Sarasota Emergency Radio Club Inc
PO Box 21042
Sarasota FL 34276-4042
Mission

“The Sarasota Emergency Radio Club (SERC) is primarily dedicated to providing emergency communications in time of disaster. The club also supports the mission of the Sarasota County's Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), which consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in public service when disaster strikes. We work closely with Sarasota County Emergency Services, the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the National Weather Service in Ruskin, Sarasota County ACS, and the Division of Forestry.”

Since 1977 the Sarasota Emergency Radio Club has been supporting the community in times of disaster through our licensed amateur radio operators, many of whom volunteer with local organizations to learn policies and protocol that keep our mission strong:

We volunteer to man emergency communications posts for Health & Welfare communications at shelters and other locations where needed and provide radio operators for all necessary positions to sustain support operations during times of need.


We maintain an ongoing state of communications readiness using our own equipment, and activate an adequate level of support whenever alerted to a potential or existing emergency. We are trained to effectively handle message, information, command and liaison traffic as is required for any communications support needed in an emergency. We participate in such training as to be familiar with various protocols, equipment, forms, frequencies and events in order to accomplish all of the above.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair William Franklin
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2003
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Dec 2017
State Registration Yes Mar 2017
IRS Letter of Determination
View
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $2,095.00
Projected Expenses $1,834.00
Impact Statement

SERC regularly participates in local events to support the community and to engage our membership in real time exercises that increase and maintain our proficiencies and capabilities that prepare us for times of disaster. Examples include the Sarasota Half Marathon and the American Heart Association Tour de Force Bicycle Race.

SERC participates in countywide drills
to demonstrate our proficiencies in conjunction with multiple agencies. Most recently:

Cattleman’s Association/ Arcadia Stockyard Repeater Communications Test, Nov 2016
Deer Prairie/ Carlton Preserve Incident Command System (ICS) Exercise, Jan 2016
Sarasota County Hurricane Buck Disaster Preparedness Drill, May 2016

With help from Sarasota County Emergency Management we put together portable emergency communications kits to be deployed where no other communication options exist. All that is required is a ham radio operator trained to use the equipment.

Recently several hams financed their own project to build Internet Gateways that allow us to assist with Health & Welfare calls at disaster sites even when cell phone towers and the Internet are down. Only a licensed amateur can operate the radio that provides this service.

Our immediate goal is to build a network for a reliable communications system to respond in times of need so that our efforts are proactive rather than reactive.

Our ongoing goal is to help the community prepare for disasters by maintaining a real sense of readiness and support to assist with Health & Welfare immediately after disasters strike.

The Community Foundation has made it possible for our organization’s leadership to better understand how to organize its resources through implementing plans and policies. We appreciate this opportunity and are grateful for the impact that it will have on our club. Within the year we will be able to demonstrate our strategic and communication plans and the benefits of having them in place.

Needs Statement

1- Solar initiative~ We would like to be able to work with cost-effective solar equipment. The cost of solar powered equipment has dropped dramatically in recent months while reliability and efficiency has increased. Solar for portable and mobile units & batteries: $2000.

2- Pactor Modem: $2500.

3-
 UHF Duplexer- A duplexer is a necessary piece of equipment vital to the operation of a repeater. It filters noise and interference using special circuits. $1604.

4-
 (3) PC laptops capable of ‘talking’ to each other for all digital and packet data transmissions, APRS tracking, National Weather Service, etc.: $2800.

5-
 CommScope DB420B Antenna- The antenna on the tower servicing our DMR repeater was a pre-existing feature prior to the installation of the repeater two years ago. Communications through this repeater have never been optimum because a stronger antenna is required. The cost for a new antenna includes installation: $2270.

Background Statement

In 1977 the Sarasota Emergency Radio Club was founded, implementing the charter that aligns the club with local emergency communications factions in a support role. FCC laws governing amateur radio have not changed much since 1977. Hams continue to stand strong as emergency communications volunteers. Our membership currently stands at 100 persons and includes men, women and families. We maintain our own equipment and help build networks to increase the efficacy of communications with radio operators in nearby areas.

Currently we maintain repeater systems spanning three counties. SERC operates several systems on the 2-meter amateur radio band that covers Sarasota County. These repeater systems currently operate under the FCC call sign of N4SER on the coordinated frequency pairs of:

444.700 MHz Transmit / 449.700 MHz Rx Digital Repeater Motorola Moto Turbo
145.130 MHz Transmit / 144.530 MHz Receive with a PL tone of 100.0Hz
146.730 MHz Transmit / 146.130 MHz Receive with a PL tone of 100.0Hz
147.390 MHz Transmit / 147.990 MHz Receive with a PL tone of 100.0Hz

Many SERC members have spent hours of their own time investing in the community by becoming certified through the American Red Cross, the Auxiliary Communication Service and CERT training courses. It is critical to be able to help in a meaningful way when disaster strikes and understanding protocol is paramount to working with multiple agencies in times of emergency.

The Sarasota Emergency Radio Club regularly participates in annual disaster drills, cooperating with the Sarasota Auxiliary Communications Service and Sarasota County Emergency Management. We utilize the radio room facilities at the American Red Cross in Sarasota and the club meets at the ARC building on Cantu Court.

In 1977 radio operators would be assigned to emergency shelters to relay ‘health & welfare’ messages through other radio operators in remote locations with messages that could take awhile to reach a family member.

The legacy of the original SERC membership back in 1977 continues to serve the community, but with an even more exciting spin on it! Today trained radio operators can provide Internet services through their radios during times of emergency even when cell phone towers and the Internet are down in our area. Most people have not stopped to think about how they would contact relatives and loved ones without the use of the Internet or their cell phones. But when all else fails, amateur radio will still be there!

Areas Served
Areas Served
Area
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- DeSoto
FL- Charlotte
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Our membership consists of a diverse group of licensed radio operators who bring important life experiences with them to meet our mission of supporting our community in times of disaster. We are experimenting with the most reliable digital communication methods that will serve our community even if the Internet and cell phone service is disrupted in our area. We participate in drills and exercises to maintain our readiness and proficiencies. We interact with experts in the communications field to provide feedback on leading technology advances, and some of our members even build their own devices to better understand how the equipment works.

Our club derives 100% of its revenue from membership dues. Historically, we have used this money to maintain our network of repeaters that are strategically mounted on tall towers throughout the county. These devices form our ‘repeater system’ that allow ham radio operators to send voice and data signals.

It is important to know that under the laws governing amateur radio operators that we do not ever take money for our services. Hams (licensed radio amateurs) come qualified to serve with their own equipment. Over the years our club has received donations of used equipment but this is the first time we are reaching out to the community. When a repeater or a donated radio breaks our members reach into their pockets and come up with the money to fix or repair. It is our hope that our all-volunteer non-profit group can stop being reactive with our equipment repairs and start being proactive by investing in reliable, new equipment that will last. We have become very good at fixing old equipment; yet our talents and efforts would better serve the community by promoting amateur radio and expanding our network to fully reach the area that we serve.

In 2017 SERC and its partners will host the American Radio Relay League/ West Central Florida Technical Conference, bringing amateurs from five counties to meet in Sarasota County. We have been chosen to host because of our interest and contributions in the progress being made in digital communications.

These are exciting times! Our interest in microwave technology has demonstrated to us that the future of emergency communications will be more reliable than anything out of the past. As one of our members said, “This is not your father’s ham radio!” We look forward to engaging potential donors to show you how our organization makes a difference in your community. Thank you.

Programs
Description

Using our VHF and UHF repeaters we participate in several annual events such as the First Watch 1/2 Marathon where runners raise money for charities.

As part of our efforts to provide ongoing communications to support the general public, the club volunteers radio communication services for the annual American Heart Association Tour de Force Bicycle Race where riders raise funds for diabetes research and education.

With operators positioned at the Medical and aid stations along the course we provide communications for the event coordinators to help keep them aware of any emergencies and how the race is progressing. We have members at aid stations and in sag vehicles to pick up fatigued riders or any injured bikers. Race coordinators are in constant contact with our ham radio operators and are aware of any problems that occur instantly along the 10,20,35,62 and 100 mile course. Lost riders have also been found.

Budget $60
Category Public Safety, Disaster Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Other Named Groups
Short Term Success

The organizations we serve with our volunteer radio network are also 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. They raise money for specific causes and have reported reaching their goals each year.

Long Term Success

SERC’s regular participation in these local events to support the community also help to engage our membership in real time exercises that increase and maintain our proficiencies and capabilities that prepare us for times of disaster. These exercises provide the opportunity for experienced hams to help novices become familiar with radio operations, to communicate effectively, and prepare them for service during disasters.

Program Success Monitoring

One of the best way to determine the program’s success is that we are asked to return to provide radio communications every year. Our radio operators arrive at dawn and leave long after the last participant has crossed the finish line.

Program Success Examples

Our organization is depended upon to provide volunteer radio operators annually for these events. The success of the program depends upon our willingness to apply ourselves to the task and we are repeatedly asked to return year after year. SERC is able to provide references to confirm both our dependability and the enthusiasm that our radio operators bring to the events.

Description
Each year SERC participates in Field Day, which is the nation’s largest amateur radio emergency preparedness event. Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), it is also an educational outreach program that promotes amateur radio to the public. Our club sets up multiple radio units either at a park or at the local Red Cross radio room.

Hams are on-the-air for a solid 48 hours connecting with friendly voices in other parts of the country. It is a contesting event that engages average citizens and invites them to participate in our hobby. Even though you need to be licensed to talk over the airwaves, on this particular day with a control officer present, adults and children alike can experience the fascination of being a radio operator!
 
Budget $50
Category Public Safety, Disaster Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

The participants in this program, whether the licensed ham operators demonstrating equipment, or the control operator responsible for the safety and observing specific regulations concerning amateur radio operation benefit from setting up and taking down an effective mobile unit and transmitting communications as if the event were an actual emergency or disaster.

The general public participating in the event are able to identify the contributions that amateur radio provides whether in an emergency situation or as a fascinating, lifelong hobby.

Long Term Success

Each Field Day there are citizens who decide to become ham radio operators based solely upon their experience speaking over the airwaves during the marathon on-air event. Our club provides the information and testing required to take the next steps in becoming an amateur radio operator and serving the community.

Program Success Monitoring Equipment, software, antenna positioning, photographs, results and other specific details are all recorded and reviewed from the previous year’s Field Day events in the effort to make improvements to insure an even better event.
Program Success Examples

Each Field Day there are citizens who decide to become ham radio operators based solely upon their experience speaking over the airwaves during the marathon on-air event. I am one of those people. Amateur radio is a fulfilling and stimulating hobby that allows average citizens to make a huge impact to their community and the ARRL Field Day is an excellent introduction that reaches both youths and adults.

Description

SERC is a Special Interest Club of the American Radio Relay League and provides regular Volunteer Examiner (VE) testing for FCC licensure. Licensed SERC radio operators holding a General or higher licensure administer the testing and submit applications to the ARRL for FCC licensing. If you don’t pass the test you can take it again the same day!

To be certain that persons studying for their license understand the technical information, a program to mentor individuals assigns an ‘Elmer’ to anyone requesting assistance. An ‘Elmer’ is always available to help. Our website has a section dedicated to education where ‘Your Elmer Index’ is located. The SERC website at www.n4ser.org is a well-organized, up-to-date site where everything from our monthly meeting minutes to information on radio repeater frequencies and emergency contact information is easily found. Our Facebook page at SarasotaRadioClub is up-to-date and easy to navigate.

Budget $30
Category Public Safety, Disaster Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success You’ve studied for months to achieve a Technician Class license and upon passing the ARRL Volunteer Examiner test session you are registered and licensed by the FCC to communicate over the amateur radio frequencies. It is an admirable goal and a great achievement. It fills men, women and families with confidence and self-esteem. It is a lifelong hobby and venerable past time. Ham radio operators continue to learn and stimulate their minds their entire life.
Long Term Success

VE testing sessions offers the opportunity to upgrade the amateur radio operator’s knowledge and skill sets with advances from the Technician class license to the General and the Extra license classes. Hams can also aspire to become Volunteer Examiners themselves, as long as they are at least General class licensed. A regular, continuing VE test session in a dedicated area ensures the ability to continue populating the community with new ham radio operators who frequently go on to help support emergency communications in the community.

Program Success Monitoring

To be certain that persons studying for their license understand the technical information, a program to mentor individuals assigns an ‘Elmer’ to anyone requesting assistance. An ‘Elmer’ is always available to help. Our website has a section dedicated to education where ‘Your Elmer Index’ is located.

Program Success Examples
One of the best examples of a successful program is ‘the opportunity to succeed’. Although the studies can be demanding the ‘Elmer’ mentorship program is available to any youth or adult who needs a concept or question explained. The tests themselves are short with typically only 35 questions on them. To make certain that participants learn all the knowledge required to become a radio operator, those 35 questions are randomly chosen from 150 questions in the study materials.
 
‘The opportunity to succeed’ exists because you can retake the test again (at no additional cost) if you fail it the first time. Persons who pass are licensed by the FCC within a very short period of time. The Volunteer Examiners are responsible for submitting the test results promptly.
Comments
Program Comments by Organization

It is important to remember that under the laws governing amateur radio operators that we do not ever take money for our services. Hams (licensed radio amateurs) come qualified to serve with their own equipment. Any and all of our programs operate without a budget and are manned with an all-volunteer staff. There are no paid members on our board. Even our club website is kept up to date by a licensed ham who’s skill sets include this ability.

Also program related, a group of hams interested in digital packet radio began to explore digital communications and what our neighboring counties are doing in their emergency communications practices. The Sarasota Digital Network (SDN) formed a think tank that all members are invited to participate in. Topics are stimulating and thought provoking, and guaranteed to improve one’s skill sets!

Also program related, regular presentations by club members and speakers who have educational information to share are presented at our monthly meetings held at the Sarasota American Red Cross building on Cantu Court, Sarasota Florida. Presentations frequently show historical footage of pioneers in amateur radio, radio culture and conceptual knowledge. The public is invited to attend!

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email N/A
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
NameTerm
Senior Staff
NameTitle
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 100
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Collaborations

The SERC membership of volunteers is aligned with county and federal government and holds a charter decreeing that it serves the following factions in times of need:

The Sarasota County Auxiliary Communication Service in conjunction with the Sarasota Emergency Management
The American Red Cross
The Division of Forestry
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department
 
Many SERC members have spent hours of their own time investing in the community by becoming certified through the American Red Cross, the Auxiliary Communication Service and county Citizen Emergency Rescue Team training courses. It is critical to be able to help in a meaningful way when disaster strikes and understanding protocol is paramount to working with multiple agencies in times of emergency.

The Sarasota Emergency Radio Club regularly participates in annual disaster drills, cooperating with the Sarasota Auxiliary Communications Service and Sarasota County Emergency Management. We utilize the radio room facilities at the American Red Cross in Sarasota and the club meets at the ARC building on Cantu Court.

External Assessments and Accreditations
Assessment/AccreditationYear
Awards & Recognition
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Special Service ClubAmerican Radio Relay League2016
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government Yes
Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Under Development
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan
Policies
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy
Policies and Procedures No
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair William Franklin
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Nov 2016 to Nov 2017
Board Chair Email gulfrader@comcast.net
Board Members
Board Members
NameAffiliation
William Franklin Community Volunteer
Dick Hullfish Community Volunteer
William Martin Community Volunteer
Brent Parker Community Volunteer
Dennis Spiess Community Volunteer
Antoinette Spiess Community Volunteer
Gary Wells Community Volunteer
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other We are particularly interested to engage one of the student members of the club as a director advisor when possible.
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Board Meeting Attendance % 71
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 75
Standing Committees
Technology
Comments
Governance Comments by Organization

The club’s Technology Committee provides a report at monthly meetings to apprise the membership of any technical problems, needed repairs, or if all equipment is operating effectively and our repeater systems are working. A weekly ‘net’ comprised of members also tests equipment to include range, signal and frequencies over our broadcasting area (depending on which radio operators are signed in to the net).

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $2,095.00
Projected Expenses $1,834.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$0$0$0
Administration Expense$731$844$2,093
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.162.010.65
Program Expense/Total Expenses0%0%0%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$0$0$0
Current Assets$0$0$0
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$0$0$0
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $1,580Membership Dues $1,700Membership Dues $1,355
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $00 $00 $0
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $00 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets------
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

The retention of members is solid with very little attrition and we derive 100% of our funding through membership dues of $20 per individual (less per family) annually. The due schedule is reviewed every year and we feel that any substantial increases in dues would negatively impact our membership financially since we are an organization of members from all walks of life.

Historically, when equipment needs to be fixed or replaced we shoulder the costs and ask for contributions from the membership. Recently a $2000 replacement part was needed and we had to quickly pursue individuals to make larger than normal contributions to make certain that communications would not be interrupted. Even though we maintain the local radio repeater system, licensed hams everywhere depend on this equipment. As an organization that relies 100% on dues and donations and also requires our infrastructure to be functional 24/7 a small cash reserve for emergency maintenance is very beneficial.

With newer technologies available to us we feel that any dues and donations are better spent purchasing newer, more reliable equipment than spending money on maintaining old equipment. This also increases the equipment's longevity and up-time.

Financial Comments by Foundation Financial taken from compilations as the organization files a 990-N. No balance sheet information has been provided.
Nonprofit Sarasota Emergency Radio Club Inc
Address PO Box 21042
Sarasota, FL 34276 4042
Phone 941 320-3978

THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY, INC. IS A REGISTERED 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT CORPORATION. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE (1-800-HELP-FLA) OR FROM THE WEBSITE: WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (100%) OF EACH CONTRIBUTION IS RECEIVED BY THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY. REGISTRATION #SC-02471.