Hey, Preppers: Ham Radio Requires a License (Whether your magazine says so or not)


Big Island ARRL News, 29 May 2017, 23:10 hrs, UTC, Post #207.


Author:  David Coursey (N5FDL) (N5FDL Amateur Radio-Ham Radio & Emergency Communications).

Accessed on 29 May 2017, 23:20 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full article.


David Coursey (N5FDL) runs an fascinating blog for Southern California’s Amateur Radio community.  In this post, David discusses emergency communications among the “prepper” or “survivalist” community. While he says the communications goals of these groups are praiseworthy, they may be using Amateur Radio and GMRS equipment illegally, since these transceivers require a FCC license.

David faults the “American Survival Guide’s Gear Guide” as promoting an illegal use of both GMRS and Amateur Radio spectrum:

“My concern is the magazine shows several pieces of amateur gear — Yaesu and Icom — as well as some GMRS radios, but never mentions the requirement for operators to be licensed. Or if it did, I totally missed it.”

“I understand that in a prepper nirvana scenario nobody will be paying much attention to legalities, but until then, operating on amateuir frequencies sans license is a good way to meet the local ham community under unfortunate circumstances.”

“Likewise, GMRS, a service whose rules are now in discussion following a major rewrite, also requires a license. No test, but it costs $80 and is good for you and all your relatives.”

On my home island (Island of Hawaii), I’ve run into a few dedicated pig and sheep hunters who use Amateur Radio and GMRS hand held VHF transceivers without having the required license.  I always advise them to protect themselves and the public by getting the required FCC licenses.  For those not wanting a ham license, I suggest applying for the GMRS license.

Don’t forget the 2017 ARRL Field Day Event on 24-25 June 2017.  Hawaii Island radio amateurs will meet at the Eden Roc park and community pavilion, beginning at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, 24 June.  Field Day runs until 8:00 a.m., Sunday, 25 June.

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Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section