Ham radio class set for Oct. 27

Friday, October 19, 2012

MANCHESTER – An introduction to ham radio and class will be offered from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Manchester Red Cross Blood Center, 425 Reservoir Ave.

Ham radio, also known as amateur radio, allows people to communicate via radio. Distances covered may be a few miles or thousands of miles. Unlike cellphones, amateur radio does not rely on a network that can go down in critical times.

Ham radio is a crucial resource in disasters, and it provided the only early communication in recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand.

When hurricanes ravaged the Gulf Coast and completely wiped out all power, telephone and communications facilities, amateur radio was the only method available for initial communications. Closer to home, amateur radio played a key part in providing communications during the flooding from Hurricane Irene, which recently plagued southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

There are more than 5,000 amateur operators in New Hampshire. They get involved in all sorts of communication events, ranging from disasters to community events such as parades.

While amateur radio’s primary mission is to serve the public in emergencies, most of amateur radio activity is enjoying conversation with others. Some like to talk, others would rather listen and tinker. And there is no bill to pay at the end of the month.

Before anyone can transmit, they must receive a license from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC requires that prospective amateur operators pass a test to prove that they understand rules and regulations, safety and basic electronics. The Oct. 27 class will provide training for the first license level. Students can continue upgrading with a course on the next day. Knowledge of Morse Code is no longer required for amateur radio licenses.

The class is open to everyone across New Hampshire and the surrounding area, but pre-enrollment is required. For information, contact Mitch Stern at 1-800-639-1766, email to W1SJ@ARRL.NET, or visit

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