Would you like to have been part of the ONLY communications out of New Orleans for the first three days after hurricane Katrina? Would you like to talk to other amateur operators anywhere in the world by radio? Would you like to serve your community during special events by providing communication? Would you like to talk to the Space Station? All these things and more are open to Amateur Radio license holders, or Hams, for short.
Your local Amateur Radio Club, the Beaufort Radio Amateur Group or BRAG (www.beaufortradio.com) will be giving free classes plus the license examination over four Saturdays in October at a location across the street from Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
People from age 7 to 97 have earned their amateur licenses. There are roughly 2 million amateurs in the world, with some 700,000 in the United States. There are three classes of license: Technician, General and Extra. The first level is the entry level and allows operating privileges on a number of frequency bands. The second level allows operation on all bands and all modes; the last has some additional privileges. In order to get a license, you have to know both sufficient technical information and the FCC regulations that apply to Ham radio. The necessary information for each class is contained in study guides called License Manuals which are put out by the American Radio Relay League, our major association (www.arrl.org). Each class of license has its own license manual. (An up-to-date manual is required for the class.)
The course in October will consist of three classes, your study in between and then the fourth Saturday will be the technician license exam. Classes are from 1 to 2 p.m. with time after each class for questions and discussion. There is a license exam fee of $15 but the license itself is free and is renewable every 10 years.
So no matter what your age, background or interest, whether technical — such as working the amateur satellites that are up — or social, talking to other Hams all over the city, state, country or world, come along and sign up for the course. You’ll meet the most remarkably varied group of people you might imagine.
For information, contact David Jennings at email@example.com or Paul Grayce at firstname.lastname@example.org.