Juneau Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Amateur radio is a radio communication service in which licensed amateurs carry out radio operations with their own personal aims in development and use of radio technology but without payment of any type.
The “Amateur Radio Service” was created by the FCC to fill the need for a pool of licensed experts who could provide backup emergency communications to work with public service agencies. The FCC grants the privilege of using the radio frequencies to the amateur radio service. This privilege carries with it the requirement that we are trained and licensed to operate responsibly and that we provide our services when needed. The FCC recognizes the ability of the hobby to advance communication and technical knowledge, and enhance international goodwill.
The Technician license is the entry-level license for most newcomers to amateur radio. In fact, there are more technician licensees now than any other license class. There is no morse code exam required to earn a technician license. New hams can now earn the Technician license by passing a single 35-question exam covering basic Rules, operating practices and electronics theory.
Technician licensees have full VHF and UHF privileges granted to higher class licensees, but limited HF privileges. This means that technicians can use a small handy-talky to communicate through our repeater systems with other hams and to patch into the telephone system to make calls from remote areas. Technicians can also use their small radios to communicate via satellites with other distant hams. VHF signals are used for line of sight communications. A Technician also has the privilege of operating on some parts of the HF bands that use signals propagated off of the ionosphere and can communicate with fellow operators around the world. Technicians who learn Morse code may use it on parts of most HF bands, and enjoy some voice privileges on the 10 meter and 6 meter HF bands.
Amateur radio is a great hobby by itself but it is particularly useful to active people interested in other activities. Boaters, kayakers, fishermen, hunters, and hikers like to use the Club’s repeaters and phone patches to inform their families of their well being. Para-sailors use their handy-talky radios to communicate with each other and with the control tower and charter services. Sailors use a wide variety of scheduled nets to track and communicate with each other and with home folks. Ham radio is useful for spouses to check on things they might pickup at the store and when traveling to the big cities the use of ham radio allows spouses to go to different places without losing each other.
What is the beginning license for people starting out in Amateur Radio?
What Privileges comes with the with the entry level Technician Class License?
What attracts people in Juneau to the hobby of ham radio?
How do ham operators find the particular people they want to talk to? (Nets)
Numerous nets operate on a daily basis on set frequencies so that hams can find and communicate with each other. We have several nets in Alaska. The Alaska/Pacific net originated the day after the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 and is still operating with about 200 hams from Alaska and the lower 48 responding to each daily roll call. We have the daily Alaska Bush Net so that friends and family members can meet and communicate. Sailboaters have ham radio nets so that it is possible to communicate and relay their messages from anywhere in the world. For example, at least four daily nets are used to stay in touch with sailboaters in Mexico. Rec. Vehicle users, truckers, and many other groups have their own radio nets. All nets have net managers to list the hams checking in or to manage the roll calls.
What kind of training materials are available to people interested in becoming amateur radio operators and how do they get them?
The Juneau Amateur Radio Club has license training manuals, videos, and computerized study disks for people interested in becoming licensed Amateur Radio operators. The easiest way to obtain there materials is to arrange to pick them up at either the weekly luncheons at the Safeway deli table area, or by calling Sam Smith at 780-6676. The manuals are for sale at $19.
How are Exams scheduled and managed?
The FCC delegated to the responsibility for Volunteer Examiners to prepare and administer license examinations in 1982. Local Volunteer Examiners (VE) are accredited by national organizations such as the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) and they have agreed to abide by FCC regulations. VE’s host exams in Juneau monthly if anyone pre-registers their request for an exam.
How is using ham radio any better than cell phones for local communications?
Ham radio, assisted by our repeater network, covers areas not provided by cell phones. Ham radio is more versatile, and has almost free access