Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I’m learning to “Ham”

As you may know, I have been taking a ham radio class. Well, last night I got to go over to the cannery and watch a couple of men as they were connecting with several “networks” of people. One man, Bill Skipper (my ham teacher) connected with a group of new hams who were practicing their new skills. I listened in as they all gave their call numbers and names. Each one gave a little report and news about meetings, classes and other events were announced. After everyone had reported in, then that group signed out. Next, Sam Neil showed me a few things about the equipment and let me ask a few questions. On the hour a new group, with people from all over the country, started signing in and giving reports. Every Tuesday night they get together and test their equipment and give important information. I heard people from Hawaii, Canada, and all over the USA. When that group had signed out, Sam showed me more things and we listened to the High Frequency, short wave band. I heard someone from Spain, Australia and Kosovo talking. We listened, for a short period of time, to a military channel, a gospel channel and a government training channel. On the hour, Sam switched over to a channel where he practiced his Morse Code skills and he “coded” with someone from Dallas.

I asked Sam about how they helped out during Hurricane Katrina and Rita. He told me some wonder things that happened because they were able to communicate while other sources of communication were down. For just over a week they were able to:
1) communicate with disaster evacuation centers
2) help people get in contact with family outside of the area and let them know that they were alright.
3) help large trucks, loaded with disaster supplies, get to their destinations
4) help police and fire officials
5) help locate stranded people
6) various other and a sundry things

I guess you can say that my eyes have been opened to a whole new world. I had no idea that Morse Code is still alive and kicking. I didn’t know that a person with a hand held Ham radio could connect with the International Space Station. I am really excited and the more I get into it the more I want to learn. There are three levels of licensing for ham radio. I am in the “beginners” class called Technician. Once I get my license, I will be able to talk on certain bands and frequencies. The next level is called General and it includes Morse Code. The top level is called Amateur Extra and you get a lot more privileges on this level. Each level requires a test from the FCC to get your license.

Any one interested in talking a class, or just taking a look at ham radio, may go to the ARRL website and check it out. Their web address is:

One a side note: TF and I had our 35th wedding anniversary last Sunday. We ate out at a fancy steak house where we shared a Prime Rib platter. Yummmm...... Wow, 35 years has gone by so fast...

My Granddaughter turned one year old the day after our anniversary. Go take a look at her taking her first bubble bath.


At 6:17 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Congratulations on your 35th wedding anniversary!

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Oh great One said...

Congratulations on 35 years!

At 6:17 PM, Blogger An80sNut said...

Happy late 35th! B) And very cool to learn Ham radio usage. It is good to hear how effective that was during Katrina and Rita.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Yeah, I knew that many are fluent in morse code. I saw that when we were fighting the aliens from outer space in Independence Day.

Thirty five years, congratulations. I have nine more to catch up to you. Well, you'll probably be nine more ahead at that point, but you know what I mean.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger PBS said...

Congratulations! I was interested in radio many years ago and never followed through on it. But nowadays with computers and web pages I'll go and check it out, thanks!

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Hello Lucy ~ It seems like the ham radio has useful purposes in times of crisis. You are doing well to do this.
Thanks for your comment, the world sure has changed - mostly for the better
Dread to think about another 100 years.
At least I wont be here to worry !!
Glad your anniversary went well and you
enjoyed a meal out. Take care, Merle.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Using the radio would be fun!! I know you are enjoying that.

Your g-daughter is a real cutie indeed!!

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow such exciting news!

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Ham Radio is interesting. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Happy Anniversary too!

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous nettie said...

She is adorable, that little face. And that's cool about ham and Katrina, it must've come in real use with all the phones down.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Happy 35th, Lucy. Sounds like you guys ate well for the occassion.

I've toyed with learning how to use a ham radio. As you pointed out, they can be very important after a storm. I'm glad you're doing it - you never know!


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