Monroe County Amateur Radio Emergency Services

The Pocono area RACES~ARES net meets weekly on the
Monroe County OES  repeater
[-] pl  100.0 {N3SEI}
on  Sunday nights @ 2030 hrs.

147.045[+] pl 131.8 {WA3MDP}
is the backup RACES~ARES repeater

145.230[-] pl 77.0 {N3VAE}
is the SKYWARN repeater

147.42 is the simplex frequency

What  is  RACES / ARES ?

The nationally organized emergency management applications of amateur radio include Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, (RACES) [pronounced RAY-seize] and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, (ARES) [pronounced AIR-ease]. RACES is an activity of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It was originally established by Civil Defense (CD) to enable an official amateur radio network during national security crises. As planned then, only Hams trained and enrolled in RACES would be permitted to operate during such disasters.  With the end of the Cold War, the role of RACES has evolved, emphasizing all-hazard measures.  Any local or state emergency management agency can establish a RACES organization of local Hams.

ARES is set up as part of the ARRL and operates in support of state and local emergency management.  ARES teams participate in severe weather observations (SKYWARN), search and rescue operations, support of major public events and just about any situation where reliable communications links are needed to replace or augment normal emergency communications systems.

In some areas, RACES and ARES are combined.

The Radio Amateur Emergency Service (RACES) was created by Part 97.407 of the FCC regulations which states:

"97.407 Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. - (a) No station may transmit in RACES unless it is an FCC-licensed primary, club, or military recreation station and it is certified by a civil defense organization as registered with that organization, or it is an FCC-licensed RACES station. No person may be the control operator of a RACES station, or may be the control operator of an amateur station transmitting in RACES unless that person holds a FCC-issued amateur operator license and is certified by a civil defense organization as enrolled in that organization."

State wide RACES training nets are held each month and are limited by FCC regulation to one hour in duration.

In Pennsylvania, the RACES organization is under the direction of  the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.(PEMA)

Amateur Radio is an immensely important and valuable emergency management resource. There are Amateur Radio operators, popularly known as Ham Radio operators or simply Hams, in every county of the United States.  There are countless examples of Hams providing essential communications during disasters, when all other lines of communications have failed.

Becoming an Amateur Radio operator is not as simple as buying a two-way radio and turning it on.  All Hams are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. Licenses are issued to individuals who, through rigorous testing, have demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in radio theory and procedure.

The use of special frequencies, including 2-meter repeaters which are most widely used by RACES~ARES groups, is regulated and standardized using protocols established by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  In every corner of the nation, Hams participate in local clubs which own and operate these repeaters that enhance and extend radio communications.

For local and state emergency management coordinators, the presence of trained Amateur Radio operators using their high-quality radio gear is nothing short of a Godsend.  Surprisingly, though, Hams have not been implemented into planning and preparedness in many communities.  This is oversight is often due to a lack of understanding or confusion with Citizen Band radio operators and their national organization, REACT.

The American Red Cross(ARC) has relied heavily upon Amateur Radio for years. They have found Hams to be extremely helpful in support of its human welfare mission.

Experienced emergency management professionals know that everyday communications links (e.g. land & cellular telephones, public service radios) may not exist during major emergencies.  Almost certainly,  Hams will be up and ready to serve. As one individual put it, "HAM" stands for "Helping All Mankind".

For  more  information  on  ARES or RACES  contact  Jerry Truax on  

146.865,  or  email [email protected] [email protected]

Monroe County ARES  Emergency  Coordinators

EC - Jerry Truax, N3EI
AEC - Mike Bouchard, N3BUB
AEC - Pete Gitler

Monroe County RACES Radio Officer
Jerry Truax, N3SEI

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What is SKYWARN ?

SKYWARN is a National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer severe weather spotters.  Formed in the early 1970’s it has been invaluable in providing information to the NWS in time to get the appropriate warnings issued.  SKYWARN is a program that saves lives and property through observations and reports from trained volunteers.

With all the modern technology at their disposal the NWS can only determine the potential for severe weather.  They must still rely on the public, law enforcement personnel, and trained weather spotters for information as to what is really happening at ground level. Accurate and reliable info from the general public is often difficult to get.

That’s why the NWS has found that having trained weather spotters increases the quality of the information they receive.  Also with the Federal Government cutting back on their budget and manpower the NWS must rely more on us to be their eyes in the field. SKYWARN spotters are 'activated' by sophisticated satellite alpha paging system.

Severe weather can cause major civil disasters as proven time and time again with heavy snowfall, massive flooding, and of course Hurricane and Tornado damage we see on the news locally and through out the country.  The NWS may utilize the SKYWARN Amateur Radio operators to maintain close coordination with the Red Cross and Emergency Management through ARES/RACES.  SKYWARN is formally acknowledged and encouraged in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ARRL and the NWS. This agreement states that the ARRL will encourage its local volunteers operating as ARES to provide spotters as requested by the NWS during times of severe weather.

In this area of the country we receive our weather forecast and warnings from the Mount Holly, NJ office of the NWS.  Mount Holly is responsible for 34 Counties in NJ, DE, MD, and PA.  They have a close working relationship with the Weather Channel and a lot of what you see on TV is provided by the NWS. Mount Holly like many other NWSFO's utilize a program called Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS). This allows ham radio operators to send real time weather data directly to the NWS 'station' .

Becoming a NWS Weather Spotter is a great opportunity for Hams that want to become involved with Public Service. Although you need not be a ham to become a SKYWARN Spotter. It is an ideal way for people who usually do not have time, or the means of getting active in other Public Service programs to get involved from the comfort of your home, work, or out driving somewhere. This is a very safe, easy and effective way of helping our communities.

The Pocono area 'activated' SKYWARN net meets on
145.23 (-)  pl 77.0

For  more  information  on  SKYWARN  contact  Bill Byron, N3VAE  

on  145.230  or  @  Monroe County, PA SKYWARN

 Monroe County SKYWARN Coordinators

SC ~ Bill Byron, N3VAE


Spotters are encouraged to check-in and listen for information involving their local SKYWARN activities.

Links to other sites of interest


click on an image above to view their respective website


National RACES WebSite^

 | National Hurricane Center  

| Hurricane Frequencies


Monroe County 911

Click on a image for more information


Copyright © 2007 MCARES