McKean County Department of Emergency Services to Offer Ham Radio Licensing Courses

McKean County Department of Emergency Services to Offer Ham Radio Licensing Courses

Carole and Steve McNall of Olean relax at home with their ham radio equipment.Credits: Richard Lee

“Ham radio operators are saving Puerto Rico,” says CNN.

“Ham operators deliver messages from Maria-battered Puerto Rico,” adds Newsday.

If you thought ham radio was merely a relic from the past, those headlines from hurricane season 2017 may make you think again.

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And if the idea of being able to help in a disaster intrigues you — or you just think it would be fun to talk to people all over the world — the McKean County Department of Emergency Services EMCOMM Team is offering classes to help you get an amateur license and get on the air.

A six-session course leading to the technician license, the lowest amateur class, will be held Saturdays from Jan. 6 to Feb. 10, 2018. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all except the Feb. 10 session, which will be a review from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and testing immediately afterward. All classes will be held at the McKean County EMA/911 building, 17175 Route 6, Smethport.

The course is free. Registration is required so instructors can have textbooks available on time. Registration deadline for the technician class is Dec. 22.

For those who want to move forward with ham radio, the team will also be offering a general license course, starting Feb. 24 and continuing through April 7. Those classes again will be offered on Saturdays. Class times will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for April 7, which is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by testing.

Again, registration is required. The deadline to register for the general license course will be Feb. 14. That course is also free.

Testing for both courses will be done by Laurel VEC. No fee will be charged for testing.

To register or for additional information, contact Bruce Manning at