Amateur Radio Public Service

Have you thought about participating in Public Service while using your Amateur Radio station?
There are many opportunities to participate with RACES, ARES, and SKYWARN as well as assisting with various community events. A Technician License is sufficient to get involved. Training will be provided.


According to the RACES website (
RACES stands for “Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service,” a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC Part 97, Section 407). Many government agencies across the country train their Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) volunteers using the RACES protocol. The volunteers serve their respective jurisdictions pursuant to guidelines and mandates established by local emergency management officials.

RACES volunteer operators are:
• Licensed Radio Amateurs
• Certified by a civil defense agency
• Able to communicate on Amateur Radio frequencies during drills, exercises and emergencies
• Activated by local, county and state jurisdictions and are the only Amateur Radio operators authorized to transmit during declared emergencies when the President of the United States specifically invokes the War Powers Act.
RACES Resource Library:
This web site is intended to assist in the distribution of RACES Auxiliary Emergency Communications information. Updated RACES documentation and other emergency preparedness documents are available through the RACES Resource Library, maintained by RACES volunteers registered with the Arlington County, Virginia Office of Emergency Management, Emergency Support Function #2.
National Incident Management System:
Protocols embraced by RACES volunteers across the nation include the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which provides a consistent nationwide template to enable federal, state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together to protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents.


According to the ARRL Website (
Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES)

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

ARES Membership Requirements
Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Please inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

Training is available from ARRL:
EMCOMM Training

How to Get Involved in ARES
Fill out the ARES Registration form and submit it to your local Emergency Coordinator.


What is SKYWARN (

The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

Training is available regarding SKYWARN. Learn more at the National SKYWARN web site:
Binghamton NY NWS SKYWARN page:
Buffalo NY NWS SKYWARN page:
Albany NY NWS SKYWARN page:

In CNY you will usually find Amateur Radio Skywarn nets open when the NWS requests Skywarn activation on these local repeaters:

Primary local SKYWARN Amateur Radio Repeater frequencies:

Broome County – 146.82 PL 146.2 and 146.865 PL 146.2
Cayuga County – 147.00 PL 71.9
Chenango County – 146.685 PL 110.9
Cortland County – 147.18 PL 151.4
Deleware and Otsego County – 146.85 PL 167.9
Jefferson & Lewis Counties – 147.255+ pl 151.4
Monroe County – 145.110 PL 110.9
Oneida/Madison County – 145.17
Onondaga County – 147.300
Oswego County – 147.15 PL 103.5
Seneca County – 147.00 PL 71.9
Tompkins County – 146.970 PL 103.5


NIMS is the National Incident Management System.

NIMS is intended to be used by the whole community. The intended audience for this section is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal governments. NIMS provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to manage all threats and hazards. NIMS applies to all incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity. It also describes common functions and terminology for staff in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), while remaining flexible to allow for differing missions, authorities, and resources of EOCs across the nation.

NIMS Training is available online at
Amateur Radio Public Service operators should complete the following online training:
IS-100.b Introduction to the Incident Management System
IS-200.b ICS for Single Resources & Initial Action Plans
IS-700.a National Incident Management System – An introduction
IS-800.b National Response Framework – An Introduction