A small group of amateur radio students looked to join the international airwaves yesterday in Swift Current.

Five students wrote their amateur radio license exams yesterday, with the majority of them passing with the required 70 per cent.

Ray Gowan, the instructor of the 12-week course, said four of the five passed the test, but some will be restricted and some will have more freedom.

"Two of the students have full privileges to use all of the amateur radio bands for worldwide type communications," he said. "Two are limited to VHF frequencies that are a shorter range."

It's a little easier now to obtain the license according to Gowan who recalled 20 plus years ago when he had to write 15 words a minute using Morse code to pass.

Gowen noted ham radio is a versatile and interesting hobby that offers several different areas to go into.

"There are people that use computers to network on the air if that's your interest," he said. "Some people talk with Morse code with their fingers. There are people that like using the VHF to use around the city with a walkie-talkie or a radio in your vehicle."

The hobby provides people with practice in case of an extreme emergency that includes all wireless communication failing.

"If it ever comes up we're all capable of getting on the air and trying to provide communications if necessary," Gowan explained. "Otherwise just to have fun and met people on the air."

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