Ham Radio Prep comments on the value of amateur radio for STEM education

Published on 19th January 2021

By Chuck Gysi

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Legal amateur radio use offers STEM training for young people

By Chuck Gysi

SHERIDAN, Wyoming — Amateur radio is a valuable resource for the United States and its territories, serving as a training ground for young people and providing local and national communications assistance in the event of emergencies and communications network failures. The misuse of amateur radio is condoned because of the value of its spectrum to our nation.

The use of amateur radio systems, networks and frequencies for other than their intended purposes by licensed amateur radio operators undermines the value of the radio service in serving the public. 

In a news release issued by the Federal Communications Commission on Sunday, the agency said: “Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this (illegal) manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.”

Licensed amateur radio operators agree to uphold the law when they take to the airwaves as a matter of their ability to use valuable radio spectrum created for their sole use. Amateur radio is a welcoming place for those who wish to contribute to the art of radio science or the resource of ham radio.

Young people who become involved with ham radio activities engage in a variety of learning skills that assist them later in science, technical, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. By learning electronics theory, building communications networks or even building their own equipment, they learn valuable skills that assist them in the learning process later in life, especially as they study STEM topics or enter STEM careers.

Ham radio operators also perform public service with their own equipment and skills to assist with local, regional and national emergencies. Because amateur radio operators have built their own networks designed to function in backup mode, they often can communicate when regular communications such as cellular infrastructure or even public safety systems are knocked off the air. In situations like this, ham radio operators perform public service in conjunction with local, county, state and federal government agencies to ensure communications can reach in and out of affected areas.

When tornadoes ravage the Midwest, hurricanes pound the east coast or wildfires rip through the West, amateur radio networks ensure important messages get through when other systems and their infrastructures are knocked off the air from damage, overload and more.

There are more than 750,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States and its territories. Ham Radio Prep offers courses designed to teach people online the information they need to take exams that grant them Federal Communications Commission licenses for amateur radio. The courses also teach students how to be legal and safe on the airwaves, in accordance with FCC rules and regulations.

Ham Radio Prep was established in 2017 to assist people interested in obtaining an FCC-issued amateur radio license by offering courses for the FCC Technician, General and Extra class licenses. For more information about Ham Radio Prep, go to http://www.HamRadioPrep.com.