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Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service

What is it?

Founded in 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a public service provided by a volunteer communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the government agencies they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation will be different, the common thread is communications.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for the regulation of RACES operations. RACES is administrated by a local, county, or state civil defense agency responsible for disaster services.

The Amateur Radio Regulations, Part 97, Subpart E, §97.407, were created by the FCC to describe RACES operations in detail. Although no longer issued or renewable, RACES station licenses were issued in the past by the FCC to government agencies for RACES operations. The agencies may continue to conduct RACES operations without these licenses, using primary or club call signs.

Traditional RACES operations involve emergency message handling on Amateur Radio Service frequencies. These operations typically involve messages between critical locations such as hospitals, emergency services, emergency shelters, and any other locations where communication is needed. These communications are handled in any mode available, with 2 meters FM being the most prevalent.

During time of war, when the President exercises his War Emergency Powers, RACES might become the only communications allowed via amateur radio. When that fateful day occurs, RACES will be there to meet the challenge.

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved in our organization.  We have quarterly meetings that are open to anyone interested.  You do not have to be a "ham" to attend, although you may meet an "Elmer" who will teach you the ropes, help you get licensed, and get you on your way to operating your own station!  If you are interested in attending a meeting, please contact one of the individuals listed to the left for more info!

You can also hear more about what's happening on our monthly VHF net.  You do not have to be a RACES member to check-in, although you do have to be a licensed amateur radio operator.  FCC rules do apply!  Licensed operators may join us on the 1st Sunday of the month, at 7PM ET on 147.210/+. 

If  you aren't a "ham" just yet, there are lots of internet sites where you may be able to listen in online!

If you are ready to jump right in, we are always accepting membership applications.  You can download the application from the link to the left, complete it and the requirements, and submit it and your required documents to the address to the left.  One of our RACES Officers will contact you to arrange a follow-up meeting to discuss your application.

Membership is a great way to meet other individuals with the same interests, hear about and get to participate in community events, participate in training, and help your community at the same time!  As an Official RACES Member, you will receive an ID card so you can identify yourself in a time of need and ensure that you can operate your station legally during war time as authorized by the President of the United States of America!

If you are already a licensed "ham", isn't it time to get involved?  If you aren't but have an interest, start browsing some of the links on this page, or contact us and we will get you started!