Today marks the day I took the final for ARRL’s EC-001: Emergency Communications Basic/Level 1 course.

It’s a 9 week course that I started in November and covers a wide range of EMCOMM topics: From the organizational structure of emergency communicator groups to traffic net etiquette to digital modes to message handling to deployment preparation and expectations.

It is designed for those who want to volunteer in ARES or another emergency communications group.

ARRL EC-001 Intro to EMCOMM Course

The 9 week course is comprised of 29 lessons, with an estimate of taking 45 hours to complete. Along the way, there are assignments/activities for each lesson, and frequent check-ins with a designated mentor of the class.

The mentor for this class was Linda Mullen AD4BL, who lives in Alaska. She served in the Northern Florida and Alaska ARRL Sections. She is presently the DEC for the North Star Borough – Fairbanks AK District and the SEC of Alaska.

Throughout the course, Linda shared applicable experience and insights into the lessons and problems presented. We also got into side discussions about various technical and organizational obstacles I was encountering. It is always great to have a helpful Elmer just an email away.

Overall, I found the course to be both laborious and motivating. Laborious in that there were a lot of topics relating to protocols and structure that are necessary but tedious. Motivating in that it gave me that little extra context and pointer to seek out more info in various areas I had always wondered about: My own ARES and ARRL sections, digital modes, alternative modes, and the best uses of all of them.

People have asked me, “Why do you want to do this?” Implied in that line of questioning was that it’s a lot of work for something that doesn’t immediately benefit me. But I’m a planner. I want to be prepared. And most of all, I don’t want to be helpless and aimless whenever the next emergency hits. EMCOMM infrastructure is there, and instead of just waiting for someone else to answer my calls of help, I want to be ready and capable to facilitate those calls for help, and even be part of getting them resolved.

If disaster preparedness appeals at all to you, and you have a knack for communications, I highly recommend checking out ARRL’s EC-001 online course.

2 Replies to “ARRL EC-001 Emergency Communications Course”

  1. Hi Dennis, My name is Bryan (KB2UZY) i notice you finished your EC-001 course which i’m doing now Congrats on your Completion. So far i’m on 7b on this course and i find this course so far confusing, Even though i am part of ARES group in Mass, I had to stop doing this course because of a sudden death in the family. I lost total focusing on this course, Now i’m back on this course which ends on the end of the next month on 5/29/18. I’m wondering if theres a better way to complete the course, I read the examples then try to answer them which so far i’m good for the little time i stared. Wondering who long did this course take for you to do. I Don’t mean to get to personal just around about time I lost about 1 month of time because of mourning. Thanks hope i didn’t bother you of any kind Have a great holiday weekend whats left of it HIHI any way 73s for now.

    1. Hi Bryan. My notes say that 7b is the Intro to Emergency Nets.

      Are you referring to the “share with your mentor” questions, or the actual final exam? I am sorry I do not remember the exam questions relating to this, but I have notes from the course lessons.

      The Nets I noted were:
      – Traffic Nets: Formal messages in a specified (e.g. ARRL/RACES) format.
      – Tactical Nets: Real-time coordination of activities related to the emergency.
      – Resource/Logistics Nets: acquisition of resources and volunteers to handle assignments
      – Information Nets: open net used to collect and share information on a developing situation without overly restricting use of the frequency by others.

      I was lucky to have access to during this time to various EMCOMM-centric 2m repeater nets. One was run by SATERN and we also have this club in Sacramento called SHARP (Sheriffs Amateur Radio Patrol) where responders are designated tactical call numbers. I was able to check-in to SATERN and only listened to SHARP.

      If you are strapped for time (you wrote 5/29/18 which is in 2 days) it’ll be difficult to finish, basically a college cram. But given a month you can finish it. I think I finished a bit early of the 9 week course. If I had only 4 weeks, would be challenging but possible. While I took it, I just dedicated time 2-3 nights a week till I powered through the lessons. They say you should take a break between lessons but I actually did a few at a time. I am sorry, I do not know a better way than to just power through the lessons.

      It’s a straightforward course, but it does have a few outdated references that I had to search for via google since they were broken links. 73 and GL de AD6DM.

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