Ham radio class has openings

There are 10 seats open for the “Ham in a day” amateur radio license class scheduled next Saturday, May 31.

It will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Warren County Public Safety Building, 100 Dillon Dr., Youngsville, in the first-floor training room.

Russ Bush of the Allegheny Highlands Repeater Association, Chief Cornplanter Amateur Radio Group and the Laurel VEC Group, described it as a day-long study session followed by the FCC Technician Class License exam.

Reservations are required as the class is limited to 20 people. Walk-in tests for all license classes will be held at 2 p.m.

Participants should bring a sack lunch, something to drink, two forms of identification including one photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport or, if no identification is available, a birth certificate, report card, library card, Social Security card, utility bill or bank statement. Students may bring a school identification or a written note from a legal guardian.

“It’s kind of a test study session. You come in, we give you a copy of all the questions in the FCC amateur ham radio license. We give you a copy of the exam and all of the answers,” Bush said. “Basically it’s just a self-guided study session…we teach you how to study the test.”

The license issued by the FCC is good for 10 years, he said.

“If you pass, we process the paper work. A week or so later you get a call sign and then are free to get on the air and become a part of the amateur radio community,” he said.

After passing the test, participants will receive a call sign from the FCC and will be a licensed radio operator, “and with that it gets you the basically entry-level privileges to ham radio,” Bush said.

That opens up communication locally, nationally and globally as Bush said ham radio participants communicate by voice, Morse code, digital modes, satellites or even by bouncing signals off of the moon.

Bush said ham radio operators communicate all over the world from Idaho, to Guam to Scotland.

“All available really in the local area with hand-held radios as cheap as $50,” he said.

Ham radio operators also contribute locally as the back-up for the county emergency services.

“When all else fails, amateur radio works,” he said. “It’s just a neat little hobby, it doesn’t cost you anything.”