Editors Note: This was an older article written in 2009.
By: Mark Leck, W7UAR
Imagine if the only time that you could pray to Heavenly Father was when things were going well. If life was good, then you were able to open a dialog with diety, and seek whatever guidance you wanted. However, if you got into a bind, and there was a real emergency, imagine if you couldn’t pray?!?! What an awful thought! That if when you were in trouble, and really needed to talk with Heavenly Father, the lines of communication through prayer just didn’t work.
Well, fortunately, this isn’t true!
However, in real life emergencies, normal forms of communication do go down. Cellular phones and land lines stop working, and what do you do then? Listening to the AM/FM radio is better than nothing, but it’s still only one-way communication – and definitely not as helpful as being able to talk to someone. Amateur Radio is a practical solution for this problem, and is the solution the Church has endorsed for use by its members, wards, stakes, and in general. It is almost unparalleled in its ability to provide communications under emergency situations, is cost effective, and has relatively few barriers to entry.
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that becoming an Amateur Radio operator takes an extensive knowledge of electronics/computers, costs a lot of money, or requires some extra ordinary intelligence. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Becoming an Amateur Radio operator requires little more than an interest in the hobby and the willingness to study for a basic exam. Frequently, many people interested in the hobby attend a 1 day workshop that goes from A to Z about the hobby, and then provides them with an opportunity to take the licensing test immediately after (yes, you do have to pass a licensing exam to become an Amateur Radio operator). This is actually how I got my license when I was 12 years old, and my younger brother did it at 11.
The benefits of the hobby are extensive, but really just depend on why you became interested. If all you want your license for is the reassurance of the ability to communicate in emergency situations, this peace of mind will provide a wonderful â€œsleep at night??? type feeling. However, if you are willing to explore the hobby, you will find an incredible community of people dedicated to serving their communities and each other. You’ll also find people who love to â€œtinker??? and explored new technologies and better ways to communicate. Needless to say, I?ve never met a single individual who has ever regretted the time they spent to get their Amateur Radio license.
So, what do you need to do to become an Amateur? Well, I’m going to get that information ready for another webpage. In the mean time, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our ward and stake has been trying to put together a class for those interested in becoming a “Ham”, and I will try to get this information up as soon as possible.