Pikes Peak ARES 
Member since Sep 16, 2017


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Re: “Communication is key to surviving a disaster

Very good article! Amateur radio is a great way to communicate during disasters. Here is some more on amateur "ham" radio:

Nationally, there are over 700,000 ham radio operators. There are over 18,000 amateur radio licenses in Colorado and about 3,000 in El Paso county (around 2,300 in Colorado Springs). Right now we have over 300 people on our Region 2, District 2, Colorado Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) roster for El Paso and Teller counties.

There are currently three classes of ham radio licenses, though some still hold a couple of the older classes. The current classes are Technician, General, and Extra. It is not uncommon to see 9 or 10 year olds getting Technician class licenses.

There are tests involved for these different levels of licenses. There are several people in the area who instruct what you need to know for these tests and several organizations which conduct testing. Between Colorado Springs, Monument, and Woodland Park there is a test session every month in the area.

On the subject of tests, let's clear up one common misconception -- you DO NOT need to know Morse Code (AKA CW) for any of the licenses.

Amateur radio does a lot more than just voice or Morse Code. We also have data modes and can send emails over the air, we have digital voice modes, and TV modes. We can talk around the city, extend our range to the rest of the state, around the country, and around the world. We have had our own satellites in orbit since 1961, just 4 years after the world's first satellite, Sputnik, was launched. We can talk via satellites, to the International Space Station, we can bounce our signals off the Moon, and even use meteors to bounces our transmissions.

People get into ham radio for many reasons including experimenting, contesting and competition (lots of different types of contests), recreation and just chatting (the oldest form of electronic social media), disaster readiness, and public service to list the big reasons.

Finally, amateur radio is NOT Citizens Band "CB" radio and it is not those walkie-talkies you see in many stores boasting a 25+ mile range and 22 channels -- those are Family Radio Service (FRS)/General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios. Pay close attention though, to use the higher power on those radios or to use some of those 22 channels, you need a $65 GMRS license -- something they only tell you in the fine print.

Anyone interested in more information about amateur radio is welcome to send inquiries to us at Pikes Peak ARES by email to pio(at)ppares.net .

We would love to hear from you!

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Pikes Peak ARES on 09/16/2017 at 6:52 PM

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