The Amateur Radio Communication for Hospital Emergency Service (ARCHES) purpose is to provide voice and digital communications for hospitals in the event that an emergency incident disables telephone and internet services. Communication with other hospitals, incident command centers (EOC’s) and others is conducted through radio channels allocated to the Amateur service. Radio connection to Winlink worldwide servers provides digital communication both for conventional e-mail service and the transmission of ICS and HICS forms.

Served Agency – CATRAC

The agency providing equipment for, and served by, ARCHES is the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC). In 2000-2001, Travis County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) took ownership of the Amateur Radio gear installed in nine (9) hospitals across Travis County. Since then, CATRAC has supplied 18 more hospitals, in a total of 11 counties, with a basic backup communication package which contains two dual band radios, antennas, a TNC (terminal node controller) and a PC.

These backup communication stations are called RMS stations and are tested by volunteers with a ham radio license, the WC-ARES Digital Cavalry. Click on the link to see the status of the CATRAC RMS Packet/VaraFM Stations served by CATRAC.

The 3rd Friday of the each month our volunteers visit the hospitals to test operate the gear at each RMS station.

Digital Cavalry

The WC-ARES Digital Cavalry are members of the WC-ARES who have 2m digital (packet/VaraFM) capability. These operators do weekly check-in tests of the Radio Message Server (RMS) packet stations in and around Williamson County, Texas. The RMS station locations include ARCHES hospitals, EOC’s, and other amateur’s homes. In addition to the RMS stations in Williamson County, some testing of RMS stations in nearby counties including Burnet, Travis, Bastrop and Hayes are also performed. More info on the Digital Cavalry is available here.

Additional RMS

In addition to these 27 sites, there are approximately 100 more RMS packet stations throughout the State of Texas doing a similar function. To see a listing of those sites click on the following link to the Texas RMS Packet/VaraFM Station Uptimes status page, this is updated every 3-5 minutes by pinging the stations through the internet.

More Information

For more information about CATRAC, please click on the following link