Bedford Amateur Radio Club
The Bedford Amateur Radio Club (BARC) is a group of approximately 50 licensed amateur radio operators who work together to provide emergency (and other) communications support to the citizens of Bedford and Tarrant County. BARC members work with the Bedford Office of Emergency Management, with the support of the Bedford Fire Department, to ensure emergency communications are available during severe weather and other critical incidents.
BARC members are also members of the Tarrant County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), a Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-sanctioned emergency radio service activated during disaster situations. To become a member, individuals must complete FEMA training and have met all requirements for the National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Spotter program.
During emergency situations and disasters, many traditional forms of communications (e.g., cell phones, public service radios, etc.) are adversely impacted. It these situations, the Amateur Radio community supplements emergency communications by providing many voice and data services using amateur radio technologies. These men and women, often called ‘Hams,’ unselfishly volunteer their time and personal equipment in service to their community.
BARC (FCC radio call sign K5BED), currently operates using the N5VAV repeater as the default (442.825 MHz, P/L tone 110.9 Hz, located on the radio tower at the Central Fire Station) and is an active participant in Tarrant County RACES operations. The primary activity in this area is to staff the amateur radios in the Bedford Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and to deploy storm spotters (individuals trained to observe and report potential sever weather activity). This information enables the NWS to make more informed decision in issuing severe weather warnings.
BARC members also participate in many other non-emergency activities such as:
- Observation of the outdoor warning sirens during each monthly test
- Public service events both in Bedford and in other cities in Tarrant County such as the Cowtown Marathon, other 5K and 10K races, Bicycle races. Fire and Police Department Open House, etc.
- Support testing emergency backup communications for the THR HEB hospital.
- Participate in other Bedford-based volunteer organizations such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) by providing augmentation of emergency communications between teams, their command, and the Bedford EOC.
- Support for volunteer communications for the Northeast Tarrant and Denton County Child Abduction Response Team (CART), a group of law enforcement individuals specifically trained to handle Amber Alerts (child abductions) and Silver Alerts (missing elderly citizens).
- Work with other area amateur radio clubs to share information and to better facilitate communications across city boundaries if needed.
- Participate in the annual American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day event where amateur radio operators across the nation set up radio stations (again using their own equipment) and participate in a contest to see how many other stations nationwide they can contact. Although this is only a contest, it enables the participants to test the operation of their equipment as well as providing actual hands-on experience in long distance communications.
Meetings and Contact Information
BARC members meet on the third Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Central Fire Station, 1816 Bedford Road. The backup meeting location is the Bedford Law Enforcement Center at 2121 L. Don Dodson Dr.
For more information and to become a member, please contact Frank Knox for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org