Amateur Radio Group Builds Awareness, Membership with Licensing Course
The Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association is offering a licensing course that it hopes will continue to grow engagement within the association and industry.
To introduce more people to amateur radio, the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, headquartered in upstate New York, is teaching a 13-week, entry-level licensing course.
“I like to get new folks involved in radio,” said Chris Bouck, FHARA’s treasurer. “I was an engineer in the Army for 20 years … I used to teach basic electricity and electronics, so teaching this is easy and fun for me.”
Amateur radio (also known as ham radio) is a hobby that “brings people, electronics and communication together,” according to the National Association for Amateur Radio. “People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the internet or cell phones.”
FHARA’s technician-class licensing course will give students the practical skills and knowledge they need to sit for the licensing exam, which is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission but given through groups like FHARA.
Bouck, who has taught this class for a couple decades now, said that along with giving students the tools and know-how they need to pass the exam and get licensed, he also enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for amateur radio with them. In the class, Bouck exposes the students to the array of niches within amateur radio.
For instance, some people have the goal of talking via amateur radio with people in all 50 states or in all 3,000-plus counties in the country. Others want to use their radio skills should a natural disaster or other emergency befall the electricity grid, necessitating the use of radio communication. Bouck himself has an interest in Morse code communication.
“I’ve tried just about every aspect of amateur radio, and I’m currently trying to do one of the hardest: It’s called Earth-Moon-Earth,” Bouck said. “You bounce your signal off the moon and try to talk to somebody on the other side of the planet.”
That’s another benefit of the $40 class, Bouck said. Each student that completes the class and passes the exam will get a free one-year membership to the association, and FHARA will then pair those new “hams” with experienced hams, called “Elmers,” who can help them as they’re getting started in their amateur radio endeavors. According to Bouck, this not only provides a useful service to the newest hams, but it also builds engagement and community among the association at-large.
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