Amateur radio emergency communications training to begin Sept. 1
Amateur radio emergency communications training supported by a $181,900 federal homeland security grant will begin within a few weeks.
The American Radio Relay League, Newington, Conn., was among several dozen nonprofit organizations designated to receive some $10.3 million in federal money to boost homeland defense volunteer programs. During its first year, the grant—from the Corporation for National and Community Service special volunteer program—will reimburse the cost of Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training for as many as 1,700 volunteers.
ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, said the national program will begin Sept. 1 with the recruitment of at least 200 additional mentors and trainers. These volunteers then will help to manage and train the student load during the first year of the grant. Hobart and Dan Miller, K3UFG—formerly ARRL certification and continuing education program coordinator and now the emergency communications course manager—have been working with CNCS to expedite the grant details.
This week, ARRL section managers were asked to recommend up to five students to sign up to take the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line course. These individuals also will receive additional training to become instructors and mentors. Hobart pointed out that additional mentors and instructors will be needed to help handle the expected volume of students training under the grant program. Anyone who has already completed the Level I course is qualified to become a mentor with some additional training. Mentor candidates can contact Dan Miller, [email protected], for information on how to take part. Once the ARRL members hand-picked by section managers to train as mentors have completed the program, registration for routine Level I training will open Oct. 1, initially for ARRL field appointees. Miller anticipates that the program will continue to handle approximately 200 students per month. ”As much as we’d like to, we can’t train everyone at once,” he said. ”Please be patient.”
To comply with grant requirements, the ARRL also will survey served agencies and certain segments of the amateur population. Hobart said the League wants to ensure that the course offered accurately represents ”what really happens in the field” during an emergency or disaster.
Students taking advantage of Level I emergency communications training under the grant program will be asked to pay for the course via credit card during the registration process. Level I course candidates from Connecticut will continue to be trained under a $33,000 grant from United Technologies Corporation to expand Amateur Radio emergency communications training opportunities. Upon successfully completing the training and certification, students will be reimbursed the $45 fee.
(American Radio Relay League Bulletin)