Montgomery County RACES Site

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service


The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), is a public service provided by a reserve (volunteer) group of Amateur Radio Operators that is administered by local, county and state emergency management agencies, and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States government. As a part of the Amateur Radio Service, it provides radio communications for civil-preparedness purposes only, during periods of local, regional or national civil emergencies. These emergencies are not limited to war-related activities, but can include natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, power outages, tornados, floods, victim searches, air crashes, and many others.

Originally for wartime use, RACES has evolved over the years, as has the meaning of civil defense (which is also called civil preparedness), to encompass all types of emergencies. While operating in a RACES capacity, RACES stations and amateurs registered in the local RACES organization may not communicate with amateurs not operating in a RACES capacity. (Of course, such restrictions do not apply when such stations are operating in a non-RACES--such as ARES--amateur capacity.) Only civil-preparedness communications can be transmitted. Test and drills are permitted only for a maximum of one hour per week. All test and drill messages must be clearly so identified.

Although RACES and ARES are separate entities, the local RACES Group and the ARRL advocates dual membership and cooperative efforts between both groups. Whenever possible, it is an advantage for an ARES group whose members are all enrolled in and certified by RACES to operate in an emergency situation.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

Learn more about the ARES

(Link to ARRL)

Public Service Communication Manual (771KB)

ARES Field Resources Manual (439KB)

Link to ARRL Web Site (pdf files)

Updated on: 03/07/2016 06:28:58 PM

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