The Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio Club or OSCAR was our focus on AM 1390's Talk of the Town on Tuesday. You're invited to the McKinley School in Owatonna this weekend to learn more. Setup will be 8-12pm on Saturday with continuous broadcasting from 1pm Saturday until 1pm Sunday. Around 37,000 worldwide took part in last years exercise.

To be an amateur radio operator you need to get a license. There are three levels starting with Tech, then a General license and finally an Extra license. The higher up the license the more privileges you have. You no longer need to know Morse code to be a Ham. This change took effect in 2007. Amateur license classes are offered each February and run for 6 weeks.

In regards to prices you can get a radio for as little as around $20. A decent hand held can be had for around $50-$60. Of course you can go all out for a far more expensive unit should you choose.

As an amateur radio operator you may called out for assistance during times of potential disaster or danger. One important thing to note is that cell phones, the internet and others are dependent on infrastructure. Amateur radios are not dependent on infrastructure, making them the most reliable means of communication during times of emergency.

OSCAR meets in the back of The Kitchen in downtown Owatonna the second Saturday of each month. You're invited to stop by to learn more.

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