Amateur radio, commonly refered to as Ham Radio, has been around for over a century and the members of Warren County RACES and the Laurel VEC Group would like to keep it that way.
Free "Ham In A Day Classes" will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with exams from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. "These classes will be a free look into what exactly Ham has to offer," said Russ Bush.
Direct or on a series of repeater systems, operators use the radios to communicate with people in their neighborhood or even other parts of the world, Bush said.
Times Observer photo by Brian Collins
A total Ham
Arnie Irvine, Warren County RACES Officer, demonstrates the use of a High Frequency Ham radio in preparation for the Dec. 15 “Ham In A Day Class” to be held at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department next month. All are welcome to attend and earn their FCC Technician class license in just one day.
What started out as a hobby documented as far back as the late 19th Century, amateur radio has evolved into a system of communication that has linked the world in times when electricity-powered means have failed. In the 1990s, Ham radio operators even communicated with the MIR Space Station as it orbited the Earth.
In Warren County, amateur radio operators have used the system as part of the Winterfest dog-sled races at Chapman State Park, during the YMCA's half-marathon, the Kinzua Classic bicycle race, and for emergency services in areas where cell phones have no reception.
The most important use of Ham Radio in the area is one that those who are authorized to use it are hoping they won't ever have to. Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was implemented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission and can only be activated by local government. Most recently activated during Hurricane Sandy, RACES was used in areas where all other communication was knocked out.
Even in Warren County, as the storm grew closer, local RACES was on stand-by to assist local government if the need arose.
With over 60 people already signed up for the class, it appears that interest in the area is picking up. Those who are interested can earn the basic level, FCC Technician class certification at the Ham In A Day Class.