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.”

We provide communication services when all other means of communication fail.

Since 1977, SERC trained licensed amateurs have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in public service when disaster strikes.

We work closely with~

· The American Red Cross, Southwest Florida Chapter

· Sarasota County Emergency Services

· Sarasota County Auxiliary Communications Service

· Medical Reserve Corps

· National Weather Service in Ruskin

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
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $2,095.00
Projected Expenses $1,834.00
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS LETTER OF DETERMINATIONView
Other Documents
ARC ExecDir MvanSickel Statement Nov2016.pdfView
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 Diabetes Association Tour de Cure Bicycle Race.

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

Hurricane Irma Disaster Response September 2017
Hurricane Uno Exercise Drill/ ACS/EOC/ARC, August 2017
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 EOC 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 robust microwave communications network to respond in times of need so that our efforts to serve the community 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.

Needs Statement

1-Immediate impact project to raise three antennas that were gifted from the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC). Estimated tower work performed by licensed tower climbers with bucket trucks and equipment at two sites: $7,970.78

2- Installing the AREDN/ HamWAN network including one client and three communication nodes, software, other installation equipment: $29,500.00

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- Replacement repeaters- equipment on two towers, $1700. each one.

5- 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.

Background Statement

Today people take for granted that they can communicate instantly through the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones. What happens in the event electrical power is lost, cell phone towers are damaged or the Internet is hacked? Under these conditions emergency communication between the responding agencies is essential and frequently fails. At that point amateur radio becomes the primary means of communication until normal communication can be restored. In some cases this may only be hours or days but has frequently stretched into weeks depending upon the emergency.

In 1977 the Sarasota Emergency Radio Club (SERC) was founded, implementing the charter that aligns the club with local emergency communications factions in a support role. We are a 100 member strong organization that owns much of the deployed equipment in the area. This organization has repeater sites on tall commercial towers, typically on a lease of $1 per year. However SERC purchases, owns and maintains that equipment. SERC maintains its equipment and strives to expand its capabilities, from funds and other support from its members and community sponsors.

We are aligned with the Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS), Sarasota County’s organization of hams affiliated with the local Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The county center provides a radio room with equipment and the members provide the talent. This room brings in the ham communications from the field, to the EOC center to be integrated with the county emergency functions.

The ACS assigns the hams to the various deployment locations, whether they are EOC assignments or American Red Cross (ARC) shelters. Assignments are prioritized by the ACS, but coverage includes shelters and ARC services. SERC partners with the local Red Cross and operates their radio room. SERC owns the equipment and provides the licensed, trained radio operators. The Red Cross staff is not licensed to operate the radio equipment. So the services we provide are different and are not duplicitous. Our members meet monthly at the ARC building. SERC also conducts weekly radio communication drills to maintain skill levels and ensure equipment reliability. Please read the heartfelt letter of appreciation and support from ARC Executive Director Megairie VanSickel.

Areas Served
Areas Served
Area
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- DeSoto
FL- Charlotte
Areas Served Comments

Our radio systems span Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. Our goal is to strengthen our coverage area using updated high speed digital technology. Establishing a reliable, robust emergency communications system allows for immediate response in the event of a disaster in our community or state. Our plans to build a microwave mesh network will reach into Pinellas County. We hope to then extend our capabilities south into Charlotte County.

Our responsiveness and readiness to serve allows us to be deployed locally into neighboring counties and communities (Hurricane Charlie 2004) or across the state or country. SERC members have a history of service assisting both FEMA, and the Florida Division of Forestry. Our community benefits when we are at our strongest and best prepared. We plan to build a robust network to meet today's needs and our ever-growing population.
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 radio communications, SERC members participate in several annual events such as the First Watch 1/2 Marathon where runners raise money for charities.

Club volunteers provide radio communication services for the annual American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure Bicycle Race where riders raise funds for diabetes research and education.

Operators are positioned at the medical and aid stations along the course to provide communications to the event coordinators. Our SERC digital team, the Sarasota Digital Group (SDG) developed an APRS tracking system complete with flags and topography to track SAG vehicles along the course so that the race coordinators can maintain constant contact and control.

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.

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 radio operators to help novices become familiar with radio operations, to communicate effectively, and prepare them for service during disasters.

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 we bring to the events.

Long Term Success

An ongoing measure of the program’s success is that we are asked to return and provide radio communications every year to the organizations we support. These organizations meet and exceed their goals, growing larger in scope each year. Several individuals participating in the organization of the events have themselves become ham radio operators, such was the impact that our activities had on them.

Program Success Monitoring

An ongoing measure of the program’s success is that we are asked to return and provide radio communications every year to the organizations we support. SERC radio operators arrive at dawn and leave long after the last participant has crossed the finish line. Frequently an operator has been dispatched to go find a stray runner or bicyclist.

Program Success Examples

Our organization is depended upon to provide volunteer radio operators annually for these events. The success of the program depends partially 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. Radio Operators 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!

‘Field Day’ exercises simulate emergency conditions requiring operators to work under less than ideal conditions. Monitoring the number of contacts demonstrates the ability to contact areas outside of an immediate emergency. It confirms equipment operation, including computers, an antennas as well as radios. The results and other details are all recorded and reviewed each year in the effort to make improvements to insure an even better event and emergency preparedness.

Budget $50
Category Public Safety, Disaster Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

The basic purpose of ‘Field Day’ is to simulate emergency conditions requiring operators to work under less than ideal conditions.  Monitoring the number of contacts demonstrates the ability to contact areas outside of an immediate emergency. It confirms equipment operation, including computers, an antennas as well as radios. The results and other details are all recorded and reviewed each year in the effort to make improvements to insure an even better event and emergency preparedness. This satisfies our short term goals to maintain our proficiencies and capabilities through regular exercises.

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. 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. Licensed SERC radio operators administer the testing and submit applications to the ARRL for FCC licensing.

To be certain that persons studying for their license understand the technical information, a program mentor is assigned to anyone requesting assistance. Our website has a section dedicated to radio communication education which includes FCC licensing requirements, testing and more advanced topics. The SERC website at www.n4ser.org is a well-organized site where everything from our monthly meeting minutes to technical need-to-know 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

Upon passing the ARRL Volunteer Examiner test session you are registered and licensed as a Technician Class operator by the FCC to communicate over amateur radio frequencies. It is a lifelong hobby and venerable past time. Ham radio operators continue to learn and stimulate their minds their entire life with a wide variety of different activities of which emergency communications is just one.

Long Term Success

As the operator’s knowledge and skill sets advances additional testing permits upgrading the Technician class license to the General and the Extra license classes.  Each class of license allows greater access to radio opportunities.

The introduction of new hams into the community, country, and globe provide long term benefits for all of humanity. Amateur radio is an international community. It provides opportunities to learn more about other cultures.

Program Success Monitoring

One of the best examples of a successful program are the measurable outcomes. Regularly scheduled testing sessions show 5-9 individuals new to amateur radio take the test for the Technician’s license quarterly.

Although the studies can be demanding the mentorship program is available to any youth or adult who needs a concept or question explained. The tests themselves are short with the objective to make certain that participants have the basic knowledge required to become a radio operator. Persons who pass are licensed by the FCC within a very short period of time and are assigned a “call sign” which is a unique sequence of letters and numbers which identify the operator and is required to be used in all radio communications.

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!

Program Success Examples
The VE testing sites always have several individuals interested in testing on scheduled dates. And although the studies can be demanding, the 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

Our 100 member strong organization of FCC licensed volunteer radio operators has supplied the backbone of our area’s communication efforts for 40 years. We are aligned with the Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of Sarasota County.

We enjoy a strong partnership with our local American Red Cross (ARC) who provide an on-site radio room. However, the Red Cross staff are not licensed as radio operators. Our club partners with the Red Cross to provide the skilled talent and the equipment to operate the radio room, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our organization purchases, owns and maintains much of the deployed equipment in the area. We have repeater sites on tall commercial towers, typically on lease at $1./year. We have a MOU with Sarasota County that allows them to use the equipment in an emergency. The ACS is comprised of many of SERC's own members. The Sarasota County EOC has a radio room that coordinates with SERC radio operators in the field and prioritizes deployment assignments through the ACS. Coverage includes ARC shelters and Mass Care services. You can see that SERC radio operators are a vital part of disaster care services and we fulfill a service that is different from the organizations we are aligned with.
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 Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Policies
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Comments
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization


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
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).

Our updated Plans & Policies documents will identify both board members and members from the club who are willing to take the Lead on implementation.

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2017
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
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
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
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.