Rochester Amateur Radio Association, Inc.
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Since 1931
Rochester Hamfest



Public Service

Hams assist public organizations by providing emergency and backup communications.

—  Throughout our history, amateurs have established a reputation for public service communications

—  When all else fails!!

—  When called upon we fulfill one of the most important purposes of amateur radio

—  Local, State and Federal Governments recognize our abilities to assist when needed

Each year we serve many grateful agencies with well over a dozen events. You can sign-up for events below and at any RaRa or ARES meeting. Additional events are listed on the Club Calendar.

Check the RaRa Public Service Page for more information on participating or contact our Public Service Coordinator at


Stay in good operating condition: Participate in a public service event each year!

2018 Calendar

Event name Location Days Dates Sign Up
Bike MS: ROC the Ride Genesee Valley Park Saturday August 25 Sign Up


A minimum of ten (10) ham operators are needed for a cycling event consisting of four separate tour distances. We will provide safety communications for participants by summoning EMT’s as necessary via Net Control. Specific tasks include; bike repair van communications, rider escort safety communications, staff communications, and resupply communications. Since some portions of the course are often below grade, an antenna with some gain is highly recommended.


7:00 AM – 2:00 PM 


Portables on 2-meters using local repeater

Additional gain antenna for low elevation canal path

Fairport Lift Bridge Regatta NYS Barge Canal—Fairport Sunday September 30 Sign Up


Ten (10) Ham operators are needed this day to provide the primary Safety Net for this water event. Hams are needed aboard at least three safety boats stationed along the almost two-mile long race course. Hams will be in position to provide situational awareness to race officials and, since Safety boats also serve as rescue boats and judge’s boats during the entire event, communications in the event of an emergency. (The 2016 regatta “lost” a race boat, which a Ham operator found after the safety boats had searched the course.) Because the Canal cannot be shut down during the race, the safety boats are also there to communicate to recreational boaters the need for “no wake” and to provide assistance to racing boats in distress.

Hams will be used at land based points as well, such as shadowing race officials to provide communications, net control, and parking control (in the morning). A two-meter hand held with spare battery and simple antenna will be more than sufficient to reach net control. As an illustration only, typical distribution of HAM operators is: dockmaster; safety boats; finish line; net control; parking (morning); chief referee; start line; registration desk (morning).

A two meter hand held with spare battery and a gain antenna are needed for water-based locations and should be sufficient to communicate with net control located near the finish line. A two-meter hand held with spare battery and a rubber duck antenna will be sufficient for the land-based positions, except for the start line, where a gain antenna is necessary for simplex communications back to net control. The start line location and the safety launches have no electric power, and the finish line location has power. Ideally, we would have sufficient volunteer HAMs to staff at least three of the six safety boats all along the race course, in addition to the land-based locations.

The Annual Lift Bridge Regatta in Fairport, New York, is sponsored by the Fairport Crew Club and consists of skilled youth, men’s and women’s teams rowing on the Erie Canal from the 490 overpass to Perinton Park just past the Route 31F bridge over the canal. Additional updates will be available at: (search for Lift Bridge Regatta).

Food and drink will be provided for those who are “captive” volunteers, such as the HAM radio operators. 


6:00 AM – 3:00 PM

If sufficient operators are available, we can work in shifts. The race takes a break for lunch and all the safety boats and land point staff will return to the Fairport Crew Club Boathouse for lunch. 


Portables on 2-meter simplex, or using a repeater (146.715 mHz on Baker Hill). Because of the terrain, a high gain antenna is preferred to the rubber duckie antennas for all who are not working at the boathouse grounds. A frequency plan will be sent to all HAMs volunteering so that radios can be preprogrammed with the frequencies being used for the regatta. A HAM who also has a VHF marine radio is welcome to bring it, since we also need to communicate with the tour boat Colonial Bell on marine frequencies, as well as any New York State barge traffic and other large boats that regularly use marine VHF. We anticipate using the ARES/RACES trailer owned by Tim Ekstrom, which has a mobile 2 meter radio, as net control at the boathouse. As all communications are logged (using a computer), a secondary net control to do logging, and fill in for net control when needed, is another land based position (and would require little to no walking).

Jamboree on the Air Camp Babcock—Hovey Friday & Saturday October 19, 20  


Ten (10) ham operators are needed for this ‘on the air’ demonstration of the many facets of amateur radio to Scouts. The demonstration material, handouts and experience are limited only by the ingenuity and equipment that can be transported and set up effectively at Babcock-Hovey.  This is a great way to stimulate youth about the rewards and challenges of amateur radio as an avocation. 


Hours of operation should be as long as practical to ensure contact with as many scout troops as possible. However, your availability will be the limiting factor.


HF, VHF, and UHF radios will be used for this event

Pumpkin Patrol Bridges of the NYS Thruway Tuesday & Wednesday October 30 & 31 Sign Up


Eighteen (18) ham operators are needed for this after dark safety patrol. We will provide the eyes and ears for the New York State Police in an effort to keep pranksters from throwing objects off bridges into the path of motorists below. We will cover as many bridges in Monroe County as possible and coordinate with neighboring counties as needed.

Hams will provide safety communications by informing Net Control of any suspicious activity. This type of activity can be, but is not limited to, stopping on overpass, same vehicle passing bridge location repeatedly, pedestrians on bridge, objects thrown from vehicle or by pedestrians. Net Control will communicate with NYSP. Additionally, we will have rovers that will bring refreshments to those watching bridges.


7:00 PM — Midnight


2-meter mobiles using local repeaters

Holiday Science & Technology Days Rochester Museum &
    Science Center
Wednesday to Saturday December 26-29  


Talk with the museum patrons (children and parents) to explain our amateur radio exhibit and our hobby. Emphasize the wide ranging educational value of amateur radio including technology, radio phenomena, science, geography, language arts, hands-on building, public service, self improvement and vocational.

RaRa partners with other ARCs to staff the event. Rochester DX Association typically provides and staffs a HF special event station. RARA provides and staffs 3-4 tables containing hands-on and highly interactive demonstrations of electronics, magnetism and radio communication. The equipment is supplied by the volunteers and usually stays at the exhibit during the term for other volunteers to use.


We typically staff the exhibit for 3-4 days of the five day event. We try to schedule a staff of 2-4 volunteers for the day. RDXA will schedule and staff the special event station. The event typically runs from about 10:00 AM thru 3:00 PM daily.


Radios are not required. However, a HT with related experience using a local repeater and IRLP is useful.


Admission is free to the volunteers. Arrange your break time with other volunteers to enable visiting other exhibits in the museum. Socialize with other ham radio volunteers and witness operation of the HF special event station. Thank you for enlightening the RMSC patrons about amateur radio.


Last revised: 07/26/18 01:36 PM


The Rochester Amateur Radio Association, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Educational Corporation
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