The Almonte Amateur Radio Club (AARC) comprises 30 federally licenced radio communicators, residents of Mississippi Mills and Lanark County community, whose interest in Amateur Radio has two main objectives; firstly, as a hobby, to promote radio knowledge, cooperation between members and the conducting of activities to advance the general interest and welfare of Amateur Radio in the community, and, secondly, the desire to serve the community by making available, on a volunteer basis, their skills, equipment and time for public service events, and in particular when requested by municipal officials and support agencies (i.e Red Cross) during declared emergencies.
At present the AARC owns, operates and maintains digital and analog Radio Repeater systems which cover the Mississippi Mills and Lanark County areas allowing club members to utilize their personal handheld, mobile or home station equipment(s) to reliably provide voice communication with each other within Lanark County.
Within the AARC is a sub-group identified as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) whose specific purpose is to fulfill the second objective of the AARC. This ARES group comprises 18 members who are trained to respond to declared emergencies by providing radio communications utilizing the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)Amateur Radio Station situated in the Almonte General Hospital, the Radio Repeater installed in the Almonte Firehall, and the deployment of individual member(s) and their equipment as needed and directed by the Mississippi Mills Emergency Control Group and the support agencies we serve. As an example, during the 1998 ice storm, local radio amateurs provided and set up equipment at community centres and shelters in remote regions of the County to facilitate communications in areas where power and telephone services were disrupted.
Through an agreement with the County of Lanark, space, electrical power and access to the adjacent antenna tower at Union Hall is made available to the AARC for the installation of a D-STAR digital repeater. The D-STAR repeater system enables the transmission not only of voice data but also text and graphic (video) data. Also included will be other applications such as the GPS positional data. The D-STAR system will be the ARES main resource to be used during a community emergency and as a secondary use, be available to provide communications for local community events.