Amateur Radio at HOPE

The Amateur Radio community--commonly called ham radio--is one of the oldest telecommunications hacking communities on planet Earth. "Wireless" hobbyists began hacking the radio spectrum in the early 1900's with crude but effective electrical apparatuses and antennas, and they've been advancing the radio art ever since. Many hams were at the forefront of the development of radio and television, mobile phones, wireless networking, and other "wireless" things we all take for granted. Radio hams love to hack new radio technologies.

Despite the advent of easy communications with mobile phones and the Internet, there's more hams on Earth today than ever before, communicating wirelessly with other hams around the world (and on the International Space Station) using cool equipment and antennas in various voice, data, and television modes. They do it without phones, phone lines, or the internet--often with no telecommunications infrastructure between them--and without having to use a telco or ISP.

Why bother? Because it's fun and amazing to use science and technology to hack the radio spectrum for free global communications without relying on networks owned by telecommunications corporations. And because telcos and ISP's aren't reliable--especially when you need them most in disasters and other emergencies. Hams practice providing critical communications for such situations. Backups aren't just for data.

HOPE honors this tradition with a variety of Amateur Radio activities for existing hams and for folks who want to explore it. You can leave HOPE with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Amateur Radio license. Just attend the Pre-Exam Review Session for the FCC Technician Class License, and take the exam at 1:00pm Sunday. It's not very difficult--you can do it! And you can get on the air for less than $30 with an inexpensive dual-band handie talkie.

Here's a list of amateur radio activities at HOPE:

Amateur Radio Special Event Station W2H and 70cm Repeater

If you’re an amateur “ham” radio operator, you’re part of a hacker community that goes back over a century. Bring your handie-talkie to QSO with the many hams at HOPE to keep up with what’s happening. Visit Special Event Station W2H and operate on several HF/VHF/UHF bands in various voice and data modes to freely communicate with hams around the globe - sans telecom infrastructure! Our 70cm repeater input is 442.875 MHz (PL 167.9) and the output is 447.875 MHz which W2H operators will be monitoring. We also encourage simplex ops on 147.545 MHz and 433.545 MHz (PL 77.0).
More details at

(direct link)

Friday through Sunday - 18th Floor (next to the 2600 store)

Amateur Radio Pre-Exam Review Session for the FCC Technician Class License

David Cripe, NM0S, Jim Fisher, AJ3DI

This one-hour preview of the actual questions in the FCC entry-level ham radio exam will help you prepare for and pass the test on Sunday at 1300. Anyone can take and pass this simple exam and join a century-old global community of hackers who freely use radio technology to communicate by voice and data wirelessly, without ISPs or telcos, under almost any conditions. A basic knowledge of electronics and a laptop are helpful, but not essential.

(direct link)

Friday 1200-1300 Paris

Amateur Radio FCC License Exam

Presenters: Volunteer Examiners from W3VC - The Carnegie Tech Radio Club

Earn your ham radio license at HOPE and get on the air! It’s way easier (and cheaper) than you think to join this global telecom hacking community. You can upgrade your license all the way up to "extra class." There is a $15 exam fee and two forms of positive ID are required. (If upgrading, bring originals of all valid licenses and CSCEs.)

(direct link)

Sunday 1300-1500 Paris, Budapest

Amateur Radio Using Digital Modes

Joe Cupano, NE2Z

This workshop introduces hams to digital mode communications using a laptop, free open source software, and about $70 in radio hardware. Attendees should have an FCC-issued amateur radio operator license and have purchased the requisite hardware published on the Circle of HOPE website description of this workshop. We’ll have a couple of extra sets of radio equipment for use by existing hams, or by prospective hams under the supervision of a licensed operator. More info and required hardware can be found at

(direct link)

Saturday 1000-1200 Hardware Hacking Village (Mezzanine)