MANCHESTER — A class on Saturday, April 13, will provide fans of ham radio the instruction needed for the first license level.

“Ham radio, or amateur radio, allows people to communicate via radio over distances up to thousands of miles,” instructor Mitch Stern said in a news release. “The fun of amateur radio is reaching out and meeting new people from all over the community or all over the world who often have similar interests.”

Stern notes that conversations can easily take place among many participants, and there is no cost.

“Ham radio is invaluable in protecting people during disasters such as hurricanes when power, phones and internet will all go out,” Stern said.

“Ham radio forms a large community network, much like Facebook, but without having to share personal data,” he said.

Stern said there are more than 5,000 amateur operators in New Hampshire. The largest ham radio gathering in the Northeast takes place at the Deerfield Fairgrounds twice a year, with the next one set for May 3 and 4.

“Before anyone can transmit, they must receive an FCC license,” he said. “A test is given to prove that you understand rules and regulations, safety and basic electronics.”

The class costs $149 and will cover the topics needed to take a technician class amateur exam, which will be given at the end of class. For an additional fee, students can continue upgrading with a course the next day. Demonstrations of amateur radio operation will be shown throughout the day.

The class, which is open to anyone in New Hampshire, will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Manchester Red Cross Blood Center, 425 Reservoir Ave. Preregistration is required. To sign or for information, call Stern at (800) 639-1766, email W1SJ@arrl.net or visit www.hamclass.net.