Amateur radio is alive and well in Pontotoc County | Local News


The Pontotoc County Amateur Radio Association participated Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24 in the American Radio Relay League’s 2018 Annual World Day.

I know that’s a lot of names and terms that not everyone will find familiar, so let me break it down.

• What is amateur radio? Known to many as “amateur radio“, this branch of radio communications has its roots in early radio communications. Amateur radio is a hobby and, by law, completely non-commercial. Operating a radio on all bands designated as amateur requires a license. More advanced licenses allow the use of more frequency bands.

• Who can become an amateur radio operator and how can I become an amateur radio operator? There is no age limit to become a “ham”. Knowledge of Morse code is no longer required for any US amateur radio license, and it is not even necessary to be a US citizen. To become an “amateur” radio operator, you must pass a 35-question test from a volunteer examiner. If you would like to do so, contact me at the address at the bottom of this article and I will put you in touch with one.

• What is a frequency and what are some examples of amateur radio frequencies? Commercial radio listeners are undoubtedly familiar with the FM radio band, which extends from 88 MHz to 108 MHz. “MHz” stands for one million hertz, named after Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the German physicist who first conclusively proved the existence of electromagnetic waves. One hertz is one cycle per second. Amateur radio frequencies are divided into bands and cover the entire radio spectrum, from “short wave”, starting above the AM band and extending almost to the lowest television channel frequencies, through VHF , UHF and extending into the microwave bands. The radio frequencies that travel around the world through a phenomenon known as “propagation” are usually those below 30 MHz.

• Is amateur radio the same as the citizens band, “CB? ” No. Although they use many of the same principles, CB radio does not require a license to operate and is limited to 40 channels in the 27 Mhz portion of the spectrum.

• What is “Field Day?” Each June, the ARRL sponsors Field Day, a worldwide competition designed to challenge and strengthen the ability of radio amateurs to communicate under adverse field conditions, by simulating situations in which normal communications may not be available. , such as during a natural disaster. Field Day, in my opinion, is that one-way amateur radio can remain relevant in the 21st century.

As an amateur radio operator since 1996, I’ve seen the hobby change as quickly as the tech scene in general. Meaningful use of the entire radio spectrum is increasingly important in a world that depends on radio power for everything from cell phone service to onboard military communications, and everything in between. uses any type of wireless technology.

One of my favorite activities as a radio ham is the on-air spot. Antennas are to radio waves what lenses are to light, and I find them equally fascinating. One thing I notice in our community is a number of antennas at the top of companies that are no longer in use due to the transition to cellular smart phones. If you have an unused antenna on or in your business and would like to donate it to the Pontotoc County Amateur Radio Association, contact me and I can find a good home for it.

Finally, if you have a police or public safety scanner and want to listen to local amateurs, program it to 145.27 Mhz or 147.285, and start listening!

To contact Richard about becoming an amateur radio operator or with any other questions, email

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