to test our hardware and software configurations, and to practice our skills in using the WinLink radio email system ( Announcements and reminders go out to past participants via WinLink and via the TCARES website ( Also visit for updates and more training information.

Any TCARES licensed amateur capable of sending and receiving WinLink radio email via VHF or HF is welcome to participate.

WinLink training topics will be included in the acknowledgements that are sent. These will include important features and characteristics of the WinLink system (scripts, P2P, creating templates, message precedence, white lists, compressing files). Also included will be tips, shortcuts, definitions, links to other system and training information, etc.

The preferred method is to use any VHF or HF RMS gateway to send your check-in through your radio. Initially, if your setup is not capable of digital transmission, you may use Telnet. But within a few weeks you will be expected to transmit through a Gateway as this is the real value of WinLink.

W3MRC-10 on 145.730 MHz is a public RMS Gateway available 24/7/365 for legitimate amateur radio use. Coverage is quite good around Travis County. You can use the W3MRC-10 gateway, another VHF or UHF gateway, or an HF gateway to participate in WinLink Wednesdays. The WinLink Web site, , has maps and lists of all the gateways available for use. Also check the Texas RMS Packet Station Uptimes,, for current status of central Texas gateways, nodes, digipeaters, etc.

All TCARES are encouraged to participate and add WinLink, an important part of our ARES® response capability, to your amateur radio toolkit. It’s easy to do, and if you are already set up for digital modes you have all the hardware you need. If not, find a buddy to help you set up your system.

To join this activity, follow the check-in procedure below.

Check-in Procedure

Check-in anytime between Sunday and Wednesday midnight. Check for incoming messages anytime after that. All check-ins will be acknowledged, and a complete list of check-ins will be sent via WinLink to all participants. Try to read that message before the next check-in.

Please remember to use the correct format for check-in, as shown below:

Subject: //WL2K TCARES WinLink Net Check-In
Message body: call sign, first name, city or town, Gateway used (W3MRC-10, N5TW, etc), Session type (Packet, Pactor, Winmor, Telnet, etc)

Example message:
W5RZG, John, Austin, W3MRC-10, Packet

Previous TCARES Meeting Presentations

2019-05-28 — GO KIT by (Peter Velasques,KF5MIB – PDF version -or- Original PPT version

2018-09-23 — Backup Generators, by Kerby Spruiell, KG5DLD

2018-08-28 — Army Futures Command Activation (PDF format), by Kerby Spruiell, KG5DLD

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