CCAR Emergency Communications Training
Program Information

Chester County ARES-RACES and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services provide the opportunity for learning emcomm skills. We offer a program for earning your ARRL Level I certification by self-study and examination, assisted by an experienced CCAR mentor. Here is how it works:

Training cycles run during October-November, January-February, and April-May. We announce them several weeks in advance. The first thing to do is register. Then, get your hands on the course material. You can purchase the printed text for $10, which includes the exam question pool and all the activities you will need to complete. It is available directly from the ARRL at The book title is "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course -- Level I." Alternatively, you can use the CCAR online study material at this site at no cost. (Use is restricted to registered students.)

Next, we will assign you a Mentor. What is a Mentor? Your mentor is another ham who wants to see others become proficient in the knowledge and skills of emergency communications--an emcomm "Elmer." Your mentor has earned their ARECC Level I certification and is there to provide you support and pay attention to your progress. Throughout the course, you send assignments (activities) to your mentor, who will read them and help you through any rough spots. You and your mentor will establish your own lines of communication--whatever is convenient for the both of you. Email works great. Occasional meetings over a coffee do, too. We encourage mentors and students to attend monthly CCAR Tech Rallies and use them as informal discussion sessions.

You work through the course Learning Units (there are 20) at your own pace, completing all the activities, and checking in with your mentor as you finish one or more Learning Units. Try to discipline yourself to finish at least two Learning Units each week to complete the material before the exam. Most of the learning value of this course is in doing the activities.

Then, on the exam day that concludes the program, we hold a Level I classroom review seminar, which begins at 9:00 AM. An accredited ARRL Instructor or Certified Examiner leads it. This six-hour session is intensive, and designed to prepare you for the exam. We concentrate on the most important material, cover items you have questions about, and offer exam-taking tactics. It is not a comprehensive course. You need to bring all needed materials: pen, pencil, paper, and any text you might want. We also expect you to bring your complete VHF/UHF go-kit to share with the class. If you do not know what that is, you will after reading the text. You also need to bring a lunch and beverage to eat during the working session. There is no lunch break; only ten-minute breaks every two hours. There is no cost for the review seminar.

The formal ARRL Exam session follows immediately at 3:00 PM, led by two or more Certified Examiners. Plan on 3 hours for this session if you want to try the Level II or III exams; or 1 1/2 hours if you only try Level I. All students pay $10 at the session for each level exam they attempt--not for the entire session like VE exams. Cash or check made payable to ARRL are acceptable. We give all three exams in order, beginning with Level I. Students may take higher level exams as they pass the prerequisite levels. You earn certifications based on a passing grade of 80% or better. If you fail an exam, you may immediately retake a second version of it at no cost. We report all the results to the ARRL according to their published guidelines and rules. If you earn a certificate, the ARRL will send it to you directly from headquarters in Newington, CT.

After you are certified, we would like you to help perpetuate our training program and serve as a mentor for the next class. You might not think you would be ready for that. Nevertheless, you will be.

So, that's our program. Welcome. We know you will enjoy becoming a certified emergency communicator!

Currently Scheduled Program Dates:
Oct-Nov 2002; Exam/Seminar date Saturday, Nov. 23
Jan-Feb 2003; Exam/Seminar date Saturday, Feb. 22
Apr-May 2003; Exam/Seminar date Saturday, May 31

We urge you to register in advance. Walk-in registrations for our seminar and exam sessions are on a space-available basis. To register easily online, click here.

Or mail you name, call sign, mail address, email address, and the dates you prefer to:

Loring Kutchins, W3QA
785 Tree Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Continue with registration

This page updated: August 27, 2002