Additional Resource Materials
TO OUR NEW HAMS: WELCOME TO NEMCo/RACES!
How do I become a HAM operator?
You will need to obtain your Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Amateur Radio License Technician Class or higher. This is a very straight-forward and simple process:
The ARRL has a number of resources, e.g.,
In the local area, check out other training classes:
You have your Technical license or moved up to a General license but are looking for a ham radio group to join that shares your interest in emergency preparedness. Look no further! NEMCo offers plenty of opportunities to practice your skills, learn new ones, and meet other hams. Opportunities are announced at RACES meetings, on the Sunday night net, on this website, and/or by email from Carl Lunak, our Program Manager.
NEMCo has several opportunities for you to explore. Here are seven possibilities to get you started. It is important to remember that there are no errors, just learning opportunities, so feel free to explore and participate in one or more of NEMCo’s ham activities.
1. PRACTICE SPEAKING ON-LINE; NET CONTROL OPERATORS
Call in to our Sunday night net to gain practice in speaking on the radio. You’ll hear the call signs and voices of other NEMCo hams so you’ll soon feel you already have some familiarity with your fellow hams. There are often announcements, training, and other bulletins of interest during the net. Once you are comfortable participating on the NEMCo net, check in as a visitor with other area nets.
Now that you’ve had a few nets under your belt, sign up to be a Sunday night net control operator. You’ve figured out the routine and we provide the script. You’ll then become more comfortable when operators are needed for training exercises, drills, assisting at events, and potentially, during an actual emergency.
The next step could be learning how our EOCs operate by becoming an EOC net control operator. Our EOCs are located at Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Fire Station 51, and the Northshore Utility District. Each EOC has a lead operator and will help new operators gain experience. Once we are able to get back to our EOCs, sign-up to participate!
2. LEARN NEW SKILLS
Mini-workshops. You’ll learn how to complete our most commonly used forms gain familiarity with exchanging message traffic.
Subject-specific workshops. We’ve had workshops on how to program Baofeng radios, how to use WinLink, and message traffic practice. Any ideas you’d like to contribute on developing a new workshop are welcome.
Monthly RACES meetings. You’ll become acquainted with our other hams, gain new skills and insights, and periodically train on new topics.
Join any of the sub-committees.
3. PRACTICE FOR DRILLS
NEMCo participates in a State-wide Fifth Saturday Drill. Recent drills have all been off-site, e.g., from our residences or mobile units. Gain practice by calling into the Resource Net, obtaining your assignment, and then deploying as requested. The first couple of times may be intimidating but these are valuable learning opportunities so you can confidently contribute in the event of an actual emergency.
4. IF YOU ARE A MORE TECHNICALLY-ORIENTED HAM
If you have particular expertise in, e.g., antennas, circuit boards, software, contesting, and would like to explore those areas with other hams, bring up your interest at a RACES meeting and chances are there will be others who share that interest.
5. SIGN-UP FOR SPECIAL COMMUNITY EVENTS
Periodically, the Cities ask for radio operators to help manage traffic, the first aid station (CERT and hams), and to keep an eye on the safety of the participants. Some examples include the 5K fun run events, where hams are spaced throughout the course and can alert the net control operator of any issues or provide status reports on the progress of runners and walkers.
Other community events, such as the health and safety fairs sponsored by Fire Station 51, offer us a booth to put out our flyers and other emergency preparedness info, and an opportunity to interact with the community attendees.
NEMCo offers emergency preparedness workshops,, where you can assist with teaching the hands-on training stations, such as proper use of fire extinguishers, generators, etc.
6. CAN YOU CONVERT ENGINEER- OR HAM-SPEAK TO PLAIN ENGLISH?
If you have good presentation skills and an ability to relate and clearly communicate information to new members, consider becoming a presenter at workshops, CERT training, and periodic ham radio training.
7. CONTRIBUTE ARTICLES TO OUR NEWSLETTER AND WEBSITE
Take a look at our past newsletters and our website and share your own stories and topics that may be enjoyable to our members. General interest and technical experiences (but not TOO technical) are welcome. Contact the Outreach Committee with any of your ideas. They can help with editing so don’t be shy!