The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency holds an Amateur Radio License to facilitate the participation of local ham operators in providing communications support to the EMA. The EMA hosts the HMCRACES organization and the ARRL/ARES organization – which operate as one unified communications resource.

This ham radio auxiliary force provides communications during severe weather conditions, community events such as parades, bicycle races, walk-a-thons and any other event that the EMA finds need for this level of communications support. In the course of any catastrophic event, normal communications are quickly overwhelmed, or diminished – and this group is prepared to step in ‘When all else fails’. The public interest is served by the many volunteer radio operators who study, practice and organize these methods of effective communications.

A valuable feature of this mutually beneficial relationship is the presence of a full-time operable ham radio station in the Emergency Operations Center in Huntsville. W4HMC is a permanent station, in a sound-isolated room directly connected to the main room in the EOC, and is equipped with both voice and data radio gear that is capable of conducting communications locally, regionally, and world-wide as may be necessary. We hope to use these pages to provide some insight into how we do what we do.

Ham radio can be a very seriously professional hobby, as many of the participants have substantial training in not only radio and electronics theory, but practical experience in emergency management methods and functions. The communicators in this group greatly appreciate the support provided by the Huntsville-Madison County EMA, and always focus their efforts to further the goals and mission of the EMA.

To learn more about the HMCRACES and the Madison County ARES programs please visit their web site, http://hmcraces.org . You can listen for their weekly training nets on the 146.940 MHz repeater every Thursday evening at 7:30 pm.


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