You've come to the right
place. Attend one of
M.C.A.R.Cs club meetings. We
can assist you with training and licensing. Above is a picture
of one of our meeting.
What is Ham Radio?
A unique mix of fun, public
service and convenience is the distinguishing characteristic of
Amateur Radio. Although hams get involved for many reasons, they
all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and
operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC
license to operate on radio frequencies known as the "Amateur
Bands." These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) for
use by hams at intervals from just above the AM broadcast band
all the way up into extremely high microwave frequencies.
Who is the Typical Ham?
Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life -- movie
stars, missionaries, doctors, students, politicians, truck
drivers and just plain folks. They are all ages, sexes, income
levels and nationalities. They say Hello to the world in many
languages and many ways. But whether they prefer Morse code on
an old brass telegraph key, voice communication on a hand-held
radio, or computerized messages transmitted via satellite, they
all have an interest in what's happening in the world, and they
use radio to reach out.
What's the Appeal of Ham
Some hams are attracted by the ability to communicate across the
country, around the globe, or even with astronauts on space
missions. Others may like to build and experiment with
electronics. Computer hobbyists enjoy using Amateur Radio's
digital communications opportunities. Those with a competitive
streak enjoy "DX contests," where the object is to see how many
hams in distant locations they can contact. Some like the
convenience of a technology that gives them portable
communication. Mostly we use it to open the door to new
friendships over the air or through participation in one of more
than 2000 Amateur Radio clubs throughout the country.
Why Do You Need a License?
Although the main purpose of Amateur Radio is fun, it is called
the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face.
The FCC created this "Service" to fill the need for a pool of
experts who could provide backup during emergencies. In
addition, the FCC acknowledged the ability of the hobby to
advance the communication and technical skills of radio, and to
enhance international goodwill. This philosophy has paid off.
Countless lives have been saved where skilled hobbyists act as
emergency communicators to render aid, whether it's during an
earthquake in Italy or a hurricane in the U.S.
How to Become a Ham
Amateur radio is the premier high-tech hobby. It's enjoyed by
people from all walks of life from around the world. The rules
for becoming an amateur (ham) radio operator vary from country
to country around the world. On this page we're going to tell
you a little about the hobby and how you can obtain the
necessary license to operate in the United States.
It's never been so easy to get into ham radio. All ham radio
operators must be licensed before they can legally operate. This
differs a great deal from the CB (i.e. truckers) and FRS (i.e.
dimestore walkie-talkie) services which require no licenses.
Amateur radio operators must be licensed because they are given
transmitting privileges on a wide variety of frequencies and are
allow to use just about any equipment imaginable, even home
built radios. Amateurs are allotted not single specific
frequencies but usually whole ranges (bands) of different
frequencies to operate on. These frequencies and methods of
transmission are are specified by FCC rules and so it is
therefore necessary to be generally familiar with your operating
limitations in order to transmit lawfully.
In order to qualify for an amateur radio license, you must pass
certain tests to determine that you have the required knowledge.
Fortunately, the tests are not terribly difficult for most
people. There are three license levels (known as classes) where
each class grants greater privleges to the individual. There is
a single written test for each license class.
The license classes are:
Technician Class -
this is the entry level license. It gives privileges on all
amateur frequencies above 50 Mhz and is the most popular. It
requires only a written test.
General Class -
this is the mid-level license. It enables privileges on most
amateur frequencies below 50 Mhz and includes global HF
(shortwave) communications. It has its own written test and
requires that you also have passed the Technician class
Extra Class -
this is the highest level license. It grants privileges on
all amateur frequencies. It has its own written test and
requires that you also have passed all of the Technician and
General class written.
Okay, so where do I start?
This part is easy. The first
thing you should do is contact
Amateur Radio Club. We will help you obtain the home study
materials and tutoring to prepare you for the test. This will
give you the background that you'll need to understand the gist
of what the tests are about.
Amateur Radio Public Service
service communication has
been a traditional responsibility of the Amateur Radio Service
since 1913. In today's Amateur Radio, disaster work is a highly
organized and worthwhile part of day-to-day operation,
implemented principally through the Amateur Radio Emergency
Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS), both
sponsored by ARRL. The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
(RACES), independent nets and other amateur public service
groups are also a part of ARRL-recognized Amateur Radio public
Amateur Radio Emergency
Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists
of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their
qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the
public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur,
regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national
organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only
qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio
license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an
amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The
possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is
not a requirement for membership.
is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of
trained volunteer severe weather spotters. Skywarn volunteers
support their local community and government by providing the
NWS with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These
reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to
inform communities of the proper actions to take as severe
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