Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Amateur Radio Operators are often called Hams.  To find out more about why the term “Ham” is used, see this explanation including this definition: “Ham: a poor operator; a ‘plug’ (G. M. Dodge; The Telegraph Instructor).”

Amateur Radio has a worldwide presence and has been for decades. It is used in wartime and moments of peace. Amateur Radio allows communication between different time zones, countries, and continents.

Amateur Radio is a life long skill. The process is free to study, free to use (though there is a cost for equipment), and there is no charge to get the license from the FCC.  There is a license exam fee and the current cost is $14-17 in my area. This fee helps offset the cost of exam materials.

Amateur Radio is fun to do with my family. I have had my Technician license since June 2007. My husband obtained his Technician license in July 2007. He then upgraded to the General class license in . His last upgrade was to the Extra class license on 18 October 2011. Our oldest son took the exam for his Technician class license on October 31, 2009. My oldest and I are studying for the General exam.  Our twelve-year-old is currently studying to take the Technician exam.

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Amateur Radio Operators are Hams Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

{The above photo is of my husband, Jonathan (KE7OLE), working on a HF rig at the Mt. Tahoma Technoree during Jamboree On The Air (J.O.T.A.) on October 15, 2011.}

Each license allows certain bandwidth privileges. Ham radio allows you to talk to a neighbor, a spouse driving on the way home from work during the evening commute, or to talk to others around the world.

Sometimes, Amateur Radio operators are able to talk with an astronaut on the International Space Station. This opportunity is available when the Space Station is overhead and an astronaut is on the radio waves.

Amateur Radio is a sought after way to communicate as Hams provide a way to instant, reliable, and constant form of communication after a disaster. Amateur Radio operators work with FEMA, American Red Cross, AREAS, RACES, and other organizations in the supporting role of providing communication abilities.

Here is an example of how Amateur Radio allows communication between people miles apart or even over the ocean…

Recently, my husband was on his HF (High Frequency) rig (another term for radio equipment) and was tuning in to the 15 meters band. He came across an operator that was on the battleship USS Missouri ‘Mighty Mo’ (BB-63)! They were doing a Club event on the HF bandwidths.

Our boys thought it was cool that there were Ham’s on the Missouri. They were excited that Jonathan was trying to talk to a Ham operator who was aboard a ship.

When I heard an operator from the KH6BB USS Missouri Battleship Radio Room say, “here on Battleship Missouri in Pearl Harbor,” I was super excited! I was excited because years ago when the Missouri was in port at the Puget Sound Navel Shipyards, my family and I were able to go tour it. I have pictures (or my mother does) of me on the vessel. I still have the polo shirt that I purchased while on-board.

Here is a close up of the polo showing the 50th Anniversary logo design:

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams - USS Missouri Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Amateur Radio Operators are Hams – USS Missouri Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

When our family is able to go to Pearl Harbor, I will be sure to schedule with the Mighty Mo so that my husband and I, along with our son (or sons, depending upon who has their FCC license) can visit the Radio Room and use the radio from the Missouri.

This was originally published on my site. It’s home is now here on Gluten Free Preppers.