ARRL training courses

The ARRL offers a few free training courses to HAM operations to help assist them to prepare for emergency situations. Just like the FEMA courses, these are self-paced online courses that you can work on. These are “nice to have” pieces of training that will greatly improve your abilities to operate.

However, these do not take the place of the required FEMA pieces of training needed to participate with your local ARES/RACES. And actually, the FEMA courses are prerequisites for the ARRL courses.

To take the ARRL training courses, you must first register with the ARRL:
(NOTE: Registration does NOT require becoming an ARRL member for these courses)



FEMA training courses

As a licensed radio operator, learning how to be an effective and properly trained volunteer will allow you to be an essential communications asset during a response to any emergency. During exercises and emergencies, your local ARES/RACES must comply with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) because when activated, its operations would function under the Incident Command System (ICS). This means you will need to complete some official training if you want to volunteer with your local ARES/RACES organization.

To help you become “qualified”, FEMA offers a few self-paced training courses relating to Emergency Management that are beneficial to HAM radio operators. All of these FEMA training courses are offered for free, online, thru the FEMA website. They are self-paced courses that you are able to proceed at your own pace through. Each online course is presented as slides that you will click through, and additional course materials are also available for download on the webpage for each course.

Once you complete the course you are then able to take an online exam, for which you will receive a certificate of completion if you pass. In my experience, after taking an exam, I was emailed my pass/fail status and certificate (if passed) within five minutes of completing the exam.

To initially begin any of the FEMA courses you will need to have first created a FEMA Student ID to log in with:

Basic, required courses:

Advanced, optional courses:

Professional Development Series –
As an added perk to completing the courses I list above, you will receive a certificate from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute for finishing their Professional Development Series.

Optional but related courses:

US Amateur Radio Bands

The ARRL has created a very nice infographic that shows a breakdown of the various bands and the permissions that each license class has on that band.

US Amateur Radio Bands - ARRL infographic

Source Link: ARRL Band Chart

The ARRL also has another really nice graphic that just displays all of the Technician privileges.


Source Link: ARRL Tech Bands

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Ham Radio Quick Links

ARRL Links

Decibels (dB) Tuturial: Link
Frequency Band Charts: Band Chart: Link; Technician only Band Chart: Link


CHIRP is a piece of software used to program your baofeng (and similar) radios. It may not be the most user-intuitive, but once you figure out how to use it (hint: plenty of videos on YouTube) it makes programming all of your desired frequencies into your radio super easy.


A shout out to my local area’s club, the Emergency Amateur Radio Club – Hawaii (EARCHI).


This is a great way to connect with other Hams around the world. EchoLink is only available to licensed hams, and you have to verify your license before you are able to use it. It essentially a way to tie the analog radio world together with the digital computer world. You can use your smart phone or computer to connect directly to other hams or connect to digital repeaters (for lack of a better name) and participate in nets anywhere in the world.

Ham Study

This is, IMHO, the best site for studying for your Ham radio exams. They provide a study mode and a random quiz mode that make it feel just like sitting the real exam. They include the entire question pool for all three classes of licenses. The website is well designed and modern. They have companion apps on iOS and Android that make it easy and convenient to study anywhere you go, no need to be connected to the internet. Best of all – It’s FREE!
I’m not sponsored for this endorsement, but the company behind this site ( does make and sell some great antennas for your handheld radio that are made in America and come with a lifetime guarantee.

Ham Academy

This is another site to help you with studying and taking practice exams. This site is entirely free and is run by EARC.

Radio Reference

Look up frequencies in use by local government agencies and businesses in your area.


RepeaterBook is Amateur Radio’s most comprehensive, worldwide, FREE repeater directory. It also offers free iOS and Andriod apps for your smart phone too.

Stay tuned! More stuff to come….

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