By John Levo

For the past two weeks, the news channels and social media have been filled with the reports of weather related emergencies throughout the United States. Snow and freezing temperatures have played havoc with the power grid, communications and water supplies throughout Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and other southern states with deadly tornados spawned in Alabama. Even our own Ohio Valley was hit with the largest measure of snow since 2010.

These recent events, plus the remembrance of the deadly wild fires in our Western States and the flooding in the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska during the past two years, have caused individuals to contact members of the Highland Amateur Radio Association to learn more about how the amateur radio service can be a benefit, and perhaps a life saver, during such a weather related emergency when infrastructure and communications either fail or are destroyed.

As a response to the increased number of inquiries, the local club will conduct an informational meeting regarding amateur radio and the steps to obtain a license authorizing the use of federally assigned radio frequencies. This informational meeting will be held on March 14 at the Highland County Emergency Operations Agency, North High Street, Hillsboro at 2 p.m.

Based on sufficient interest shown by those attending the informational meeting, a class to work toward the entry level Technician Amateur Radio License may be formed. Such a class will start on March 21 and continue weekly through April 11. The Club’s team of Volunteer Examiners will then conduct a Federal Communication Commission license examination on April 17 with those passing receiving their call signs within a few days. All classes and testing will be conducted at the County EOC. The class will be limited to 15 students in order to comply with suggested COVID prevention cautions.

Those wishing to attend or obtain more information about the informational session or possible class should contact Club President Pat Hagen at (937) 218-6289 or Club Information Officer John Levo at (937) 393-4951. There is no charge to attend the informational session or to participate in the class; however class students will be required to obtain an American Radio Relay League Technician License Manual either through the Club or other source. General information about amateur radio can be obtained by contacting Levo.

The Highland Amateur Radio was established in 1974 and currently has a membership of approximately 100 federally licensed amateur radio operators scattered throughout Highland County. The Club was honored last fall by the American Radio Relay League as one of the leading amateur radio clubs in the United States.