The "Ham in a Day" class hosted by the Warren County Department of Public Safety RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) at the Youngsville VFD this weekend was a huge success, according to Terry Carlson, Chief Telecommunicator for the Warren County 911 Center.
The class was originally geared towards local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts but developed into a statewide event with close to 120 participants. "Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would get that many people signed up in such a short amount of time," said Carlson.
As testing began late afternoon on Saturday, more than 100 people had attended the class with an additional 15 people walking in to upgrade their licenses. "This is the largest event like this that I know of and definitely the largest Ham in a Day class to be held in Warren County," reported Carlson.
Times Observer photo by Brian Collins
Loud and clear
Amanda Clark (left) gets her identification verified by Russ Bush (middle) before taking her amateur radio certification exam. The class drew in nearly 120 people from across the state and even parts of Virginia.
In addition to the classes and the testing, participants took advantage of the chance to network with other amateur radio operators, enjoyed refreshments provided by the volunteers and support people, and had a chance to win over 80 door prizes at the lunchtime drawing.
"We want to thank our sponsors, including the Warren Times Observer who did a piece on the event leading up to it," added Carlson. 16 radios were donated to the event by MCM Consulting, SBM Communications, and Stat MedEvac out of Pittsburgh as well as Ramco Communications in Warren. WestPA.net was also another large sponsor of the event among many others.
Close to 35 support people helped make the event possible from cooking lunch to the actual teaching of the class and the administration of the exams at the end.
Of the participants, most came from the county but there were several participants from Pittsburgh and as far as Virginia. Randy Nuhfer and his son Randy, Jr. were first-timers at the class. "I thought it would be pretty cool to do," said Nuhfer, Jr. "I take electronics classes up at the Warren County Career Center and I thought it would be a good thing to be able to put on my resume."
"It's a good way to have a network," Nuhfer, Sr. added.
Amanda Clark and her father were also in attendance, proving that amateur radio is for everyone, not just 'the guys.' When asked what got her interested in the event, she laughed "My dad brought me."
Still others were spurred by the hopes of extra credit. Jacob Reno and several classmates were inspired by a teacher who was also in attendance of the event.
"It's been a great day," concluded Carlson. The success of the class has given him hope that not only will the hobby of Ham Radio continue on but also that membership for RACES will see a boost.
At the time, final results of the testing were not available, but Carlson was able to mention that several license tests had been successfully completed and hoped many more would be handed out.