Moultrie Observer

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February 15, 2012

Electronics students get crash course from radio operators

MOULTRIE — Members of the Colquitt County Ham Radio Society recently presented their hobby to the students in Moultrie Technical College’s (MTC) electronics technology program.

The students, who attend classes at MTC’s Veterans Parkway Campus in Moultrie, were shown ham or amateur radio equipment and explained the purpose behind the hobby, which is the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world. A license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to operate amateur radio in the United States.

To obtain a license, operators must pass a 35-question multiple choice test, which covers basic regulations, operating practices and electronics theory with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. The license is available to all ages, genders and income levels. The amateur radio service also has a serious side, providing communications in case of disasters when other systems are down and messages need to get to recipients when there are no other options.

The equipment used can be small “homebrew” radios with a few components up to equipment costing thousands of dollars and many components. The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL)  is one of the main sources of information for the Hams and the organization emphasizes the Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, movement in radio communications. Students were taught that innovation and the sense of pride fostered by building your own equipment was one of the driving forces that helped propel the amateur radio through its first hundred years and will help maintain momentum through the twenty-first century.

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