BECOME AN AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR
What is Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio (HAM Radio) is a very popular hobby and service that unites people, electronics, and communication. People use ham radio to communicate across towns, around the world, and even through outer space, all without the use of the Internet or smartphones. It is fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during emergencies.
You can set up a ham radio station anywhere. In a field, at your school, in your barangay, and at your own home. Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology, operating principles, passed radio operator examination conducted by the NTC, and obtained a license to operate on radio frequencies known as the Amateur Bands. These bands are radio frequencies allocated by the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) for use by amateur radio operators.
How do I become an Amateur Radio Operator?
So, you would like to become an Amateur Radio Operator?
It’s not difficult to do. Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams,” are licensed by governments around the world to use specific ranges of radio frequencies. The entry-level license in the Philippines, the Foundation class, is all that is necessary for local routine and emergency communications. To obtain this license, you need only pass a multiple-choice written licensing exam for which all the possible questions and their answers are public information. You need to be a citizen of the Philippines or a citizen of other countries that provide the same privilege extended to Filipino nationals in their country as far as amateur radio examination is concerned. You need to be at least twelve (12) years old for Classes A, B, and C. For Class D the minimum age shall be nine (9) years old. Provided that you have an Affidavit of Parental Consent. Able to transmit and/or receive messages either in Filipino, English, or any of the Philippine dialects. If you are taking the amateur radio examination for the first time, you must show proof that you have attended an amateur radio orientation seminar conducted by an amateur radio club duly accredited by the NTC on the following topics:
a. Amateur Radio Rules and Regulations
b. Electrical and Electronics principles and concepts
c. Amateur Radio Practice
Radio Engineering Circle frequently conducts this kind of seminars/webinars.
Preparing for your Exam
There are many ways to prepare to pass this simple Amateur Radio examination. Choose the combination that works best for you:
- Read a book
You can obtain a review book (some are available as PDF files or as e-books) and study on your own. Options include:
Take an online class
You can take an online review course and study at your own pace. Options include:
Take online practice exams
In support of any of the above preparation methods, you can also take free online practice exams that include all of the actual questions you can possibly be asked. Options include:
Taking the licensing exam
You must sit for the licensing exam in person. Licensing exam sessions are managed by NTC Examiners. To find upcoming exams in your area or anywhere in the Philippines, you can browse through the NTC Website.
Once You Are Licensed
Once you pass the exam and you get your assigned call sign, you’ll be a licensed Amateur Radio operator! But you won’t necessarily know everything you need to know to operate skillfully and courteously, or to get the most out of your accomplishment. Listening to more-experienced hams is very good advice, but don’t choose a careless or ill-trained operator as your role model.
Though there is no requirement that you own a ham radio, you probably will want to buy one – many new handhelds that sell for around Php 1,000, so you can participate in ham radio when and where you wish.(Authorized NTC Dealers/Resellers/Manufacturers) You may also find that you enjoy ham radio for reasons that go well beyond what you had in mind when you started.
For advice on all aspects of being a ham, join a local ham radio club, Join REC!
Enjoy the challenges and successes of being a licensed Amateur Radio operator!