CERT(*) Portable Radio Fundamentals Course

This book will contain course materials for the CERT(*)  Portable Radio Fundamentals Course.
Course Summary:
This course focuses on tactical (small team field coordination) use of handheld FRS radios with some information on GMRS. It consists of two segments with both classroom training and a short practical exercise at the end of each segment. The course starts with the absolute basics of how to turn a radio on, works up to basic prowords (how to use "over" and "out", for instance), and ends with participants setting up and operating a simple radio network and passing some information. Both segments can be taught inside a total of 5 to 5.5 hours (2 x 2.5 hour segments). We generally run these on a Saturday with a lunch break between the two segments.
These first two segments focus on participating in a small-team tactical network. An additional segment is planned which will focus on operating a small-team tactical network and basic dispatch procedures.
LCSA Volunteers who take and pass segments I & II shall meet the the minimum Auxiliary radio training requiements. Volunteers with HAM radio experience who meet the ARES qualifications also meet Auxiliary radio training requirements and do not require this course.
(*) The original materials for this class were written FOR USE WITH the Community Emergency Response Team in Fairfax County, VA  and DC Metro Area CERT by Virginia RACES. It was not written BY CERT and has not been approved by the Lawrence County CERT. It represents materials recommended as add-on training for  CERT teams and other volunteer emergency response employing small teams with 2-way radios. These materials were used by permission. Original materials available from the FCC web site.


Portable Radio Fundamentals I

Instructor's Checklist

A checklist of materials required to teach this course:

  • Registration
    • Course sign-in sheet
    • Donation bucket
  • Student Packet
    • Instructor evaluation sheets for each attendee.
    • Student course handouts.
  • Instructor
    • Notes for 3-minute Introduction To the Auxiliary
    • Instructor Guide.
    • Prayer of the Volunteer
  • Information
    • LCS Auxiliary brochures
    • Info on local CER, ARES and meetings.
    • FRS/GMRSMURS FCC FAQs (for people to look at or pass, does not have to be one per attendee).
    • Communications Log Sheets.
    • ARRL Emergency Communication Handbook and License Study Guide, if available.
  • Exercise Team Leader Briefs.
  • 15-30 FRS/GMRS radios depending on attendance expectations.
    • Radios should be fully charged
    • Spare batteries (usually AAs should be available)
  • Water and snacks as appropriate.
  • Spare pens.
  • Completion certificates should be prepared after the course and mailed, delivered at next meeting, etc. as appropriate.


Portable Radio Fundamentals II

Instructor's Checklist

A checklist of materials needed to teach this course. Normally, this class would be taught back-to-back with Part I. Therefore, start with the materials list for Part I and add:

  • Student Packet
    • Handout for Part 2
  • Instructor
    • Instructor Guide for Part 2
  • Team Leader Exercise Brief for Part 2

Portable Radio Fundamentals III

The planned third level of this course shall fill in some advanced topics for team leaders:

  • Operating as a net controller
  • Repeaters
  • CBs and Single-Side Band
  • Tone (CTCSS) and digital (DCS) Squelch
  • Logging
  • Amateur Radio Licensing
  • Public Safety Radio technology (e.g. trunking)

Classroom time for this course level will be short. At least half of the total time (~ 4 hours) will be hands-on.