Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
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The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a standby radio service provided for in Part 97.407 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations governing amateur radio in the United States.
The concept of a standby "Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service" to replace the conventional "Amateur Radio Service" during wartime was developed in 1952 as result of input from the American Radio Relay League and the Department of the Army's Office of Civil Defense. During World War II, The Radio Service had been silenced and a new War Emergency Radio Service (WERS) had to be created from scratch in a process that took six months.
The resulting standby RACES service was designed to provide a quicker and smoother transition in the event the President ever needed to silence the regular Amateur Radio Service again when invoking the War Powers Act. Ironically, despite four wars involving the United States since 1952, this has never happened.
When so activated, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service will consist of only those amateur radio operators who have previously registered with State and local governments to provide emergency radio communications for them in times of emergency. Other amateur radio operations would be suspended and operations under the RACES rules might be restricted to certain frequencies within the amateur radio bands.
In addition to wartime communications, operations under the RACES rules can provide or supplement communications during emergencies where normal communication systems have sustained damage. It may be used in a wide variety of situations, including natural disasters, technological disasters, nuclear accidents, nuclear attack, terrorist incidents, and bomb threats.
In the past, actual RACES station licenses were also issued to civil defense organizations. To prevent abuse of station licenses by officials who weren't licensed amateur radio operators, limitations on the duration of non-emergency operation and stations that might be contacted were incorporated into part 97.407. Such RACES station licenses are no longer issued, and any operations under the RACES rules would now use licensed amateur radio operators as control operators.
In daily practice, most amateur radio operators enrolled with their local government for possible operations under the RACES rules are also members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, organized by the American Radio Relay League. ARES provides emergency communications in the conventional Amateur Radio Service without the need for an emergency declaration from the government.
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was established under the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations, as part of the amateur radio service. The mission of RACES is to establish and maintain the leadership and organizational infrastructure necessary to provide amateur radio communications in support of emergency management entities throughout the United States and its territories.
RACES is employed during a variety of emergency/disaster situations where normal governmental communications systems have sustained damage or when additional communications are required or desired. Situations that RACES can be used include: natural disasters, technological disasters, civil disorder, nuclear/chemical incidents, acts of terrorism or enemy attack.
Through its courses and programs, USRACES.org serves as the national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency communications training and publications to enhance the Emergency Support Function 2 - Communications capabilities of federal, state, and local governments, volunteer organizations, and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters on the American public.
Lake County R.A.C.E.S/ARES® is affiliated with the ARRL, and the Lake County Emergency Management Agency. Our group concentrates on emergency and civil communications to support the safety of Lake County Illinois residents. We provide a communication team for public service for approximately a dozen events annually (parades, running races, triathlons, canoe races, etc.). We activate communication nets during periods of severe weather (with trained weather spotters and communicators) to assist the Lake County Emergency Management Agency and The National Weather Service. We provide other supplementary communications as needed by the Emergency Management Agency.
Our membership meetings are held on the 1st Monday of the month (September through June, 2nd Monday in September) at the Lake County EOC at 7:00 PM. These meetings are typically a business session followed by training in some related topic. Everyone is welcome to attend, including non-hams that are interested in becoming active in amateur radio.
We have a weekly net every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM. on our primary repeater, W9FUL/R, 147.180 (+600 kHz) 3A PL (127.3 Hz). All hams are welcome to check in.
Our Affiliate repeaters are KD9GY/R, 443.850, 2A PL (114.8 Hz) and K9IQP/R, 442.525, 2A PL (114.8 Hz).
LAKE COUNTY RACES/ARES GROUP
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
Amateur Radio Emergency Service®
1303 North Milwaukee Avenue * Libertyville, IL 60048
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