Connecticut ARES - Region 3 DEC: George Lillenstein, AB1GL Asst DEC: Bill Storey, AB1LZ
Connecticut ARES - Region 3     DEC: George Lillenstein, AB1GL     Asst DEC: Bill Storey, AB1LZ

Where to Find Us:

CT ARES Section 3 DEC
(District Emergency Coordinator)

George Lillenstein, AB1GL
39a Downey Dr
Manchester, CT 06040

Phone: +1 860 289-1445 (H)

                 860 716-3367 (Cell)

                 860 645-5449 (Work) (leave voicemail here only)


The DEC's schedule:



April 22 - Manchester CERT briefing, 7 pm, 321 Olcott St, Manchester

April 25 - MS Walk at Manchester Community College. Radio comms by the BEARS of Manchester.

May 4 - NARL General Mtg, Newington Sr Ctr, 7 pm

May 7 - Skywarn Training, Andover

May  13 - BEARS General Mtg, 7 pm, 321 Olcott St, Manchester

May 16 - Boy Scouts ConnJam - ARES Reg 2

May 23-24 - Angel Ride.  Contact N1CLV to volunteer.

May 30 - Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge, HQ at Northwest Catholic High School, Wampanoag Road, West Hartford.  Radio comms by CT ARES Region 3.  Looking for volunteers for checkpoints, SAGs, HQ net control, runners, scribes, phone answerers. Email

June 7 - BEARS Annual Picnic.

June 7 - MS Ride (Griffith Park)

June 8 - Skywarn training - Granby

June 20 - NARLFEST, Newington

June 27-28 - Field Day, visiting sites of NARL, BEARS, BARC, and MARS


About A R E S

ARES is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, the field arm of the American Radio Relay League. 

  • General volunteers for ARES do not have to be ARRL members, but must be FCC licensed Amateur Radio Operators. 
  • ARES Leadership must be ARRL members and are appointed by the ARRL Section Manager.


Our special focus is the use of Amateur Radio for emergency communications, and the recruiting and training of a pool of skilled radio operators to be available in times of emergency.


ARES in Connecticut supports requests for auxiliary communications from state and municipal governments, public health entities, and non-profit providers such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.  


Most agencies that receive federal funds of any kind are required to be compliant with NIMS, the National Incident Management System.  This framework requires that everyone on scene be certified in use of ICS, the Incident Command structure.  If you wish to be assigned a role with one of ARES' served agencies, you must provide proof that you have passed the required training courses.  These courses are provided free by the US government over the internet.  For hams who do not wish to take these courses, ARES can assign you to work from your home or mobile unit during an emergency.


For a  detailed list of training available, see the training page of the state ARES web site, CTARES.ORG.


IMPORTANT!  Whenever there is an ARES activation, leadership will notify and assign tasks ONLY to those who have current records in the ARES member database.  Go to and update your record now!


Skywarn Weather Spotter training 2015

Skywarn is a program run by the National Weather Service in conjunction with ARES to train ham radio weather spotters.  The class teaches spotters to recognize certain weather patterns, and what constitutes "criteria", i.e., reportable weather events.  Spotters are given numbered ID cards for use when reporting their data.

In Connecticut, CT ARES runs Skywarn weather nets on amateur radio, and ham volunteers at the nearest NWS office sign into the net via Echolink or IRLP and collect the data.  This "boots on the ground" data helps to verify ground level truth in cases where Doppler radar is blocked by earth curvature or terrain features.


CT ARES Region 3 falls at the boundary covered by NWS radars from Albany NY, Taunton MA, and Upton Long Island.  By the time the radar beams converge around the capitol area, the lowest weather features they can detect are at approximately 3,000 feet altitude, so the ham weather spotter reports are particularly important resources.


You should renew your training at least every two years, so please attend a class even if you have done so before.

Andover May 7th Thursday Skywarn spotter class

Andover Fire House, 7pm to 10 pm

11 School Road

Andover CT

This class will be taught by personnel from NWS-Taunton.  Reservations ARE REQUIRED.  Send request to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, at

Granby June 8 Monday Skywarn spotter class

Granby Senior Center 7pm to 10 pm

15 N. Granby Road

Granby, CT

This class will be taught by Rob Macedo, KD1CY.  No reservations needed, all are welcome.

W1FTE will provide talk-in directions on the 146.79 and 146.82 repeaters.

DMR (Digital Radio)

DMR mode radio has now been officially adopted by ARES in Connecticut as the primary means for command and control of ARES operations. SPARC, the State Police Amateur Radio Club, has put up over 23 UHF linked repeaters around the state and several additional clubs have linked their UHF repeaters to the net as well.  It is now practical for ARES members to coordinate their efforts from almost anywhere in the state using a handheld DMR radio.  ARES nets held on Sunday evenings at 8:30 and during recent alerts have had as many as 55 check ins from among all 5 regions as of February, 2015.


The most commonly used talkgroups are CT ARES Statewide, CT Tactical 1-5 and 6-12, and local. A receive-only talkgroup, CT ARES ALERT, will override all other talkgroups on the network's repeaters so ARES can announce emergency activations and nets.


To use DMR,  hams need radios capable of decoding the DMR signals.  As of today, the least expensive DMR radio that will work on the CT-ARES net is the Connect Systems model CS700,available direct from at around $200 retail.  This is a hand-held, 4 watt UHF radio capable of both traditional analog UHF and DMR-ETSI modes. There are other brands of DMR radios available; notably Hytera and Motorola.  These are substantially more expensive, but have more sophisticated features such the ability to automatically "roam" by detecting and switching to whichever repeater has the strongest signal..


(DMR-ETSI is an open European standard for digital radio, which is compatible with the Motorola "Mototrbo" system. )


To get started in DMR:

  • Apply to for a unique subscriber ID number.  This 7-digit ID number will be listed in a public database with your call sign and first name, allowing other DMR radio users to identify you when you press PTT.
  • You will need to program your radio.  DMR radio programming is much more complex than traditional ham radios.  You will need to enter Contacts, Zones, Color Codes, Time Slots, Receive Groups and more.  Collectively, everything you need to program into your radio can be saved as a data file called a "code plug" created using software available from the radio's manufacturer.  For the CS700 radio, the software is free.  A good starting point is a code plug available for download from .  It's not perfect, but this volunteer has kept up with the latest changes to the CT ARES DMR Net. Version 22 was released on this site on Mar. 19, 2015. Our recommendation is to load this code plug, change the ID information, add additional channels for your favorite analog UHF repeaters, then add them to the "Analog" zone.
  • Watch the web site for changes to the repeaters in the net, talkgroups, programming tips, and word of in-person seminars on how to program your radio.
  • More and more users are applying for ID numbers and being listed by every day.  To update your radio's list of ID numbers/first names in between code plug versions, you will need the G4EML CS700 Contact Manager program to append latest data dump to  your own code plug.  (See the DOWNLOADS page on this website to download the Contact Manager. ) The data dump is available daily from the DMR-MARC.NET site, but takes a bit of spreadsheet manipulation to strip out extraneous columns. As time is available, AB1GL will make the latest dump available as a CSV file for import into the Contact Manager, see the downloads page on this website.  Other contact manager apps are starting to appear but we have not tested them yet.
  • Connect Systems  is now saying they expect to ship the CS7000 dual band model radio in September.  So far, Region 3 members who have ordered it have not received it yet.
  • Other inexpensive DMR-ETSI radios are starting to appear on the internet.  We'll keep you apprised of any models we are able to test first hand.  Do not trust that a radio exists just because it is listed for sale on the internet.  Remember, anyone can post anything on the internet.
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© George Lillenstein, AB1GL 2014