Prepare to be on the air! West Seattle Amateur Radio Club can help you get licensed

(WSB file photo from local amateur-radio operators’ Field Day)

Be a neighborhood hero – be the person on your block or in your building who has amateur-radio skills just in case of catastrophe. It’s the communication mode that’s likely to keep working even if everything else goes out. First step: Take a class that’s coming up, so you can get a license. The West Seattle Amateur Radio Club has issued the invitation:

Ham radio is a great hobby and a great way to serve the community. One can communicate locally, around the world or even via satellite. It provides an excellent means of emergency communication. Your license never expires as long as you renew every 10 years (no need for another exam). This is to be a fun, low-key, learning experience; class participation and asking questions are encouraged. However, instructors will not call on individual students during class, so that you can feel free to participate at your comfort level. Conceptual materials will be presented during the first weekend so that you can study efficiently during the following week. Practical scenarios and demonstrations will be presented on the next Saturday. A review session will be offered on the final Sunday.

The classes are all day Saturday, May 7th, Sunday, May 8th, Saturday, May 14th, and then it’s exam day on Sunday, May 15th, all at the Salvation Army Center in South Delridge (9050 16th SW). The classes are free; the test carries a $15 fee. You can go here to register.

8 Replies to "Prepare to be on the air! West Seattle Amateur Radio Club can help you get licensed"

  • Michasel Waldo April 26, 2022 (12:14 pm)

    Do you need a big, tall antenna? I have expressed interest but my wife has seen these antennas around and says no way.

    • Eric April 26, 2022 (1:00 pm)

      Not at all!  I have a handheld radio that has an antenna about 8 inches on it. You CAN get a massive antenna, but I don’t have one and talk around the world easily with a small wire that’s barely noticeable.  Here’s a common handheld.  You can talk all over the region with this, and also to the International Space Station!

      I took the radio below to a local park, and talked all over the western US and to Canada.  The antenna is on the right, and maybe 4 foot tall in total?So no, you don’t need anything crazy big at all.  

  • Eric April 26, 2022 (12:52 pm)

    This is a great class, and for all levels.  There are a group of Scouts (13-17 years old) who are going for their exam this weekend, and they are rocking all the practice exams.It’s not hard, and the benefits are amazing!        

  • Mark47n April 26, 2022 (1:49 pm)

    Nope, you don’t. There are actually several hams in the area using varying antennas from some sizeable beams to just a bit of wire.  Currently I have a vertical whip, about 12′ tall, in my front garden that just mounts with a stake and looks like a fishing pole. There are other options and activities for hams as well. Ther’s SOTA, where you lug your gear up a mountain and call people for points, field days, emergency comms groups, homebrewing equipment, and more. If computers are your niche then there are also numerous protocols and modes where they are used such as RTTY, FT8 and JS8Call (both weak signal modes), and more.It all begins with your license, though! WSARC does a great job and Dave Hilliard (presuming he’s the instructor) is extremely knowledgeable. So, take the class. It’s free and there are cookies.73, KJ7KNR

  • Neighbor April 26, 2022 (7:36 pm)

    My father left me with short waves that I really want to learn. Is this the same or a transferable knowledge set?  Thanks in advance!!!

    • Mark47n April 27, 2022 (4:28 am)

      Generally ‘shortwaves’ are receive only but still offer interesting possibilities since many will listen across a very wide spectrum of the RF band.  It can be helpful to have some of the knowledge and this can be found online  on site like SWL refers to ShortWave Listening. No license is required, of course, until you start transmitting.    

  • HAM Point April 26, 2022 (8:43 pm)

    Can’t speak highly enough of this material and licensure. If power, phone lines, cell towers, satellites, internet, etc all go down, you can still make and use a HAM radio to communicate. This is a modern day survival skill.

  • Ashley Hunter April 29, 2022 (11:13 am)

    Is the class offered virtually? I’m down in Olympia but would love to take it.

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