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EmComm Basics

EmComm Apprentice Track (formerly Beginner's Track)


The EmComm Apprentice Track (formerly Beginner’s Track) is designed to introduce the new amateur operator to amateur radio operations in general, with additional focus on using amateur radio to support Emergency Communications (EmComm). Amateur radio operators are now starting to focus their attention on preparing for Cascadia 2022, a follow-on exercise to Cascadia Rising (2016). The EmComm Apprentice Track consists of the following classes which will help the new amateur operator understand both basics of amateur radio equipment and operation, and how that knowledge and those skills contribute to supporting community and government entities in times of disaster or emergency.

EmComm Basics #1: EmComm Basics -

  1. 1. EmComm Basics – Carl
    What is EmComm, what are the amateur radio EmComm entities (ARES/RACES/ACES/etc.), how the amateur operator fits into the EmComm structure and what equipment they need in order to do so (basic radio selection). What are NIMS and ICS, and how do they relate to amateur support of EmComm. Washington State Volunteer Emergency Worker Program. The relationship between the amateur volunteer and the served agency (City, County, etc.).
  2. 2. Radio Basics – Bill and Joel
    A deeper discussion of equipment selection, and hands on instruction and practice on programming and using your radio. Radio controls – what they do, how they work. VFO versus Memory, what are CTCSS and DCS tones, how to set them, saving VFO settings to a memory location. Repeaters versus simplex.
  3. 3. Radio Safety and Emergency Communications – Jon
    Introduction to safe radio operations, including radio/rf safety, electrical safety, grounding, site/operating area safety, and who is responsible for safety.
  4. 4. Radio Operations and EmComm Protocols – Alan
    Introductory remarks and hands-on practice on how to use the radio to have an informal conversation, how to pass a message, message forms and use, logging messages. What is the important information you need to relay, and what is “fluff”.
  5. 5. Public Service & Being an EmComm Volunteer – Don
    What is a communications emergency, what is involved in being an EmComm radio operator, why volunteer, radio nets, which served agency, tactical call signs, public service events, field day.
  6. 6. Where do I go from here – Carl
    More information on radios, antennas, DC power options, communications problems/challenges such as de-sense and inter-mod, and personal and radio go-kits.
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