Category Archives: Training

Basic Training Orientation

We are thrilled to have met our 2017 class Thursday evening at Central Fire station for CERT Orientation. With over 65 applications for Basic Training this year, we will certainly have a full class. With our potential class size triple the average, we have developed some creative innovations that will further set this year apart from others.

As always, CERT members are welcome to attend any classes for refresher training or general assistance.

We still have open seats for class this year so spread the word to family, friends, and coworkers. Applications are due by September 1st. See application for course dates.

Best of luck to our prospective members!

Technician Course & Exam

Save the Date

The Plano Amateur Radio Club will be presenting a Technician level amateur radio class on August 12th and 13th, 2017. The class will be held at the Lucas Fire Station training facility.  The fire station is located at 165 Country Club Ln, which is just north of Bethany & Lucas Rd, in Lucas.  Lucas is located just east of Allen, TX off US Hwy 75 at the Bethany Rd. Exit.

What to Bring

As always, the class is free, the EXAM is $14.00 cash. We are looking at a timeframe of 8:00am- 5:00pm on Saturday and 9:00am- 2:00pm on Sunday, with the EXAM starting at 3:00 on Sunday.  Parking should be available on the south side of the fire station.  A government issued photo ID will be required to take the exam on Sunday afternoon (FCC Requirement).

Other amateur radio class exams (General, Extra) will also be available for those wishing to take those exams. You need to bring a copy of your current amateur radio license to do so.

How to Prepare

To prepare for this class, we urge you to pick up a copy of the Ham Radio School’s Technician Class study guide prior to the class, and read through the course material at least once. You should not expect to just walk in to the two-day training class and grasp all the necessary information to successfully pass the exam. But, if you prepare by reading through the study guide, and marking any items that you have questions about, and then pay attention and ask questions during the 2-day training class, there is an excellent probability that you will pass the exam with a high score.

These study guides are available locally at the Ham Radio Outlet store 701 E. Plano Parkway Suite 406, across the street from Fry’s Electronics in Plano.  The cost for the study guide should be $19.95.

We also have many used study guides available, which we can loan you for $14.00 cash security deposit.  When you return these used study guides, in good condition (not marked up or dog eared), your $14.00 security deposit will be applied to the $14.00 cost to take the examination.  Basically, we save you the cost of buying the study guide.

Sign Up

To register for this class, or if you have additional questions, please send an email to Mike Pruden (NN5ZZ@ARRL.NET). Please provide:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Organization (e.g., CERT), if applicable
  • Indicate if you need a study guide

Disaster Animal Response


Most, if not all, of us are animal lovers. But, have you thought about how to consider animals in, and after, a disaster? Join us July 13th, 6:30 PM at the Central Fire Station training room to learn more about animal disaster preparedness and emergency response considerations. Special guest, Allison Harper, with the Allen Animal Shelter will lead the training and answer questions.

Don’t miss this one!

Lessons From CERT Bag Class

Once a year, we have an opportunity to huddle together and dump out the contents of our CERT bags for inspection and discussion. It’s probably the most internally beneficial events of the year for our membership because we get inspired to upgrade, replace, and/or amend our gear. Here’s what we took away from Thursday night’s class:

There is no perfect bag

Whether your backpack is 100% standard issue or was personally engineered from the ground up, it is missing something. You may also have too much. Striking a balance between weight and utility is difficult and if a perfect balance was possible, we could cancel this event.

Me first

Design your bag to take care of yourself first, and others last. Selfish? That’s okay. We have to ensure that, as emergency responders, we can sustain ourselves for the duration of our assignment. If we are out of commission, so are the people we could have helped. Ensure you have a way to carry water, enough first aid supplies, and the right protective equipment (PPE) for the most important person in the group – yourself.

Ounces equal pounds. Pounds equal pain.

Carrying a 4-in-1 tool, hammer, pry bar, adjustable wrench, and a socket set? Ditch the extra weight by eliminating redundant tools/equipment and consider multipurpose items that can get most jobs done. A 4-in-1 tool combined with a set of Channel Locks provides a ton of versatility with minimal weight. It’s recommended that you do a short hike with your backpack on to find out what you’re really capable of carrying for a long duration.

Water is your friend, and your enemy

You will need more water for drinking that you probably realize. But, water from above can really ruin your day. Make sure your gear is protected from rain by compartmentalizing items in waterproof bags. Consider throwing your bag in a pool; what would/wouldn’t survive? Write In The Rain is a popular brand of waterproof paper and they event make CERT-oriented products such as a field guide and ICS forms.

Are you identifiable?

Consider putting your name on your hardhat so there is no confusion as to who is being yelled at when a hazard is identified or you are urgently needed. Caution: If you put a headlamp on your hardhat, make sure it doesn’t obscure your name. Also, radio call signs are much less critical than names since not everyone will know what that means.

Easy access

What’s on your person is the most accessible and practical gear solution you can assemble. Invest in a good pair of cargo-style pants that can accommodate commonly-used items such as a folding knife, flashlight, bandanna, pen/paper, cell phone, keys, whistle, and compact escape tool.

Gear list

  • A Husky compact headlamp with an external battery was a big hit
  • A website called Do It Yourself Lettering provides adhesive vinyl that can be applied to hard hats; Chris Smith also owns a vinyl cutting machine
  • Consider buying a $10-15 Timex/Casio watch to throw on your bag so you always have a reliable timekeeping method
  • Milwaukee permanent markers are a cheap and reliable writing method. They are proven to write in dust, grease, and other less-than-ideal surfaces. Paint pens (railway markers) are also great writing tools.
  • LA Police Gear is a USA-made brand that designs their own products and offers them at very affordable prices. Notable gear includes the Urban Ops Pants and Atlas 24-hour Backpack.

We sincerely thank Station 5 C-Shift for hosting tonight’s class and for their invaluable insight during the entire discussion. Thanks, Joe, Michael, and Kevin!

See y’all next time.


Recurring CERT Net

Allen CERT Amateur Radio Net

Join us the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evening of every month, 8:00-9:00 PM, for an amateur radio net aimed at training CERT responders in general radio practice and net control operations. The first net launches April 4th!

The net is hosted on the Allen CERT repeater; 441.300 MHz with a positive transmit offset and a PL tone of 179.9 Hz. If your radio was programmed by someone on the CERT communications team, the repeater is set as channel 004. A web chat will accompany the net so that non-licensees and/or non-equipped operators can still participate. If you do not have a Google/GMail account, one must be created (free of charge) in order to take advantage of this feature.

This net will have an informal agenda on the 1st Tuesday to provide enough time and opportunity for all operators to key their microphones and put some duty cycle on their equipment. However, the 3rd Tuesday of each month, the net will transform to a formal training that puts more focus on specific topics and may include guest speakers.


1st & 3rd Tuesday 8:00 – 9:00 PM


Allen CERT Repeater 441.300 MHz+, 179.9 Hz
Online Click the video chat link in the calendar event
Lucas Repeater (alternate) 442.2125 MHz+, 91.5 Hz


Flyer Click here
Script Click here
Minutes/Recordings Click here


We need your help!

It’s our turn to clean up Century Parkway. Our first 2017 Adopt-a-Highway is scheduled for Saturday, March 18 at 8:00 am. If we have at least 10 volunteers, not only should this should take no longer than an hour but, we can also incorporate some search tactics .

Sign up now

Registered Volunteers

  • Chris Diltz
  • William Ingram
  • Tammy Ingram
  • David Lindberg
  • Anna Sturdivant
  • Sandy Mason
  • Paula Bramble
  • Linda Hardy

Backpack Class Rescheduled

The 2017 Continuing Education program kicks off with everyone’s favorite: the backpack contents forum. The class was scheduled for the 2nd week in March but has been moved to March 30th so as not to conflict with Spring Break. We will still meet at Station 5 at 6:30 PM. If you haven’t subscribed to the event calendar, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

General Class Radio License Course and Exam

General Class Radio License Course and Exam

The Plano Amateur Radio Club is in the planning stages of scheduling a General Class License radio class and exam for sometime in the February – March time frame.  We are trying to get a feel for how much interest there would be in this type of class.  We envision this class occurring over two consecutive weekends (Saturday and Sunday) in the month of either February or March.  The class would be free, but the exam would cost $14.00.  If you would be interested in participating in this type of class, please complete the form below and we will contact you when the details are firmed up.

Thanks for Your Interest!
– Mike Pruden, NN5ZZ

Amateur Radio Boot Camp

Allen CERT and Plano Amateur Radio Club would like to host a 2-day boot camp to help Allen CERT members prep for and pass their Technician’s license exam and become licensed amateur radio operators.

In order to offer this course, we must have an attendance large enough to justify the procurement of instructors and examiners.

The class will take place on December 3rd and 4th, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm both days.

The cost for this course is $14.00 and includes the exam fee. Payment is due on arrival. If you do not have a study guide, Plano Amateur Radio Klub (PARK) will have rentals available for $14.00. After the rental is returned at the end of class, the fee is applied to the cost of the course.

Sign up below if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity to study with the experts and take your Technician’s License exam for a minimal cost!

Note: There is no need to register if you already signed up via this form.

Continuing Education Classes Suspended Through 2016

2016 is drawing nearer to a close which means the holidays are upon us. In addition, we have the Big X and our annual Meet & Greet coming up soon. For those reasons, there are no monthly Continuing Education classes scheduled for the remainder of the calendar year.

The 2017 syllabus will be forthcoming but plan on the next class taking place in February.  If you would like to suggest topics for next year’s syllabus, leave a comment below.

Happy Holidays to everyone. Stay safe and warm (or cool)!