Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the Greater Houston Simplex Network (GHSN) needed? Doesn't ARES already serve the purpose?

    Please see this link.

  2. Why do you use NetLogger if the GHSN is intended for emergency use when the internet will probably not be available?

    Please see this link.

  3. Ham radio sounds great considering the hurricanes and other emergencies we experience in Houston. I'm not a ham, but how do I become one?

    You get a ham radio license by passing a test. Don't worry, no Morse Code is required. Passing the tests is easy, because each test is multiple choice, and the pool of questions and answers is published in advance. All you have to do is memorize the answers. It doesn't get easier than that.

    Below are several ham radio clubs that we believe are offering ham radio licensing tests in the Houston area during the pandemic; however, there may be others. Please contact them for their testing schedules:
    In addition, the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) has a look-up page for both in-person tests near you as well as online tests:
    There are three types of ham radio licenses.
    • Technician License: This basic license gives you operating privileges (i.e., transmit and receive) on the VHF and UHF frequencies (aka "bands"). VHF and UHF radio communications are line-of-sight and are assisted by "repeaters" (similar to cellphone towers) that extend your range. VHF and UHF are usually used for local communications in your area or metropolitan area. This Technician license will allow you to participate in GHSN's VHF simplex nets, assuming you have access to radio equipment!
    • General License: This intermediate-level license gives you everything you get from the Technician license, plus operating privileges on the HF frequencies. HF frequencies bounce off the atmosphere and earth, so signals can propagate hundreds or thousands of miles, if you have the right equipment. When you hear about hams talking to people across the country or on another continent, they're using HF frequencies.
    • Amateur Extra License: This advanced license give you everything you get from the General license, plus operating privileges on wider bands on the HF frequencies.

    For detailed information on getting licensed, please see these two links from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League):