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cowley about almost 2 years ago


Hillsborough County Amateur Radio Emergency Services and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service - ARES/RACES - in partnership with WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio, are proud to sponsor two amateur radio courses - those classes were scheduled to be held at WMNF, but there's been so much great response that the class has had to move to the Hillsborough County EOC. That's the Emergency Operations Center, located at 2711 E. Hanna Ave. in Tampa 33610 - about 5 minutes from the radio station.

If you're a ham radio operator, you can talk to people nearby and across the world - and you'll be able to communicate if bad weather takes down normal telephone, cell phone and internet services. The good folk from our local ARES/RACES group will help you learn what you need to know to pass the test and get your own amateur license and call sign.

With a ham license, you can learn to help out in your local community during emergencies. It's ham operators who can get trained to provide backup communications for local fire, ambulance, police and hospitals in an emergency. That's what ARES/RACES does - they even have an office at the Hillsborough Emergency Operations Center or EOC. Bay Area ham operators travel where there's trouble, to help coordinate rescue efforts - volunteers from Tampa Bay drove to Louisiana to assist after Hurricane Katrina.

And if you're interested in how-to projects and electronics, ham operators know more about the mechanics of radio broadcasting than most folk - just ask, and you'll find a radio expert.

You can sign up for the introductory Technician Class License Course or upgrade to the more advanced General Class License, in a traditional classroom setting. Both courses will be held on two Saturdays - August 10 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Testing will take place at the end of the second Saturday class.

Classes will meet at The Hillsborough Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, located at 2711 East Hanna Ave. in Tampa, 33610.

The classes are free, and the instructors are dedicated volunteers. The cost to take the qualifying national test is $14, and there's a refundable deposit of $20 for your class materials. Please bring a picture ID card with you.

Class size is limited - you can reserve a space by emailing Classes are open to all age groups - interested kids are welcome.

You can find out more about Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications in Hillsborough County at

We're also lucky to have a very active branch of the Community Emergency Response Team in our area. CERT volunteers are trained to help their neighborhood in times of emergency. CERT members can also serve as first responders to an emergency until professional help arrive.

You can find a CERT group near you at

Tampa's Amateur Radio Club is very active. And there are amateur radio groups all over West Central Florida, if you're not near Tampa and would like to find a class.

Thanks much.

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