The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, or RACES, is a service within the amateur radio community that uses amateur stations during emergencies. RACES is administered by the Sumter County Emergency Management Department and acts as a communications group for the Sumter County government during emergencies such as hurricanes, severe weather, floods or wildfires.
Registered members of RACES are authorized to respond when the Emergency Management Director requests amateur radio assistance. An amateur station must be certified and registered with the Sumter County Emergency Management Department in order to transmit emergency traffic on behalf of the county government. Volunteers may work in the Emergency Operations Center, evacuation shelters, or other areas where communications support is needed.
To become a RACES volunteer, contact the Emergency Management Department at (352) 569-1660 or and fill out an online volunteer application by clicking here.
The Sumter County Emergency Communications (EmComm) Radio Net is held each Monday evening at 8:30 PM ET. On the W4OE Repeater of 146.925 – PL: 123.0. All amateurs are welcome to check in.
SKYWARN is a program of the United States' National Weather Service (NWS). Its mission is to collect reports of localized severe weather. These reports are used to aid forecasters in issuing and verifying severe weather watches and warnings and to improve the forecasting and warning processes and the tools used to collect meteorological data. It consists of a network of severe storm spotters who observe weather conditions and make reports of severe weather to their local NWS offices. Personnel from the local NWS offices regularly train these spotters.
SKYWARN has long been associated with amateur radio. Sumter County RACES and the Emergency Management Department support the SKYWARN Program by training amateur radio volunteers to be spotters and providing the communication infrastructure necessary for coordinated severe weather reporting.
The local SkyWarn – Radio Net is held each Sunday evening at 8:30 PM ET on the KJ4AN Repeater of 147.030 – PL: 123.0. All amateurs are welcome to check in.
Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS)
RACES volunteers also interact with other emergency communications services to support various types of communication missions. ACS, a RACES unit for the County, encourages participation and cooperation with (and between) other Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) units statewide, including (but not limited to) the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), The Military Auxiliary Radio System, The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), and the American Red Cross.