There is a natural affinity between the CERT concept and amateur radio.  Communications is central to the operations of any CERT organization, and the most robust and reliable communications available to the average citizen is amateur radio.

Getting your license is nowhere nearly as arduous a task as it was in years past.  When my 6 year old daughter got her license, she had to not only pass the written test, but she had to learn the morse code and pass that test as well.

In 2003, the FCC eliminated the morse code requirement, and now the key to your amateur ticket is simply passing the entry level test for the Technician class license.  By the way, my daughter upgraded her then novice license to technician at the age of 7, so there are no excuses accepted from adults on how difficult it must be!

You can purchase license manuals from the ARRL  (www.arrl.org) or the Gordon West courses from W5YI (www.w5yi.com).  They are in the $20 – $30 range.

Local groups regularly hold classes as well.  Check the ARRL website for a schedule of classes that have been registered with them.

Another great resource is www.hamtestonline.com.  It’s a full website devoted to helping you learn what you must learn to get your license, and then letting you take practice tests, and I’ve heard RAVES about it.  My youngest daughter (now an adult) is using this site to get hers.

Testing sessions are held in most communities on a regular basis.  Once again, check the ARRL website for a list and schedule.

Come join us for Swaptoberfest.  We’ve purposely put together a lineup of seminars aimed directly at those who have a general (meaning non-ham specific) interest in disaster preparedness and emergency response.  We’ll have commercial vendors with items of interest to you even if you don’t have a ham license.  But we hope if you attend, the bug will bite you and you’ll become even more valuable to your community by adding “communications” to your list of skills.


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