is the national membership association for Amateur Radio operators.
Ability to Operate the Radio
For Emergency Radio Communications
How a person operates a radio in normal everyday use probably defines the capability of that person's comfortable operating capability. In an emergency a radio operator is likely to be tested well beyond what is normal in the hobby mode of being a Ham radio operator. So what can a person do to help himself or herself to be prepared if the call comes to help in an emergency communications crisis? I'll list a few things that should be worked at in normal operations.
What can your radio / radios do? Have you used all the operating modes and explored the features present on your radio? To be competent with a radio, you should be able to describe its various features and put them to the uses they were designed for and do it without referring to the manual.
Make certain that you know when your radio is connected to a proper antenna or load. You should be able to tell by looking and listening if your radio is properly connected to the antenna and to power. You should have no problem adjusting the antenna matching networks used in your installation.
Make it a practice to check into your local club nets, ARES nets, and traffic nets. Get to know the call signs and names of the people you normally hear on these nets and if you can handle traffic using the National Traffic System form to take the message and deliver it.
Learn to keep an accurate log book and exchange QSL cards with those who request them from you.
If your local club participates in Field Day, try to participate in that event. There are contests sponsored by the ARRL and others. These contests are an excellent opportunity to sharpen your operating skills and have a great time too.
If you can try out other radios. Trade with your Ham friends and try to become familiar with the various radios available. You might even decide which ones you like and which ones you don't.
If your club or repeater operator needs help to cut the weeds or clean the repeater area, or just company on a trip to the mountain, try to go with him. Check out the site and learn as much as you can about the technical aspects of the installation. in an emergency, you might be the one needed to put this repeater back on line.
If you use a computer with
your radio for VoIP connections or as a sound card TIN, learn the software
and understand the intricacies of the internet, and the software just as you
would your radio. If you are normally using a computer at your
station, have you provided emergency power to keep it online?