Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ham heard from

A. J., I prefer the term, "ham", since the term "amateur" denotes someone doesn't know what he or she is doing....

Ham radio has been "dumbed down" in my opinion, as of late, but it still takes a lot of skill, knowledge and study to achieve licensure. Not only that, but hams all over this world drill themselves through emergency "nets" or networks every week, testing their equipment and their readiness, in case disaster strikes. In fact, when Hurricane Katrina hit ground zero at Waveland, MS (the media says New Orleans, but ask folks at the National Weather Service and who live here on the Gulf Coast!), there was NOTHING left...and the Georgia Baptist Society came to the rescue, bringing ham radio with them. Many operators put their lives and jobs on hold for as long as six months, until communications were restored along the coast...for FREE. These people, and people like them, are professionals in every sense of the word, nothing amateurish about them at all, and hams work during ALL sorts of disasters, not to speak of many non-disaster-related events.

This is NOT Citizen's Band radio, like some people think- we are federally-licensed and tested for the hobby we love and we love to give back, freely.

The slogan is, "When all else fails, ham radio!" Bud Stacey, KC4HGH, Extra Class ham, near Mobile, AL

Thanks Bud for a great comment, but what did you think of the video?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BTW, A. J., the video was great! Sometimes, today, there are even those discourteous operators (we hams call them "lids") who find sport in interfereing with those who are conducting nets, both practice and real-time. These "lids" are often sought out, prosecuted and sometimes incarcerated. Unfortunately, these are the ones the public hears about, often not of the real heros, those who actually come to the aid of others...and the public paints us with the same broad brush.

Real drama can STILL be heard on some ham bands, and operators from far-away lands are heard daily. There is still a romance in ham radio, even though the age has brought us instant satisfaction with cell phones, Internet and texting...but there's something about being off in a corner, talking with someone (or listening to others talk) between far countries, getting the REAL info on what it's like "over there", etc.; there's nothing like kicking on that old tube radio, kill all the lights in the house and tune around, listening for who-knows-where.

Also, if you happen to hear a ham operating, you can get a verification from him (we call them QSL cards) by sending them a letter, explain to the operator that your a shortwave listener (which you are, since you're listening in that band spectrum!), give the operator times, date(s) frequencies and some details and include a self-addressed stamped envelope if within the U.S.A., or a couple of dollars if outside the country, and they will usually surprise you with a nice card and sometimes other little trinkets! If you hear someone interesting, write down their callsign and go to and put it in the search box in the upper left-hand corner, then hit "search"'ll give you their mailing address and possibly a bio on that person, as well.

Yes, the video was right on the mark, A. J.; there are still those out there that give of their time, talents and equipment to help others in need, in so many ways too numerous to mention, a little "theater for the mind", if one can tear themselves away from the TV...and "they" say ham radio has no place in this world! Bud Stacey, Extra Class ham KC4HGH, near Mobile, AL