What Is AREC?
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC) is the public service arm of the NZ Association of Radio Transmitters, the national association for amateur radio operators. AREC is made up of volunteers who are individually licensed amateur radio operators required to meet standards set by Radio Spectrum Management, a division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
AREC is a member of the New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) Consultative Committee and an associate member of LandSAR New Zealand. The objective of AREC is to support Search and Rescue, Civil Defence, and other emergency services in New Zealand by providing experienced radio communications personnel.
AREC has several individual groups in the Auckland region, but in an emergency we all work together as a single entity to provide emergency communications support wherever it is needed.
What does AREC do?
Search and Rescue
Whenever LandSAR New Zealand is activated to assist NZ Police with a search operation, members of AREC are deployed to set up and operate the communications systems and incident management computer systems at the incident control point in the field. They communicate between search parties a the incident management team, maintain a communications log and keep track of the location of the search teams using SARTrack equipment to record the GPS coordinates of each of the team radios.
AREC operators at a Search and Rescue field communications base
Civil Defence and Emergency Management
In the Auckland region AREC operates under a memorandum of understanding with Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) which is a branch of Auckland Council, to provide communications support for civil defence emergencies.
The primary role of Auckland Region AREC during civil emergencies will be radio communications with local Community Resilience Groups (CRGs), the AEM Emergency Coordination Centre, and other agencies or groups as required. Communication may make use of the AEM owned VHF radio network and equipment, AREC and member owned amateur radio equipment, and such other equipment and systems which may be appropriate to a specific situation.
AREC also supports AEM and the community in the following routine tasks:
- Radio Communication Checks - Weekly communication checks with users of the AEM VHF radio network and follow up on technical issues or concerns.
- Training - We provide training community groups in radio communication techniques and procedures and to Initial Response Teams in the setup and use of AEM portable radio repeaters.
- Event communications. We can provide public service communications support to Auckland Council or other groups for activities such as sports events, car rallies, and other community events.
- Support for community resilience groups. We provide advice on the design, setup, development and improvement of radio communications systems for use in civil defence emergencies.