Amateur radio operators are invited to take part in an upcoming course which will prepare them to take their entry-level exam and earn an Amateur (Ham) Radio license. The course, offered through the Rend Lake College Community Education Department, is the only such course offered in Illinois south of Chicago.
The Ham Radio Technical License class will meet from over a period of nine Tuesdays, running from January 27 through March 30, in Academic Building Room 108 at Rend Lake College’s Ina campus. Sessions are scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. There has been a drastic decrease in the cost of the course, from $126 last year to $31 this year.
"When regular communication channels fail, hams swing into action -- sometimes saving lives -- and finding it very rewarding," said Community Education Director Dawn Gibson.
"You never know who you’ll run into when communicating with amateur radio," states the American Radio Relay League Web site.
Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes, cars, boats and the outdoors to make hundreds of friends around town and around the world, according to the Web site. They communicate with each other using voice, computers and Morse code. Some hams bounce their signals off the upper regions of the atmosphere so they can talk with hams on the other side of the world. Other hams use satellites, while many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets.
Using even the simplest of radio setups and antennas, amateurs communicate with each other for fun, during emergencies and even in contests. They handle messages for police and other public service organizations during all kinds of emergencies, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, floods, motor-vehicle accidents, fires, chemical spills and searches and rescues, according to the site.
The instructors for the course are Brad Pioveson of Benton and Kent Mandrell of West Frankfort. Both have been active Federal Communications Commission-licensed amateur radio operators for many years. Pioveson served as Training Officer and author of a new member communications training program for 14 Midwestern states on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy and the Navy-Marine Corps Military Affiliate Radio System. Mandrell is a retired educator who spent his working career in O’Fallon.