Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Love Ham?

If you answered "yes" thinking that we were talking about a nice sandwich meat, think again!  Amateur Radio Operations, also known as "Ham" Operators provide a vital service both to Clark County and around the world. 

We are lucky to be having a class that starts on October 21st here in Vancouver, Washington, that you should consider attending. 

Ham radio offers a variety of opportunities for fun, adventure, education, and service.
SERVICE
Hams often provide emergency communications support to community events (such as Hood to Coast, Discovery Walk, Race for the Cure, Veteran’s Day Parade). Hams also support community response during and after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other community calamities. Sometimes the government emergency radios fail (such as during the Dec 2008 windstorms in Tillamook County); hams can step in a supplement emergency systems with their personal radios and training. Some hams train to provide communication service to church or neighborhood leaders, or with emergency response organizations such as American Red Cross or Salvation Army.  The website for our Clark County ARES/RACES chapter is http://www.ccareswa.org/

EDUCATION
Some hams simply earn a license and do nothing with the license. For them, learning stopped after the test. Sad, but true. Many hams, however, view the license as a license to learn. Opportunities abound in most areas of the nation, and here in the Northwest the opportunities are particularly rich. The ARRL (national ham radio organization) publishes numerous books on a wide variety of topics, mostly focused on radio. Club meetings for area clubs usually include some kind of education component, and some clubs (especially the Clark County Amateur Radio Club) offer other programs such as Ham Basics that offer an eclectic class mix to help you learn. Other opportunities are available from time to time, not to mention working with someone in the area to learn something new.

FUN and ADVENTURE
Most hams like to talk, and some go to far-out places to do so. Some climb mountains such as Silver Star or Mount St. Helens and operate their radios from the peak (Summits on the Air) to talk with other hams far and near. Others visit islands to operate (Islands on the Air). Still other hams try to tune their station so they can talk with hams in all the states or all US counties, or similar activities. Some participate in on-air discussions on various topics (usually not politics or religion, but those are certainly possible topics). The fun is up to you.

JOIN in the FUN
The Clark County Amateur Radio Club has a class starting Oct 21 in Vancouver that will help you learn what you need to know to pass the license test. The class has no tuition cost. It is recommended that you acquire a study guide, and the test will cost you $15. If you are interested, contact Delvin Bunton at drbunton@comcast.net for more information. 

1 comment:

Janna said...

Thanks Cheryl! I am now a Ham Technician level - pretty cool, and I would not have known about this opportunity had it not been for you posting this!