Over the last few months, the PRA has expanding its teaching and learning focus. Past our monthly Elmer Nights, we have been holding weekend sessions dedicated to the very basics of amateur radio. No doubt, amateur radio is a buffet of opportunities in technology and sometimes, it is difficult to really get a good grasp of where to start. As someone that has been licensed for 32 years, I’ll let you in on a little secret…to get the most out of amateur radio, the learning never stops.
While obtaining an amateur radio license is a significant achievement, the importance of ongoing education and learning cannot be overstated. Continuous learning not only enhances the enjoyment of the hobby but also contributes to the safety, proficiency, and overall growth of amateur radio enthusiasts. A great example of continuous learning enthusiasm comes from one of our members, Kelly-KA7IMA. Kelly is a relatively new ham that tested and got her Extra in May of 2023. Along with her husband Craig, they immersed themselves not only into learning about ham radio, they learned by doing AND being encouraged to try new things. Want to know Kelly and Craig’s secret…ask questions, lots of them, and surround yourself with people that encourage you to ask every question you can think of asking. Those that you surround yourself with will be a key element to your enjoyment in amateur radio.
One of the more difficult aspects of amateur radio is the desire to learn Morse Code (CW). Here is a video of Kelly doing her very first Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation by CW! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th4jqdA_R8Q
One of the primary reasons for ongoing education in amateur radio is the rapid evolution of technology. Advancements in radio equipment, communication protocols, and digital modes are constant. Staying abreast of these changes ensures that amateur radio operators can maximize the potential of their equipment and stay connected in an ever-changing landscape. The PRA is in-tune with these developments not only because of our educational seminars, but our passion and desire to being at the forefront of these learning and teaching opportunities.
As we are well aware, amateur radio is subject to regulations and licensing requirements imposed by government authorities. Ongoing education helps operators stay informed about any changes in these regulations, ensuring compliance and responsible operation. This knowledge is crucial for maintaining the privileges associated with different license classes and understanding the legal aspects of operating on the airwaves. Sometimes, mastering the basics in operating is as important as passing the exam…ever forget to identify as you sign-off from a repeater or QSO?
Amateur radio operators often play a critical role in emergency communication during disasters or crises. Ongoing education in emergency protocols, procedures, and technologies is vital for amateurs to be effective in providing communication support during challenging situations. Continuous learning contributes to a higher level of preparedness, allowing operators to respond swiftly and efficiently when their skills are needed the most. Our PRA Preparedness team is doing amazing work in setting some standard protocols and organizing on-the-air activities. All of this, in an effort, to put what is learned to practical use.
Amateur radio is a diverse hobby that encompasses various aspects, such as DXing (long-distance communication), contesting, digital modes, satellite communication, and more. Engaging in ongoing education allows operators to explore and master different facets of amateur radio, expanding their skill sets and diversifying their experiences within the hobby. Learning is not limited to individual growth; it fosters a sense of community among amateur radio enthusiasts. Participating in PRA educational events, workshops, and training sessions provides opportunities for our members to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and build a network of like-minded individuals. This collaborative environment contributes to the overall strength and vibrancy of the amateur radio community. Obviously, the investment of time and talent is producing treasures for our entire organization.
In the world of amateur radio, ongoing education is not just a choice; it is a necessity. Embracing a commitment to continuous learning ensures that operators are well-equipped to navigate the dynamic landscape of technology, regulations, and emergency scenarios. By investing time and effort in education, ham radio enthusiasts contribute not only to their personal development but also to the resilience and effectiveness of the entire amateur radio community.
Dan – N2SRK
Parker Radio Association