Get licensed as an amateur ham radio operator, get a dual band radio

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The Livingston County Amateur Radio Klub wants to help new amateurs get licensed. Over the next few months LARK will be giving away a new dual band radio to anyone who successfully passes the licensing exam. The incentive is being offered as a way to draw new people to the amateur radio hobby, also known as Ham Radio. Les Butler, technical director of LARK, said with a little study and a little time, anyone can get licensed and soon be talking to other amateurs around the world. Testing is offered on the second Tuesday of every month free of charge at the Emergency Operations Center in Howell.

“Being an amateur radio operator is a fun and a very rewarding hobby,” Butler said. “With an Amateur Technician Class license, issued by the FCC, you can enjoy clear 2-way FM communications using what are known as repeaters, in some cases hundreds of miles away. You can even talk to astronauts on the International Space Station.”

An exam is required in order to become a licensed amateur; licensing can take as little as a few weeks. The test itself takes little time, but it’s suggested that you use practice exams to study ahead of time, before taking the test at an evening testing session. There are a few websites with downloads of sample exams including www.ncvec.org/downloads/2006tech.pdf, or visit the LARK website at www.w8lrk.org and click on “Become A HAM.” Take the practice test as many times as you need to in order to be ready for one of the upcoming testing sessions. Butler said a score of 80 percent or higher on the practice tests means you’re ready to take the 35-question test.

The key to passing the licensing exam is to highlight the correct answers on the practice test, then read the question and the highlighted answer. Butler said not to memorize the questions in order – they change each time. He said it’s important to keep trying, even if you don’t pass the first time, and ask questions. Ham radio operators in the LARK are always willing to help.

The free radio incentive is only available to Livingston County residents until Dec. 31st. To learn more details about this program, Amateur Radio, and the Livingston Amateur Radio Klub, visit www.w8lrk.org.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.