Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Heather's Corner: What is Ham Radio and How Does it Involve Oro Valley?

Amateur Radio ("Ham Radio") is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators ("hams") operate communications equipment. Whether through "Morse Code on an old brass telegraph key, voice communication on a hand-held radio or computerized messages transmitted via satellite, hams use radio to reach out to the world."

Looking for something for your kids to do that will keep them out of trouble and help build character?  Then, look no further than Ham Radio!

What is the draw to being a Ham?

The hobby allows Hams to communicate as long as they have their radio in their presence. This means from the top of the highest mountains where cell phones cease to receive signals or from the comfort of their own living room or "radio shack."

In times of emergency, Hams assist emergency communication efforts and work with public service agencies when normal means of information through typical communication devices are not working.

For example, according to Bob Stephens of the Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club:
"Our group was involved in Oro Valley's preparation for Odile.  The Oro Valley Community Emergency Response Team ("OV CERT") was led by Scott Ingram. Odile was the first official call-out for this team of community volunteers who train for handling emergency situations in their own neighborhood and to provide neighborhood support while waiting for official first responders. For Odile, the OV CERT team managed the distribution of sandbags in conjunction with Golder Ranch Fire and Oro Valley Public Works. Two teams operated with one at the Linda Vista Golder Ranch Fire District station and one at the Golder Ranch Fire District Headquarters station."
Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the "Amateur Bands." These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.

Sound interesting?

Well lucky for you the Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club exists and they are looking for new members.

The club provides an opportunity to meet like-minded radio buffs while gaining opportunity to serve the public. There are monthly meetings and field days. And last but not least ,their Saturday Hams and Eggs Breakfasts allowing more opportunity for friendship and discussion. Best of all, you do not need to be licensed to attend meetings to check out what they're all about.  In fact, they will help you find a way to earn a ham radio license.

For general information about OVARC you can email info@tucsonhamradio.org or visit their website.
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

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