What is Ham Radio

Amateur Radio, also called “ham radio”, is a popular hobby and a service that brings people, electronics and communication together. Ham radio operators talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the use of the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, it’s social, it’s educational. At times of need ham radio can be a lifeline.

You can set up a ham radio station anywhere! In a field, at a special event or club station, and at home, in the car, or while enjoying the outdoors.

OMARC is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League.  Founded in 1914, this national organization’s mission has been to serve the interests of all modern amateur radio enthusiasts.

The ARRL focuses on:

  • Supporting the awareness and growth of amateur radio worldwide;
  • Advocating for meaningful access to the radio spectrum;
  • Encouraging its members to get involved, to get active, and to get on the air.
  • Organizing and training volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications

To learn more visit the ARRL website.

How to Get Started

You’re interested in Amateur Radio, and want to get licensed, but don’t know where to start. OMARC can help. There are several paths you can take, but the most effective is to get in touch with our club community. By emailing OMARC through our website, or attending one of our public events or monthly meetings, you can network with our friendly, helpful, and encouraging members. We are here to help.

If you cannot attend an OMARC event, there are ways you can prepare for your licensing exam on your own. We suggest picking up a copy of the ARRL Technician class study guide. It is available at many bookstores, libraries, and online shopping sites, and will get you started. Make sure you get the latest edition. There is also a great YouTube video series by David Cassler, KE0OG, here: Many find it, and other online study guides extremely useful. Once you get familiar with the material, you will want to move into taking practice exams to see if you are ready for the official test. We suggest taking practice exams from at least two sources. There is an ARRL app for smart phones which is super convenient. Also look for practice tests on,,, and many others.

Once you feel ready to take the FCC licensing exam, you’ll need to find a Volunteer Examiner (VE) test session. These are organized and sponsored at a local level by Amateur Radio clubs like OMARC. You can use this link to find the exam session closest to you: Once you pass your exam, and your callsign appears in the FCC database, you can dial up your local repeater and say hello. We at OMARC look forward to meeting you on the air!


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OMARC History

The Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club pays tribute to Jean Marie Fox, the first holder of WA2MJM, the call sign now held by OMARC. Jean was born in Philadelphia, and grew up and lived in Kingston, NY. She graduated from Kingston High School in 1962 and the first class of Ulster County Community College in 1965. Jean lost her eyesight in 1965 due to juvenile diabetes. She was an overcomer and always had a positive outlook and great enthusiasm. She dealt with losing her eyesight with determination, and a what can I do next attitude. She first went to a school in Syracuse. Next she went to the Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, NJ and was trained to have a seeing eye dog. She came home from that experience with Happy, her dog.

In order to expand her horizons and communicate independently with the world when she couldn’t see, Jean obtained a ham radio license and was granted the call sign WA2MJM. She was helped by local IBMer hams who helped her study and then set up equipment. She made the most of her license communicating via CW and voice with other hams all over the world. Hams who knew her spoke of her popularity with soldiers on the air, and her dedication to relay messages between soldiers and their families.

Jean’s life was cut short on July 13, 1973 by complications from the diabetes. Her equipment was donated to Ulster County Community College where a ham radio station was setup and her call sign transferred to OMARC.

This webpage includes additional information about Jean and her many accomplishments. Here are some of Jean’s many accomplishments:

Graduated from Ulster County Community College in 1965,
Attended Seeing Eye, Inc. and learned to have a seeing eye dog.
Was awarded the first Rabbi Bloom award in 1966 for example in courage.
Earned a ham radio license with call sign of WA2MJM
Used her ham radio license to speak to people locally and all over the world.
Was a member of OMARC.
Had a radio contact with King Hussein of Jordan

Visit the OMARC Jean Fox site.