HAMing It Up

Many moons ago (a few over 200 to be more exact), I had a teacher who was big-time into HAM radio. I was pretty interested in it from the few times I saw him using one and started studying what it would take to become a HAM operator too. I even soldered together my own morse key to practice morse code. That bit, however, was my undoing.

At the time there were 5 classes of HAM license. Each level required that you pass both a written and a morse test. If you couldn't pass that level's morse test, you could pass the next two classes of written test to get a license. Given the amount of physics questions on those tests, a 10-year-old had pretty much no chance of getting a license without some serious drive and a lot of studying.

Nowadays, they don't require morse to get a HAM license. Now that the hard part was out of the way, I jumped at the chance to take a class on HAM radio once one was offered in our ward. The idea is that they'd like more HAM operators in the stake in case of emergencies. Apparently the church operates a vast network of HAM stations at bishop's storehouses and the like in just such cases and most LDS HAMs will talk to them about once or twice a month, just in case.

What I'm excited for are the things you can do with more advanced licenses. Apparently there are operators that broadcast television over amateur radio as well as use HAM as a way to link computers to the Internet. There's even a dedicated set of homebrew enthusiasts who build their own radios. To me, that sounds like awesome.

Are there any HAMs out there that I don't know about? I'm gonna need someone to talk to in a few months.

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4 Responses

  1. Vanessa says:

    heres a little known geek fact about me.

    I’ve had my HAM license since I was 15. Now, I don’t have a radio, or access to one any longer, but I have kept up the renewal of my license.

  2. Notaturkeybone says:

    My parents are big-time into HAM. A couple times a month they will participate in what they call a “net,” where their local group are all on the air at the same time. Occasionally, my mom or dad will serve as the moderator of the group. I once asked what they do on the “net.” This was the response:

    “Well, we first take roll. Everyone who is there announces his call sign and location. That takes about 10 minutes. Then we go back and see if any latecomers have arrived and let them announce their call sign. That usually takes another 10 minutes. Then we see if there are any announcements, which there usually aren’t. Then everyone signs off with their call sign, which usually takes about 15 minutes.”

    “So, it’s 30 minutes of taking roll?”

    “Yeah, pretty much.”

  3. Katie says:

    My parents are both HAMs and have gotten a few aunts and uncles into it as well. They check in to “the net” every Sunday night. They both have radios in their cars. My Dad recently took over his father’s call sign. He knows all about this stuff.

    Email me if you want his contact info. I’m sure he’d more than happy to answer any questions you’ve got.

  4. Krispy says:

    Jason’s quite the ham. I recommend him. I don’t care too much for ham, but I like bacon.

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