This page was last updated on: March 30, 2014
Twin County EARS/RACES
Carroll & Grayson Counties including the City of Galax, Virginia
Briarpatch Amateur Radio Club
Information for Agency and Emergency Management
Registration/Training Form for EARS/RACES Twin County On-Line Form (Now Active)
Twin County RACES Standard Operating Procedure
SKYWARN Page with forms for the Blacksburg National Weather Service Office
Twin County RACES Net forms and other informational files
Local Weather Station at the home of W4GHS Glen Sage
Twin County RACES Members Only page (Password Required)
SKYWARN News for the local repeater 145.130
American Red Cross Local Chapter
Information on FEMA's RACES Program
The American Radio Relay League.
Older Front Page Articles
Emergency (2008) Communicaiton Class
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
The Twin County RACES unit is establishing their own local registration. This membership list will be shared with local government agencies that the local unit has agreed to support in times of communications emergencies. With local registration we are also recognized by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management as RACES and receive the same state protection as any RACES group. Click HERE for additional details. Why register with you local RACES unit? Because you are needed. In our area (the Twin Counties) we have mountains over a mile high and other areas are less than 1200 feet above sea level. In the higher elevations we have "whiteout conditions" during severe snow storms. We are plagued with ice storms that create power and telephone outages that have lasted for many days. Click HERE for additional information. Our local unit is involved in supporting Blacksburg VA Skywarn through out local Skywarn repeater, 145.13-600 Khz with a tone of 103.5. Junior Diamond, N4VL is our Skywarn Coordinator on the N4VL repeater.
Radio Interoperability with " Bridge" equipment
License and Emergency Communications Exams
EmComm Trailer Complete
We have completed the emergency communications trailer. There will be slight improvements to the project but it is currently operational on the bands most often used in disaster response. We have a rigs to cover HF, VHF and UHF on voice. We have a second HF rig that is dedicated to Winlink traffic and is connected to a SCS TNC that is licensed for Pactor III operation. We have a single band 2 meter rig for FM voice and a second 2 meter rig connected to a Kantronics TNC for VHF Winlink. There is a quad-band rig to cover 440, 146, 6 meters and ten meters. This rig is assigned to crossband repeat functions.
Covering public service frequencies we have VHF high band and VHF low band type 90 accepted rigs and type accepted handie talkies onboard that are programmable for narrow and wide band frequencies. All of the equipment is operated from a 10 feet long console. We have an intenerate 440 repeater that may be placed on the air on 440.750 or 440.800 in a matter of minutes. Our Winlink system is setup to operate in Winlink Relay. This allows the system to act as a server to continue to handle traffic without an Internet connection. If long haul traffic is required, we can shift to HF Winlink to send these messages.
Emergency power is provided by a 4400 watt generator as well as a bank of deep cycle marine batteries.
This trailer is available for public service events and emergency communications within our region.
RACES Training Certification
We are in the process of setting up training standards for RACES certification and IDs. There are currently no national or state level standards in Virginia for emergency communication operation in the Amateur Radio ranks. We plan to set up common sense standards that also comply with local volunteer pubic service requirements. The common sense standards are those that apply directly to practical operation by ham radio operators in an emergency. The other standards are the ICS and NIMS course requirements required by local emergency management. We have 3 levels of registered participants. The first is a 1 year "training" program designed for new hams. The second is a "basic" level that requires understanding of how to conduct nets and participate in nets and a basic emergency communications training. The "advanced" certification has more advanced requirements and certification. IDs will be laminated and use photo ID. All levels will require a background check. Previous background checks from any served agency will suffice. A larger ID that is to be worn on a lanyard or clip-on will also be issued. This second ID will have the same information as the wallet size but will allow viewing from a distance. There is no cost for required courses unless you choose an option that is a fee type course. There is no cost for the IDs. Training completion forms will appear on this site soon! Registration and certification are available regardless of organizations that you may belong. If you are RACES through state or local registration with emergency management, you may apply.
The ICS & NIMS requirements for first responders in Carroll County is ICS 100, 200, 700 and those with leadership positions will also include ICS-800 as per Cathy Surrett the new training officer for Carroll County Emergency Management. We will adhere to these requirements for the RACES training for those wishing to qualify for the "Advance Certification" level. We will be posting a form on this site to list your training for certification for "Training", " Basic" and "Advance" level. To register your training and skills for the certification, Click here!
If you plan to be available for activation to neighboring states, be aware that many of these have the same minimum requirements as what we have for "Advanced Certification." To be eligible for providing mutual aid to those areas, you must upgrade to the Advanced level.
Certifications and ID Requirements
Emergency Communications Trailer
There is a new RACES repeater on the air on Beamers Knob in Carroll County. This repeater is on the frequency of 145.27 down 600 KHz with a tone of 103.5. The repeater has excellent coverage over the county and a number of neighboring counties in both VA and NC. This is an open repeater but will switch to RACES operation for disasters, disaster drills and public service events.
The repeater covers the downtown Hillsville area with handheld radios using a rubber duck and 5 watts. Operators can hit the repeater with a full quiting signal throughout the downtown area. This will allow for excellent HT coverage for public service events in the downtown area.
Operation "Wildfire" SET
Oct. 1, 2011
Operation "Noah" SET for
Oct. 6, 2012
Operation "Juan II" SET for October 19th, 2013
Ham Class Beginning on Jan. 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm