Amateur Radio is a rewarding activity enjoyed by people all over the world. Amateur radio operators or “Hams” enjoy the privilege of experimenting with and using a wide range of radio frequencies suitable for local or worldwide communication. Ham radio operators communicate as a hobby and also as a public service, when other means of communication are unavailable or disrupted. Ham radio gets through when all else fails.

With these privileges come technical and legal responsibilities. All amateur radio operators in the United States must possess a valid Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license and operate according to the rules set forth by the FCC. There are three Amateur radio license levels: Technician, General, and Extra, each of which requires more knowledge and offers increased privileges. License examinations are given locally by “VE” volunteer examiners, who are hams who have volunteered their time to administer and grade the exams on behalf of the FCC.

The Albemarle Amateur Radio Club offers classes to assist hams in earning the entry level Technician license. This license permits communication with handheld, mobile, or fixed stations, that have wide range through a system of radio repeaters maintained by the club. This equipment (some fully functional units cost less than $30) is used for many of our public service activities, including emergency communication and support of regional civic events, such as bike races which benefit local charities. Technicians also have limited access to frequencies that permit worldwide contacts. Our course covers topics including technical theory, setting up and operating an amateur station, and the rules and regulations that govern the amateur radio service.

Please don’t be intimidated. New hams come from all walks of life, and we’ve welcomed two new nine-year-old hams to our ranks. The exam and licensing process exists to ensure your success.

Classes will be held every Thursday evening, 7-9 pm, from January 11 to March 15, 2018 at Our Lady of Peace at 751 Hillsdale Drive in Charlottesville.

The FCC license examination, which is optional, will be offered at the last class session: 7:00 p.m. on March 15, 2018. The exam itself is pass-fail, and it requires that you answer correctly at least 26 of 35 questions. The questions are selected from a pool of 426 questions and answers, which are freely available on the internet.

There is a $30 fee for the class, which includes a copy of the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual that is used as our text. To register and pay for the class with a credit card, please click on the “Register Now on Eventbrite” button above. There will be an additional $15 cash exam fee due at the time of the exam.

Registration, which is required for the class, will be closed on December 31, 2017. (But see UPDATE below).

Other information on becoming a ham is available on this page at the “Become a Ham” link. Questions and comments are encouraged. Please contact Rick Oliver at rickoliver45@hotmail.com.

Welcome to Amateur Radio! We hope to see you at our class.

***UPDATE*** Late registrations may be possible if you are willing to wait a few days to receive your textbook. Please contact rickoliver45@hotmail.com if you would like to register late.