This page provides a brief overview of Hudson County RACES operations as cited in the official Hudson County RACES plan and its stated goals.
The Hudson County RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) Unit provides communications for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) of Hudson County, NJ on the amateur radio frequencies.
Generally, these communications are between the County OEM and:
The RACES Unit's basic objective is to accurately and efficiently relay information between the Hudson County OEM staff and these entities. The RACES unit is responsible solely for the transfer of information to the appropriate emergency management officials and does not make any operational decisions with regard to that information.
The Unit also take a leadership role in cooperative efforts with municipal RACES units, if any.
Activation and Deactivation
County and municipal Emergency Management Coordinators (EMC), or their delegates, may activate their respective RACES units to assist in a special communication need. This may include an actual emergency or the threat of an emergency (for example, approaching severe weather). Activation is not made by a FEMA or State official, nor does a "State of Emergency" need to exist for the Emergency Management Office or the RACES unit to activate. RACES units do not, however, self activate.
The same official who activated the RACES unit is responsible for deactivating it at the conclusion of the need.
The Radio Officer (RO) reports to the OEM Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) or a Deputy EMC. The RO is primarily responsible for all RACES operations, including:
The Radio Officer is authorized to change or add procedures not specified in the Hudson County RACES Operating Plan when they are required for efficient and effective operation of the unit.
Deputy Radio Officer
The Deputy Radio Officer (DRO) is appointed by, and reports to, the Radio Officer. The Radio Officer may delegate certain of the RO's responsibilities to the DRO. Either the Radio Officer or the Emergency Management Coordinator will designate the DRO as the Acting Radio Officer when the Radio Officer is not able to act as the RO.
Team Leaders are appointed by the Radio Officer and assigned operating responsibilities and radio operators to handle various RACES station activities. In the absence of the RO (or DRO), the Emergency Management Coordinator (or acting Radio Officer) may designate a Team Leader as an acting RO (or acting DRO).
Other volunteer RACES operators report to the Team Leaders. Membership requirements and responsibilities are detailed on the Volunteer Requirements page. Operators on the County RACES staff are also permitted to be members of a municipal RACES unit.
All RACES operators should have a valid RACES ID to facilitate admission to OEM or RACES locations and, during declared emergencies, to permit travel when it would normally be restricted by emergency officials. Without an ID, a RACES member may be identified by another RACES member in the operation, but only admitted at the discretion of the official responsible for the operation.
Every effort is made to exercise RACES resources as frequently as possible to keep both personnel and equipment in a state of readiness and proficiency. Periodic radio exercises or drills are held by the state. (Such activities are limited by the FCC to one hour per week unless permission has been granted by the chief NJ officer for emergency planning, who can permit drills lasting up to 72 hours no more than twice a year).
RACES members are expected to have a basic understanding of radio operations and a working knowledge of message handling procedures, the Hudson County RACES Plan, RACES policies and procedures, the Incident Command System, and the Communications Annex of Emergency Operating Plan (EOP) of their respective municipality (or county).
The Radio Officer (County and Municipal) is responsible for RACES operator training, although all operators are encouraged to learn as much as possible on their own (see the Volunteer Requirements page). This web site is one source of training materials.
Operating Location and Equipment
The normal RACES operating location is at the County EOC (Emergency Operating Center). Please see the RACES Radio Room page for more information about the Radio Room, county-owned RACES equipment, and frequency capabilities.
The alternate operating location would be Jersey City OEM, 715 Summit Ave., Jersey City, NJ.
The Hudson County RACES also owns and maintains a repeater to extend radio coverage.
Backup and supplementary repeater coverage is provided by local amateur repeater stations owned and operated by either amateur radio clubs or individuals. No formal agreements exist between RACES and the licensees of these repeaters, since most provide unrestricted access. Some repeaters provide for limited interconnection to the telephone system.
Other radio equipment used by RACES, particularly at temporary fixed or mobile stations, is privately owned and maintained by RACES volunteers. Volunteer equipment for temporary fixed and mobile *voice* communication is abundant. Volunteer equipment for temporary fixed and mobile *data* and *television* communications is less common.
Designated Operating Frequencies
Hudson County RACES holds station license KC2IES. In addition, the tactical call of the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management is "Hudson County OEM."
It is common and preferred practice to handle tactical traffic without formal, word-for-word documentation, although the date, time and basic information about significant conversations and activities should be recorded in a log. Traffic handled in this manner is more efficient, although it is important that operators use precise and concise language.
Where appropriate, formal messages, including specific requests for action by an OEM or other agency, should be recorded word-for-word on forms established for such traffic. In addition, the date, time, and subject should be entered in the log.
Message handling procedures generally follow guidelines suggested by the ARRL's NTS (National Traffic System), including the use of prowords and the assignment of precedences on any formal traffic.
To facilitate the accurate transfer of information and any follow-up response, standard forms for RACES operations have been developed.
A statewide RACES radio net is held at 8:00 p.m. on the last Monday of every month. All RACES units and Red Cross stations in New Jersey are invited to participate.
The net is held on various frequencies (see your RACES officer for details). Net control is the State OEM.
After a county roll call, the net control may announce news and upcoming events related to RACES. Other net check-ins may also request time for announcements related to RACES, ARES or other public service events.