Lee County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is encouraging its members and the residents of Lee County to get involved in Ham Radio (also known as Amateur Radio).
Ham Radio is important in emergency communications, especially during a widespread power outage. Two Ham groups commonly help out in emergencies: the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). ARES is a program of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL). Licensed Ham operators train in emergency communications and voluntarily register their qualifications and equipment with their local ARES leadership so they can assist with communications when disaster strikes.
RACES is emergency communications provided by a volunteer group within government agencies in times of need. RACES is administrated by a local, county, or state civil defense agency responsible for disaster services.
CERT is trying to increase the population of Ham Radio operators in Lee County and generate interest in emergency communication groups by sponsoring license exam study sessions called Ham Crams. Experienced Lee County Ham radio operators review the license exam questions pool for a specific level of license and provide teaching about some of the more technical areas. In November 2018 a Ham Cram was conducted for the entry level license exam, the Technician level. Fifteen people earned their licenses at the end of that weekend. The Ham Cram in August 2019 resulted in 5 people upgrading their licenses to the General level. As a follow up to the Ham Cram sessions, CERT and other Lee County Ham Radio operators hold practical Ham sessions to assist newly licensed operators to learn about equipment and good amateur practice to help them get on the air.
Ham Cram sessions are free of charge. There is a $15.00 fee to take the license exam. The sessions are open to anyone, and there is no age requirement for obtaining a Ham license. Morse Code knowledge is no longer required to obtain a Ham license, although the use of Morse Code for communications is popular with many Ham operators. Study session participants are urged to review the license manual contents before the study session begins, in order to have a good understanding of the material. More information about licensing may be found on the ARRL website at: http://www.arrl.org/. If you are interested in being a part of a Ham Cram study session, contact the Lee County CERT Coordinator at: email@example.com.