A Ham Radio course will be offered in Essex Junction on Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17, 8:30am until 6pm each day.

A Ham Radio course will be offered in Essex Junction on Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17, 8:30am until 6pm each day.

A ham radio license allows access to the Amateur Radio Service frequencies and the provides the opportunity to contact over 1 million other ham operators worldwide. Many amateur operators enjoy these conversations from their home, car, boat and even from work.

For recreational boaters, ham radio provides a powerful communications tool. While VHF marine radio is configured for short range, ship to ship communications, VHF ham radio makes use of repeaters on mountains, allowing boaters in our area to communicate across Vermont. For example, a boat travelling under the Crown Point bridge would have no trouble reaching other ham radio equipped boats on the Champlain Canal or Richelieu River. In addition, boaters on the Intracoastal Waterway are always within range of a network of repeater stations which extend range and reliability.

For boaters who sail the high seas, a ham radio license with High Frequency privileges opens the window to communications with ham radio operators across the globe. Special Networks exist to keep track of boaters as they travel. Many a close friendship have developed during daily conversations during these crossings.

Just like with marine radio licenses, amateur radio licenses are issued by the FCC. The most popular license is the Technician (no-code) class. This license requires passing two exams with a total of 65 multiple choice questions on various subject areas in Amateur Radio. The Technician license offers operating privileges in the VHF and UHF spectrum, where contact with other Amateur stations across Vermont can be made with relative ease. Operators interested in more frequency privileges can take more written exams and morse code exams to gain access to the HF (high frequency) spectrum, where worldwide communications take place.

Ham radio equipment is comparable in cost to marine radio units. Part of the attraction of ham radio is attaining the knowledge to install and to do minor maintenance on the equipment. This can certainly be a lifesaver in a critical situation.

The Weekend Amateur Radio course presents an introduction to the Amateur Service and trains students to obtain their Technician Class license. In addition, there are demonstrations of communications, videos of amateur activity and discussion of Amateur Radio operation on boats. The course includes books and study materials with exams offered at the conclusion. It only takes a few days to get the license from the FCC, allowing you to have your ham radio license in time for summer cruising.

Pre-registration for the course is required and students should enroll as early as possible to receive course materials prior to the start of class. For information on the course, please contact Mitch Stern at 879-6589, E-mail: w1sj@vbimail.champlain.edu.