Ham Radio courses offered

To the editor:

The Adirondack Amateur Radio Association, which provides the north central Adirondacks with emergency communications resources, will be conducting a free two-and-a-half day training course leading to FCC Amateur Radio Technician Class License, April 27, April 29 and May 6. The course will be held at the Saranac Lake Free Library Cantwell Room and will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 27th and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 29th and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 6. FCC tests will be administered at 3:30 p.m. on the 6th. The course is free, however there is a $15 testing fee and $35 FCC licensing fees.

Community members looking for an interesting and engaging way to get involved with a community service organization, and particularly those who venture into the back country on a regular basis on foot, bike or snow mobile, should consider becoming a licensed amateur (HAM) radio operator.

Ham radios reach where cell phones fail including much of the Adirondack back country and back country roads. Today’s handheld HAM radios can utilize the Adirondack region’s extensive network of mountain top repeaters including those on Whiteface, Blue, Lyon, Rand Hill, Perry, Gore mountains and many others. Today’s handheld radios can be programmed to monitor the national weather service, forest rangers, coast guard and other first responders. Recent headlines remind us that the back country can be a dangerous environment. HAM radio at high altitude may provide the only means of good communications back to family, friends and emergency response.

As an important communications tool in an emergency, HAM operators link communities across the county and across the country. Be it Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Boston Marathon or our own ice storm, cell phones fail but HAM radio operators were on the scene providing vital communications between first responding units and emergency operations centers. The local Amateur Radio Association trains year round, including providing communications for the Tin Man, Round the Mountain, Olga race, the Willard Hanmer and 90 Miler canoe races. Our members are part of the Ironman communications team riding in every ambulance and stationed at key points throughout the course.

Getting your first license is easy and affordable. Morse code is no longer required and new hand held amateur band radios are available for under $30. This free course will teach you everything you need to know to pass the 35 question FCC license test … you can be on the air by Memorial Day. The advance registration deadline is April 15 and is required. Free study material is available from AARA while supplies last. Advance preview of course material is highly recommended. Related fees: There is a $25 registration fee that is refunded upon course completion. There is a $15 fee to sit for the test and $35 FCC license fee.

For more information, please contact Kevin Laplante, Adirondack Amateur Radio Association, at kj.laplante@gmail.com.

Barry Brogan

Saranac Lake


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