"When the unit is the RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) does it fall under the one-hour FCC rule?"
"Yes, if operating on the Amateur frequencies as a RACES unit or net. If it is operating in any other capacity the one-hour rule does NOT apply. The net (if on Amateur frequencies) can be activated as a special event net or other appropriate title, rather than as a RACES net. This is common practice and has been for years. Such events may be hours or days long.
The purpose of the one-hour rule was to prevent use of RACES for on-going activities that should otherwise be provided for by government radio systems such as Police, Fire, Local Government and similar services. It was never intended nor interpreted to prevent unit personnel from public service participation. The one-hour rule ONLY applies to the Amateurs use of the Amateur frequencies in the RACES mode. Non-RACES operations and those off the Amateur frequencies are not involved."
"RACESBUL.259 - DATE: Feb. 1, 1993
SUBJECT: MGT - The FCC "one hour" rule
There are all kinds of exercises for the communications volunteers in government service that a civil defense director or emergency services coordinator can authorize the Radio Officer to utilize to keep the interest of and train these volunteers. These are a few examples, some may be hours or even days long: Any emergency preparedness exercise. Bicycle races. Major sporting events. Fairs. Parades. Special community events.
Question: Doesn't the FCC one-hour rule for the RACES preclude any drill or exercise that exceeds one hour?
Reply: Several jurisdictions have a long history of participating in hours-long events and do not run afoul of the one-hour rule. How? Avoid designating it formally as a RACES exercise. The net is not activated as a RACES net but as the special event net or other appropriate title.
The one-hour rule is to prevent the use of RACES for on- going activities that should otherwise be provided for by government radio systems such as Police, Fire, Local Government and similar Radio Services. It was never intended nor interpreted to prevent RACES personnel from public service participation.
What is important is that the local government disaster preparedness official authorize the activity and provide Workers Compensation coverage (in California) for the entire participation period. This allows the jurisdiction to stimulate the interest of its responders and provide valuable training opportunities."