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Serve Your Community by Becoming an Amateur (Ham) Radio Operator

Volunteers may use amateur radio lawfully only if they have a valid FCC Amateur Radio license (Technician, General or Extra). 

Taking the exam is inexpensive (generally, it is a fee of $15); but, most people need to study for the exam in order to successfully pass it. A helpful overview of the process is described here:

  • Take a classroom exam preparation class: Amateur radio clubs throughout the metro area periodically offer exam classes free of charge (though you must still pay $15 to take the exam). The time commitment for classes will run anywhere between 6 to 24 hours, and schedules vary. Please click here for a current list of clubs and organizations in the Portland metro area that offer training and exam sessions.  Often (though not always), students have an opportunity to take the exam immediately following a class.
  • Use online resources to prepare: the internet makes many exam study resources available, including online videos and practice exams. We recommend in particular:
    The Ham Whisperer: Online video-based lessons to help you prepare to become a radio technician. Probably the easiest and most hassle-free sample exam resource; no sign ups, no page navigation...just get in there and go. Free resources and lessons for exam prep, including sample exams.
  • Borrow or purchase an exam textbook for study: The national association for amateur radio (American Radio Relay League or ARRL) offers a print textbook at their website store. Volunteers may find new textbooks to be expensive. However, used (and reduced price) copies are easy to find through online booksellers. You can also check them out from Clackamas County libraries.  Exam questions change from time to time.  Be sure to obtain a textbook that is valid for the timeframe that you intend to take your exam.

You are invited to come to the Estacada Fire main station to visit and operate the ham radio station by appointment.  Please fill out the form below if you want more information about amatuer radio or the systems operated at our Emergency Operations Center.

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