The ham band

When I was in high school I remember going with a group to play a concert in an Elks lodge. The room was dusky and the building was a little broken down. There was a giant sign in the room where we played that read, “Keep America Strong. Ask A Young Man To Become An Elk.” The people there were boisterous and kindly.

Well, I think I’ve found the home of the telecommunications-Elks. It’s amateur radio. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual is full of folksy, boisterous, exclamation-point-studded advice. You get the feeling that every ham is sincere and fun-loving:

Why don’t people just buy radios and transmit anyway [without a license]? . . . Because it’s quite apparent to hams who has and who hasn’t passed a license exam. You’ll find yourself attracting the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, but more importantly, you won’t fit in and you won’t have fun.

A long, friendly conversation is known in ham-dom as a “ragchew.” And this was my favorite part, about Morse code:

Many operators enjoy the rhythm and musicality of “the code,” as well. Aside from its utility as a communications protocol, it’s a skill like whistling or painting that you can enjoy for its own sake. Listening to a skilled Morse operator chatting away or relaying messages is quite a treat!

I have a very soft place in my heart for the Elks, and for the hams, and I very much enjoyed my day with the amateur radio manual. It all works out so smoothly – voltage, current, resistance, and power all relate, and you get to sit there imagining contacting other hams in state after state. “CQ CQ CQ, this is W1AW calling CQ!” the manual instructs, and I can’t wait until I get my own call sign.

A woman sitting a row behind me in the plane told me she was jealous of my studying the manual – she wants to get her amateur license too. She told me that she saw the latest Bruce Willis movie last night and that ham radio saved the day. “It was so exciting!” she said.

Keep America Strong. Ask A Young Person To Become A Ham.

One thought on “The ham band

  1. Anonymous

    “Keep America Strong. Ask A Young Person To Become A Ham.”
    “Keep .AMERICA Strong. Ask A Young Person To Become A .HAM”
    When a “young person” finds out that they are blocked, censored,
    or discouraged from becoming a .HAM because of a very small group
    of very evil people those young people begin to learn some of the
    important lessons of life.
    Who is part of that very small group of very evil people ?
    Imagine there are 52 people in that very small group of very evil people.
    Imagine those 52 people are divided into 4 suits with 13 members in each suit.
    Imagine the U.S. Government creating a deck of playing cards with
    those people pictured on each card. Imagine the U.S. Government
    sending troops to find those 52 evil people, and bring them to justice.
    Imagine that one of those 52 evil people disappears. Does that person
    cease to be one of those 52 evil people ? Does another person enter
    to take that person's place ?
    Will there always be 52 evil people longing, hoping, to be added to
    that deck of playing cards ?
    Can the 99.999% of the rest of the world be educated, saved and
    protected from those 52 evil people ?

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