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 (www.usraces.org)
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 (www.arrl.org/ares)
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: http://www.arrl.org/emergency-communications-training
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 (www.skywarn.org)?

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: http://skywarn.org/
Binghamton NY NWS SKYWARN page: http://www.weather.gov/bgm/outreachSKYWARNtraining
Buffalo NY NWS SKYWARN page: http://www.weather.gov/buf/Skywarn
Albany NY NWS SKYWARN page: http://www.weather.gov/aly/skywarn

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 https://www.fema.gov/training-0#.
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

The ARRL Field Day is an annual amateur radio exercise, widely sponsored by IARU regions and member organizations, encouraging emergency communications preparedness among amateur radio operators. In the United States, it is typically the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country, with over 30,000 operators participating each year. Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday.

The Bear Bait Radio Club plans and executes a weekend long event participating in Field Day at Mount Sabattis in Long Lake. The Town of Long Lake provides their community facility for our use that weekend, and the public is invited to join us. We typically setup Friday, operate on Saturday into Sunday, and pickup Sunday afternoon. Our typical setup includes multiple radios and antennas covering CW, digital modes, and phone.
Come join us and see amateur radio in use for a simulated emergency. Get to know the members of the Club.

More details to follow as the date gets closer.

This sounds like fun. Perhaps with some warm food and beverages too!

As described on their website, https://www.winterfieldday.com; Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) is a dedicated group of Amateur Radio Operators who believe that emergency communications in a winter environment is just as important as the preparations and practice that is done each summer but with some additional unique operational concerns.
We believe as do those entities of ARRL Organizations like ARES & RACES that maintaining your operational skills should not be limited to fair weather scenarios. The addition of Winter Field Day will enhance those already important skills of those that who generously volunteer their time and equipment to these organizations. This is why WFD is open to all licensed amateur radio operators worldwide.
Disasters are unpredictable by nature and can strike when you least expect them. WFDA’s goal is to help enhance your skills and ready you for all environmental conditions found in the US and Canada during the spring, summer, fall and winter Preparedness is the key to a professional and timely response during any event and this is what local and state authorities are expecting when they reach out to the emergency service groups that offer their services.
If you are serious about emergency communications as we are; we welcome you to join us for our yearly event. We are sure you will find this event a pleasant change and challenge to that of a normal summer time field day.

Winter Field Day Rules:
Purpose: To foster Ham camaraderie, field operation, emergency operating preparedness, and just plain on the air, outdoor fun in the midst of winter for American, Canadian and DX Amateurs. Don’t let those winter doldrums keep you locked up in the house… get out and play some radio!!
When: Winter Field Day runs for 24 hours during the last full weekend in January each year from 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Saturday to 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Sunday. For 2019, the dates are January 26th and 27th. Station set-up may commence no earlier than 1900 UTC (2pm EST) on Friday, January 25th. Station setup may consume no more than 12 hours total. How & when you schedule/spend those 12 hours is up to you.
Bands: All Amateur bands, HF, VHF, & UHF except 12, 17, 30 and 60 meters.
Modes: Any mode… CW, SSB, AM, FM, DStar, C4FM, DMR, Packet, PSK, SSTV, RTTY, Olivia, Satellite, etc…
Suggested Frequencies: (to make it easier for entrants to find each other)
HF CW – 1810-1820, 3.530-3.550, 7.030-7.050, 14.035-14.055, 21.030-21.050, 28.030-28.040
HF SSB – lowest 30 kHz of the US General Class Phone bands (160m- 15m), 28.400-28.425MHz (10m) 6m/VHF/UHF – adjacent to, but not on, nationally recognized simplex calling channels.
Entry categories: (..if operating as a group under one call, all stations in your entry must fit the category you choose. Also see further clarification in “definitions” below)
Indoor: Operation from inside a remote, insulated, heated (or cooled, depending on your local weather), and weather-protected structure where an Amateur station is normally not available. (Park buildings/cabins, community center, EOC, senior center, club shack, etc).
Outdoor: Operation from a location partly or fully exposed to the elements and at least 30 feet away from your normal station location and not using any part of a previously erected antenna system or ham station. A campground, park pavilion, canopy, picnic table, tent, pop- up camper, or a backyard shed/tent/deck, etc may be used. Operation from a non-insulated car/truck/van/boat (mobile or not) is considered “outdoor”.
Home: Operation from inside a home or inside another structure attached to a home that could or would be the usual location of an Amateur station (garage, sunroom, etc), generally using a previously erected antenna system. A “Home” entrant may still be eligible to claim the “alternate power” bonus if not using commercial power. Use of any pre -existing (on site) or permanently installed antenna system or station components renders your station a “Home” station.
Entry Class: your entry “class” is a number designated by the number of stations in your entry that are capable of simultaneous transmission. (Explained further in summary below)
Exchange: Your WFD exchange will be a combination of your “class” and “category” and your ARRL section as described below, using an appropriate letter designator or phonetics (examples: 1I, 2H, 5I, 6O, 3H, 9I, etc) In short: Call sign, Class + Category, ARRL Section.
Example: K4YM this is KB8X, we are Two Hotel, Ohio ..or in CW: K4YM de KB8X TU 2H OH…
KB8X this is K4YM, thank you, we are Twelve India, West Central Florida ..or in CW: KB8X TU 12I WCF

In summary: There are only 3 categories of entry: Indoor, Outdoor, and Home as described above and in the definitions. Your entry class will depend on the number in your exchange. That number will be determined by the number of stations capable of simultaneously transmitting at your WFD site. If you only have one station set up, but plan on using it on several bands and modes (example: 160-2m, CW, SSB, FM, Digi, etc), the number in your exchange would be “1”. If you have 10 stations set up and operators working at all of them, regardless of bands, and modes, the number in your exchange would be “10”. If you have only two operators, but have two HF stations set up and a third and possibly fourth station dedicated to VHF, UHF, or a Satellite contact, your exchange number would be “2”, as one op would have to leave a station idle to make contacts on the other. In other words, don’t count a station where one station has to be left idle to make contacts on another. Once you decide upon your number of stations (class), you must use it for the duration of the contest. There are no points awarded for number of stations and it does not affect your score.

*** More details and scoring information can be found at the https://winterfieldday.com web site.

Do you wonder how far your radio station will reach? One method is via use of the WSPR mode of digital transmissions and then by viewing the response on the WSPRnet website, http://wsprnet.org.

WSJT-X implements communication protocols or “modes” called FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, and WSPR, as well as one called Echo for detecting and measuring your own radio signals reflected from the Moon. These modes were all designed for making reliable, confirmed QSOs under extreme weak-signal conditions. All but ISCAT use nearly identical message structure and source encoding — the efficient compression of standard messages used for minimal QSOs. JT65 and QRA64 were designed for EME (“moonbounce”) on the VHF/UHF bands; JT65 has also proved popular and effective for worldwide QRP communication at HF. JT9 is optimized for the LF, MF, and HF bands. It is about 2 dB more sensitive than JT65 while using less than 10% of the bandwidth. With either JT9 or JT65, world-wide QSOs are possible with power levels of a few watts and compromise antennas. JT4 and QRA64 are optimized for EME on the VHF and higher bands, and especially the microwave bands from 2.3 to 24 GHz. FT8 is operationally similar to JT65 but is much faster, using T/R cycles only 15 s long. MSK144 is used for Meteor Scatter on the VHF bands. Finally, as described more fully on its own page, WSPR mode implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions. WSPR is now fully implemented within WSJT-X, including automatic band-hopping. To download the software, go to http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html

WSJT-X is an easy (and free) program to download, install and setup to control your radio and send digital radio transmissions in many different modes. One of those modes if WSPR. WSJT-X is a digital software program for amateur radio operators. If you already have the equipment to run PSK or RTTY, then you have all the hardware you need. When WSPR mode is selected on the WSJT-X software low power transmissions (typically 25 or 30 Watts) are sent out and other radio stations around the world report receiving your signal to the WSPRnet website. WSJT-X allows you to send your WSPR signal for a short time, or much longer time (like overnight). Software and easy setup instructions can be found at www.wsjtx.net/home/. Please note, it is important to read and follow the provided documentation for successfully WSJT-X operation. One of the common errors is failure to synchronize your computer time to universal time. This can easily be done via

To view that response, it is necessary for you to create a free account to verify that you are a licensed Ham and that the provided call-sign is yours. Once you have your account approved you can log into wsprnet.org with your username and password to access their graphically mapped results of your transmissions. WSPRnet allows you to set the parameters as well for what time period your signal was received. I was surprised the first few times I tried WSPR to find just how far my signal reached. I made it to Australia and Antarctica on a couple different nights. The WSPRnet map can be zoomed in and out to fit your screen size. The WSPRnet map of your signal can also be saved and/or printed using screen capture software.