Welcome to the Western Tidewater Radio Association
Serving Amateur Radio in Southeast Virginia

In late 2019, in light of recent reorganization within the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and development of the ARRL ARES Plan, Virginia Section leadership formed a steering committee to evaluate the ARRL ARES program and recommend changes to the organizational structure for 2020 and beyond. As a result of that work, a number of changes are in process with the Virginia ARES Organization.


One of the concepts within the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is “Span of Control”. This concept dictates that a single person should ideally “manage” from 3 to 7 persons or entities. Virginia ARES was organized as 15 Districts, all reporting to a single Section Emergency Coordinator.

In keeping with span of control principles, Virginia Department of Emergency Management reorganized into five Regions within the state, each with it’s own office and staff. We are in VDEM Region 5, with it’s office in the VDOT building in north Suffolk.

Changes to Virginia ARES

On the recommendation of the ARES steering committee, effective February 1, 2020, Virginia ARES is now defined in five Districts that match up with the VDEM region. We are in District 5 (see the ARES page on this website for a map) which encompasses all of the jurisdictions that touch water between the Carolina line and the Potomac River, plus Southampton County – combining all or parts of old Districts 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Last week, a steering committee for the new District 5 met in Hampton and began the process of organizing the new District. Terry Buzzard KA8TNF agreed to be the District Emergency Coordinator (DEC). It was also decided to organize “sub-districts” or “subdivisions” – name yet to be decided – along the lines of the old Districts. The sub-divisions are Rappahannock, First Colony, Eastern Shore, Southern Tidewater and Western Tidewater. The new Western Tidewater sub-division consists of Isle of Wight county, Southampton county, City of Franklin and Surry county, and Randy Grigg WB4KZI will be the ADEC (Assistant District Emergency Coordinator) for our area.

ARES Connect

In order for us Emergency Coordinators to maintain an accurate roster and to accurately report Em Comm activity in our jurisdictions, it is vital that volunteers register in the ARES Connect volunteer database. This allows us to be able to present up-to-date rosters of volunteers to our local Emergency Managers which in turn registers you automatically as a RACES service volunteer. If you have not done so already, please go to https://arrl.volunteerhub.com/lp/va to register in ARES Connect and please let me know when you have done so that I can get you properly assigned to our team.

73 for now,

Chris – N4KIT

Emergency Coordinator / Emergency Radio Officer

Isle of Wight County