Juneau Amateur Radio Club, Inc. KL7JRC
and Answers on Amateur Radio
What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur radio is a radio communication service in which licensed amateurs carry out radio operations with their own personal aims in development and use of radio technology but without payment of any type.
Why is a license needed?
The “Amateur Radio Service” was created by the FCC to fill the need for a pool of licensed experts who could provide backup emergency communications to work with public service agencies. The FCC grants the privilege of using the radio frequencies to the amateur radio service. This privilege carries with it the requirement that we are trained and licensed to operate responsibly and that we provide our services when needed. The FCC recognizes the ability of the hobby to advance communication and technical knowledge, and enhance international goodwill.
What is the beginning license for people starting out in Amateur Radio?
The Technician license is the entry-level license for most newcomers to amateur radio. In fact, there are more Technician licensees now than any other license class. There is no Morse code exam required to earn a technician license. New hams can now earn the Technician license by passing a single 35-question exam covering basic Rules, operating practices and electronics theory.
What Privileges comes with the with the entry level Technician Class License?
licensees have full VHF and UHF privileges granted to higher class
but limited HF privileges. This means
that technicians can use a small handy-talky to communicate through our
systems with other hams and to patch into the telephone system to make
from remote areas. Technicians can
also use their small radios to communicate via satellites with other
hams. VHF signals are used for line
of sight communications. A
Technician also has the privilege of
on some parts of the HF bands that use signals propagated off of the
can communicate with fellow operators around the world.
Technicians who learn Morse code may use it on parts of most HF bands,
and enjoy some voice privileges on the 10 meter and 6
meter HF bands.
What attracts people in Juneau to the hobby of ham radio?
Amateur radio is a great hobby by itself but it is particularly useful to active people interested in other activities. Boaters, kayakers, fishermen, hunters, and hikers like to use the Club’s repeaters and phone patches to inform their families of their well being. Para-sailors use their handy-talky radios to communicate with each other and with the control tower and charter services. Sailors use a wide variety of scheduled nets to track and communicate with each other and with home folks. Ham radio is useful for spouses to check on things they might pickup at the store and when traveling to the big cities the use of ham radio allows spouses to go to different places without losing each other.
What kinds of community activities and services do amateur radio operator do in Juneau?
· Juneau hams participated in a real emergency last spring in providing communications following the avalanche that destroyed phone lines and blocked the road to Thane. We advised local radio stations and the police department that we had set up a process for relaying health and welfare traffic to and from folks isolated by the slide and handled several messages for concerned relatives.
· We have an arrangement with the Red Cross to provide supporting communications during emergencies and served with that agency in a community wide drill exercise in a simulated aircraft runway disaster.
· Ski-to-Sea: A large number of Ham radio operators were used to manage all communications for Juneau’s Annual Ski-to-Sea relay races. Ham operators were deployed to each hand off point to assist the time keepers to synchronize their watches, readying the queuing of team members, and for recording and summarizing the race results.
· Provide communications for managing the 4th of July parade
· Set up a ham radio station for the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) so they could talk to other scouts in the lower 48 and in Canada.
· Established an amateur station at the National Weather Service to communicate with other NWS stations and hams as a special event activity.
· Emergency Preparedness: The Radio Club operates a weekly net on our repeaters called the Northern Southeast Alaska Amateur Radio Emergency Service net. Hams check in from Haines, Gustavis, and Hoonah as well as from Juneau with the purpose of checking on the readiness of the members and their equipment, to exchange information, and to give members experience in managing a net.
Also, many Juneau hams regularly check to the 20-meter Alaska/Pacific Emergency Preparedness net each day. This net was established the day following the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 and has about 200 radio operators in Alaska and in the lower 48 states.
· We welcome hundreds of hams visiting Juneau each summer on the cruise ships who call into our repeaters to make local contacts.
· Helped KTOO with their pledge drive
· Participate in Juneau High School science fair
· Conducted classes for licensing Technician Class hams and we conduct about 10 monthly licensing examinations each year.
How do ham operators find the particular people they want to talk to? (Nets)
Numerous nets operate on a daily basis on set frequencies so that hams can find and communicate with each other. We have several nets in Alaska. The Alaska/Pacific net originated the day after the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 and is still operating with about 200 hams from Alaska and the lower 48 responding to each daily roll call. We have the daily Alaska Bush Net so that friends and family members can meet and communicate. Sailboaters have ham radio nets so that it is possible to communicate and relay their messages from anywhere in the world. For example, at least four daily nets are used to stay in touch with sailboaters in Mexico. Rec. Vehicle users, truckers, and many other groups have their own radio nets. All nets have net managers to list the hams checking in or to manage the roll calls.
What kind of training materials are available to people interested in becoming amateur radio operators and how do they get them?
The Juneau Amateur Radio Club has license training manuals, videos, and computerized study disks for people interested in becoming licensed Amateur Radio operators. The easiest way to obtain there materials is to arrange to pick them up at either the weekly luncheons at the Jordan Creek Mall, at SnowFree video downtown, or by calling Sam Smith at 780-6676. The manuals are for sale at $19.
How are Exams scheduled and managed?
The FCC delegated to the responsibility for Volunteer Examiners to prepare and administer license examinations in 1982. Local Volunteer Examiners (VE) are accredited by national organizations such as the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) and they have agreed to abide by FCC regulations. VE’s host exams in Juneau monthly if anyone pre-registers their request for an exam.
How is using ham radio any better than cell phones for local communications?
Ham radio assisted by our repeater network covers areas not provided by cell phones, ham radio is more versatile, and is almost free.
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