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.