Pasco ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service - Pasco County


One of the basic purposes of this web site is to coordinate training for ARES volunteers in Pasco County. This is what the ARRL says about training:

"...Amateur Radio's service during 9/11 and the major hurricane disasters of the 21st century has brought us a new level of respect and new opportunities at the national level. Being taken seriously as a resource comes with a price, however. It is a price that must be paid by individual volunteers, not in dollars but in precious personal time." ("The ARRL Operating Manual, 10th Edition", page 4-3)

That time is for training. Specifically, the federally-mandated FEMA courses which are available online. FEMA does not charge any fee to take these courses. However, you must take them. Without that training, you will not be allowed to participate in the response to an incident, even as a volunteer.

The FEMA Courses

The majority of served agencies - including Pasco County Emergency Management, our primary served agency - require these four courses as a minimum foundation, taken in this order:

  1. IS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
  2. IS-700: National Incident Management System
  3. IS-200: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incident
  4. IS-800: National Response Framework

Those four courses, and others, are available at the FEMA web site at

Message Handling

The "bread and butter" of Amateur Radio Emegency Services is the handling of formal written traffic, that is, "Radiograms". The sort of tactical communications that we are accustomed to for local foot races plays a much smaller role in true emergency communications.

Closely related to the formal training websites is the ARRL's documents related to the handling of formal written messages, "Radiograms". The "NTS Manual" may be found at NTS Manual.

The "NTS Methods and Practices Guidelines (NTS MPG)", an appendix in the "NTS Manual", is available separately at NTS MPG".

Both of these documents are PDF files. The "NTS MPG" is actually much larger then the "NTS Manual" because the guidelines manual contains all of the details of handling traffic in a single document. The manual only contains hyperlinks to the individual chapters of the guidelines.

The ARRL Emergency Service Courses

The ARRL also offers online courses. These course have a fee. For more information, visit the ARRL training website.

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This page was modified on August 17, 2016.