Amateur radio group to offer free class

HARRISVILLE – People interested in obtaining an amateur radio operating licence have four weeks to study for an upcoming class and Federal Communications Commission exam session, an organizer said Tuesday.

The advance preparation will come in handy for registered students who show up for the day-long FCC technician level amateur radio class at 9 a.m., March 29, Stan Darmofal, Alcona County Emergency Coordinator and radio office, said.

The free class is offered by the Alcona County Amateur Radio Group and will be held at 2600 East M-72, west of Harrisville. The examination follows at 5 p.m., and costs $15, he said.

Darmofal said Ham radio operators remain an important part of Alcona County’s communications system, especially during power outages because they can cripple cell phone and Internet communications.

When notified, a roster of 50 licensed volunteers link up to create a communications network with Alcona County’s 911 Dispatch system. They also convey emergency notifications to schools, parks and nursing homes, report dangerous weather conditions to the National Weather Service, supplement search and rescue communications, and cover special events, he said.

To prepare for the class, Darmofal has copies available of the “Ham Radio License Manual, 2nd Edition,” by the American Radio Relay League for $22.50. The packet includes a CD copy of the exam.

Materials also can be ordered online, he said.

Darmofal has been involved with Ham radios for more than 50 years and provided tips for the best success:

* don’t buy any equipment until you see various Ham radios demonstrated in class.

* read the material in the order as it appears on the class syllabus and do the study questions.

* if you have problems understanding a question, review the specific material referenced below the question’s answer.

* if you still don’t understand, write down your questions and have the instructor clarify the information. Chances are other students have the same question.

* don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand technical and mathematical material immediately. In-class videos, hands-on demonstrations and fun projects help you learn.

To register, call 724-5550 or email him at Or visit

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.