Community Amateur Radio Technician Class to be Offered in Smethport

Smethport Web — by McKean County

The McKean County Emergency Management Agency EMCOMM team will offer a five-day community amateur radio technician class.

The course is being offered free to anyone interested in getting involved in amateur radio.

The team is offering a five-day class to assist in providing interested parties the opportunity to gain their entry into the hobby of amateur radio.

While the course itself is free, participants must purchase the textbook, which will be about $20, depending on the number of textbooks the team needs to purchase. The test will be administered by Laurel VEC; there is no fee for testing.

Class will be held from 9 to 4 p.m. Saturdays from Jan. 21-Feb. 25. A review and test will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 4. The course will take place at the McKean County EMA/911 Center at 17175 U.S. Route 6, Smethport.

To register, contact Bruce A. Manning at As the class is limited to 25 people and books need to be ordered, RSVP is required. The registration deadline is Dec. 28.

The class will use the W5YI Ham Radio License course.

Amateur radio operators come from all walks of life, from many different professions, to create what is known as the largest and most diverse group with many specialty backgrounds. Amateur radio is not only a hobby but it also provides direct public service to the community by serving the community’s Emergency Management Agency, public safety communities as well as hospitals and the National Weather Service, to name a few.

They also provide direct support to state government and non-governmental agencies, as well as federal agencies like the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. The biggest draw for many is being able to offer support to neighbors when power goes out or when disaster strikes.

Amateur radio is the best communication for times “when all else fails” because it doesn’t rely on commercial infrastructure to make it work. Amateur radio can provide communication when the power goes out, cell towers fail and the Internet stops working.

Anyone who wants to learn to help the community, to communicate off the grid, or to communicate “when all else fails” is invited to attend the course.