The American Radio Relay League has a group of volunteer examiners in Lincoln County that is seeking residents interested in obtaining a Federal Communications Commission amateur radio operators license. Our local hams offer their wisdom and expertise on the subject.

Operator Chuck Reifsnyder gave information pertaining to ham radio conductors and how they operate on a different kind of wavelength. For operations in the past, adequate knowledge of Morse code was required and many people found that intimidating.

“There was difficulty in learning how to send and receive Morse code and, based on your license level, you had to be more proficient in Morse code,” he said.

Although Morse code is still in use, it is not a requirement to obtain a license. Reifsnyder said that sufficient knowledge of basic electronics, radio theory and operating practices are all that are required to be a licensed amateur radio operator.

Basic electronics knowledge includes understanding transistors and other radio parts and symbols you might come across.

Radio theory includes learning how a radio works, different radio waves and atmospheric conditions that affect the way wavelengths travel.

Operating practices include how to use a radio, different modes of communications, and whether you are going through satellite repeaters or direct connections.

The importance of ham operation capabilities is immense as it provides technology and knowledge that can reach people locally and worldwide, and will be valuable “not only in the event of a natural disaster but anything that will cause a loss of communication ability in the county,” Reifsnyder said.

Such was the case a few years ago when Coyote Springs was being developed. The fiber-optics cable was cut and no one was able to make calls with their cellphones or land lines.

“Ham operators were the only ones available to communicate. Anytime there’s a break down in the communications infrastructure, they call on amateur ham operators for communication,” Reifsnyder said.

Recently, a repeater was installed on top of Treasure Hill in Pioche with the help of Nevada Amateur Radio Repeaters Inc., Pioche Fire District and the sheriff’s office, he added.

If there are enough people interested in obtaining a license, local exams can be scheduled for a technician class, which includes 35 questions; a general class, also 35 questions; and an extra class that contains 50 questions. The ham radio operators suggest starting with the technician class, but say the three classes can be taken, in order, and that some people have even passed them all in one day.

The Meadow Valley volunteers are eager to help anyone interested and hope to generate interest on the subject.

Information on the testing material is available online,, or you can speak with local volunteer examiners who are willing to help.

Classes are anticipated to be held later this month or in February.


Source: - Rachel Williford

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