For information on how amateur radio tackles emergency communications, check out the ARRL's Emergency Radio resource page. (external link, opens in new window)
When activated by the Cullman County EMA, RACES works closely with other emergency personal to get the latest information both in and out. On 2 meters, listen to the N4TUN repeater on 145.31MHz. When in "weather alert" mode, the repeater's normal courtesy tone is replaced with a Morse code "w." The N4UAI, 444.900MHz repeater may also be used if deemed necessary.
The Emergency Training Net takes place on the 145.310 MHz repeater on Sunday evenings at 8:30pm. Check-ins are done in a roll call format. At the end, opportunities for late check-ins, and additional check-ins are available. Also an opportunity is provided for stations to speak.
145.310 MHz Repeater
Local Operation – Covering Cullman county. The RACES Officer will act as the liaison to the EMA and will be the net control operator. If RACES Officer is not available, then a designated alternate will assume responsibility of the RACES Officer.
145.310 MHz Simplex
444.900 MHz Repeater & 146.570 MHz Simplex
These frequencies can be utilized as designated by the RACES Officer as needed when traffic becomes to heavy on the primary net frequency. Otherwise they will be used for unofficial casual communications between operators.
147.240 MHz , 146.920 MHz North Alabama Skywarn Net
The intention of North Alabama Skywarn Net is to assist with the coordination of disasters by providing a network that allows intercommunication between local weather nets across North Alabama and the National Weather Service. Monitoring of this net is often very advantageous to early warning and gathering of information from surrounding areas. An available RACES member may be appointed as a liaison to the North Alabama Skywarn net as needed, and that liaison shall report to the RACES officer.
Severe Weather Operations
Upon net activation, each station should check in with his or her name, callsign, and location. Be sure to advise net control if your location changes, or if you are mobile and available for dispatching as needed. The Control Operator may also dispatch himself to an alternate location, or may designate an alternate control operator for any occasion or time period during the disaster operation as needed.
Stations are asked to pass weather traffic to the Net Control Operator. Stations are asked NOT to pass traffic directly to the other stations without clearance from the net control station. Upon activation of the net, the 145.310MHz repeater is normally placed in an alert or warning mode, which easily signifies to any station an emergency net is active. Please do not transmit to pass general weather information such as it is raining, the clouds are getting thicker, it is lightning off to the west, etc. Traffic of this nature is of no real use to the net and only ties up the frequencies from critical information. Always think before you transmit.
RACES Members are encouraged to attend a National Weather Service sponsored Skywarn Spotter’s class. Some basic items which should be immediately reported include:
Funnel cloud or tornado
Wall cloud with or without rotation
Excess wind speeds
Hail- Always give hail size in reference to coins such as dime, quarter or 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch hail...etc.
Any damage or injuries.
Do NOT send in reports from a second source such as news media. When giving a report in to the Net Control Operator please try to give the most accurate location as possible. This may be by using a physical address, or by a well known location in the community. For example: I am seeing a wall cloud to the northeast of Smith Farms on 278. Please remember that while this report is considered accurate on our local net, this same report would be less useful on a state net.
Remember the primary purpose of the net is to RECEIVE severe weather reports or damage reports from spotters in the field. The primary purpose is not to provide general information other than official bulletins provided by the EMA for the safety of spotters. Whenever possible continue to monitor official media & NWS outlets for your safety.