Ham radio classes are keeping kids off the streets

Police officers in Long Beach, Calif., are providing kids with an alternative to gangs and drugs by creating a new generation of amateur radio operators via a new program launched by the Police Athletic League (PAL).

Long Beach Det. Paul Bowman and his wife incorporated amateur radio into PAL, primarily an athletic program in April 1992.

Since then, 22 PAL-Ham students have earned amateur radio licenses, and 10 others have started working toward that goal as well.  Along the way, each student participated in community service by helping with communication for events like the Long Beach Marathon.

At the start, the Bowmans did not have a location, equipment or even necessary supplies.  But since then, the program has received many donations from amateur radio organizations.

Volunteer amateur radio-licensed instructors teach PAL-Ham classes every Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and stay after classes to help the students use the amateur radio station.

For further information on how to launch a similar program, contact Det. Bowman by calling (310) 495-2732.  Interested officers may also write to: PAL, 1401 W. Ninth St., Long Beach, CA 90813