In March, it was announced that the Auxiliary Communications System (ACS) would replace the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) in April.  The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has announced that they are still developing their ACS program guidelines and the current RACES program will continue until further notice.

Mike Neilsen, W1MPN has provided the following statement:

Hello all stations

I hope you all had a good Easter Holiday. I have an important update on the ACS transition project, and some other announcements.

The management at MEMA has informed us that they are still developing their ACS Program guidelines, and they are desirous of postponing any further transition activities. This means we will continue with the present RACES program until further notice. I will also remain in the State RACES role (albeit temporary) until we begin the transition process again.

MEMA has been hard at work at this process, but it had to attend to several important projects first in order to make this change a reality. One of the most important was finalizing the State Interoperable Operations Guide, and defining how new communication positions will support the state Communication Leader (COML) program. For example, the Radio Operator (RADO) position will be important to us.

We are now anticipating receiving MEMA’s draft plan for our comment sometime early next month. After our review, we will enter into discussions to finalize the plan. Assuming we do not suffer any major disasters this Spring, we *may* be able to begin the transition process again in July. So please go about your normal RACES routine until you hear from me again with the approved plan.

I can tell you that rumors have hurt us in the past few months. I have always been honest with you. If you have questions, please ask one of us on the transition team. You are encouraged to contact any of the following team members:

Mike Neilsen, W1MPN, SRO

Terry Stader, KA8SCP, RR1

Mike Leger, N1YLQ, RR2

Gil Hayes, WK1H, WECT

Rob Macedo, KD1CY, EMA SEC

John Ruggiero, N2YHK, WMA SEC

Carl Aveni, N1FY, EMA ASEC

Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, Cape Cod and Islands DEC

I guarantee we will have the best information!

News:

RACES and ARES will activate in stand-by mode from 0730 to 1800 on Monday to support any issues occurring outside of the Boston Marathon Race Zone. This is for those of you who are not already committed to supporting the Marathon. A unified command center (RACES/ARES) will be stood up in the SEOC and the EMA ARES ICP in the town of Bridgewater. We are also hoping that WECT can be available. These facilities are expected to begin to function within 15 minutes. We would like other RACES stations to be able to mobilize within 30 minutes. Please see the RACES OPLAN to be passed under separate cover.

2. The Hurricane training conference will be held on May 9th in the former Ft. Devens complex.

3. Please plan on a normal “emergency communications” night on Monday May 7th. As before, we will conduct system checks only on tactical frequencies. We will be looking to you to set up relays for simplex comms. Please try to use battery power. Pass administrative and club traffic on resource nets, digitally if possible. Finally don’t miss the opportunity (and fun) of checking in with the HF gang. NVIS anyone?

4. The FCC has invited comments on the use of AR in emergency communications. I will be submitting comments on behalf of the AR community in MA. If you want us to consider any issue in our submission, please forward them to my email at w1mpn [at] arrl [dot] net.

5. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to avail yourself to SKYWARN training classes to be held in various venues around the state. See the schedule at wx1box.org. Remember too, you can always practice your skills at a public service event.

Thank you again for your help and participation. I will be talking to you again soon.

de W1MPN

Regards and 73,

Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
State RACES Officer (Acting);
Member of the MEMT;
Member of the MA State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC), and Policies and Programs subcommittee;
Chairperson, Amateur Radio Working Group
Office Answering Service: 978.293.7858