What is RACES?
RACES is an organization of Federally licensed amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide radio communications for state and local governments during times of emergency. Any United States Citizen who possesses a valid FCC Amateur Radio Operators License, Technician class or higher, is eligible to become a member of RACES. The services of amateurs who have a Novice class license may be used, but this is not recommended due to privilege restrictions on their license class. All RACES operators are required to operate within the restrictions of their license class, as per part 97.Created in 1952 primarily to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and Local government agencies during emergencies.
What is ARES?
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service role in the Massachusetts Amateur Radio Emergency Communications plan is to develop and provide guidance for teams of amateur radio operators devoted to Emergency Communications. These Emergency Response Teams are directed by the respective Eastern Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator to provide communications support for planned and unplanned emergencies. Teams or members of teams may be asked to provide support to specific agencies requesting help, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army, etc. or to fill in holes in coverage of the SKYWARN and RACES organizations.
What is SKYWARN?
SKYWARN is a component of ARES, and activates based on data from the National Weather Service. However, many times events requiring RACES and ARES activations are Weather situations, and thus require a level of coordination between these groups. SKYWARN has it’s own criteria for activations and reporting information. See the SKYWARN document for more information on this area. In places where RACES and SKYWARN nets frequencies conflict, and both need activation simultaneously it is up the discretion of the appropriate net control stations to work out an agreement to share the frequency or decide which net shall change frequencies.
Order of Operations
RACES operators are enrolled in the emergency management group for a specific government entity. That government entity is the only agency that can issue Identification for the RACES operator for use within the area of the individual’s responsibility. ARES identification is available by being enrolled in an ARES group.
Massachusetts Net Frequencies
Region Coverage Frequency / Location
IA Waltham/Framingham 146.64(-)
IB Waltham/Framingham 146.64(-)
IC Groton/Westford 146.955(-)PL 74.4
1D Burlington/Lincoln 146.715(-) PL 146.2
1E W Newbury/Amesbury 146.625(-)
1F Beverly/Peabody 147.39(+)
IIA Bristol County / Taunton 147.135
IIB Plymouth County / Norwell 145.250
IIC Cape and Islands 146.955 PL 88.5
IID Norfolk County / Sharon 146.865 PL 146.2
III Hampden/Hampshire Counties 146.94 Primary
III Hampden/Hampshire Counties 146.67 Secondary
III Berkshire County 146.91 Primary
III Berkshire County 145.21 Secondary
III Franklin County 146.985 Primary
IV South Worcester Cty /Paxton 146.97 PL 114.8
IV North Worcester Cty /Templeton 145.37 PL 136.5
Wmass Western Mass ARES 3937+/- LSB
Wmass Wmass backup 3942 +/- LSB
Statewide Statewide / Mt. Wachusett Primary 53.31- PL 162.2/71.9 input 100.0 Output
Emass Emass ARES 3915 +/- LSB 75 Meter 40 Meter
Massachusetts – State RACES HF 75 Meter Net
Massachusetts – State RACES HF 40 Meter Net 3943+ KHz LSB / 7245+ KHz LSB
Packet Statewide Packet Coordination Frequency 145.010 MHz
APRS Nationwide APRS Frequency 144.390 MHz
Emergency Communication Links
American Radio Relay League A.R.E.S. www.ARRL.com/ARES
Nat’l Hurricane Center Weather Net www.voipwx.net
Federal Emer. Mgmt. Agency/Massachusetts www.FEMA/MA