This page contains an overview of how to become an amateur (ham) radio operator. Radios are often the only reliable form of communication after a major disaster. We encourage you to consider getting your ham license.

Check out our Get Ready resources for links we've compiled about personal preparation and disaster awareness.

FRS (Walkie Talkie) Radio Materials

When traditional telecommunications are out, our Coastside CERT Communications Plan includes using FRS (walkie-talkie) radios in the neighborhoods and amateur (ham) radios between the neighborhoods and first responders. You do not need a license to use an FRS radio, but to transmit on a ham radio, you will need an FCC license. (Check out our guide Becoming a ham radio operator.)

Walkie Talkie explainer

Walkie Talkie Basic Training

Jim Williams' Walkie Talkie Webinar (9/3/2020)

Jim Williams' Walkie Talkie Slides (9/3/2020)

Neighborhood FRS radio frequencies

Our Half Moon Bay Amateur Radio Club (HMBARC) has defined some preliminary FRS radio frequencies for each neighborhood, which are subject to change (with agreement and notice) as neighborhoods come online. In addition to the actual frequencies, you will also see the programmed channel number for the Midland GTX1000 FRS Radio that we recommend.

Testing FRS radio range

If you would like to test the FRS radio range in your neighborhood, Jim Williams and Lee Copeland created this Testing FRS Radio Range and Propagation guide.

Kehoe/Casa del Mar successfully followed this guide with the following modifications: Rather than the chart, we used a map to label sound quality (1-3) and locations, and rather than set 5-minute increments for callouts, we did a simple roll call, relying on relays if necessary. If you need help or have questions, email

FRS radio training materials

The following materials were created by Kehoe/Casa del Mar to help folks get up and running with their FRS (walkie-talkie) radios.

If you need help or have questions, email

Customized Neighborhood/Coastside Communications flyer

Coastside CERT has created a 1/2-page refrigerator flyer template that can be modified for each neighborhood. It includes information from KHMB, neighborhood FRS radios and Coastside Hams. Here is a sample for Kehoe/Casa del Mar.

Email if you would like a custom flyer for your neighborhood. You will need to provide the customized neighborhood details for the FRS radio section.