Sunday, October 11, 2015

Giving back to Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio, without a doubt, is the world's greatest hobby. It allows you to talk to like minded radio operators around the world, for free (once you've paid for the equipment!), anytime, anywhere. It provides hours of relaxing fun (ragchews), exciting fun (contesting, DX), frustrating fun (contesting, DX), exhilarating fun (SOTA, IOTA, DXpeditions) and even gratifying fun (public service communications).

And one of the unique things about Amateur Radio is that the participants who recognize this are particularly selfless. They go out of their way to "spread the wealth" and entice others into the hobby - perpetuating it for years to come. There are many examples of this, and I think it's something a lot of Hams don't even notice or perhaps take for granted. And it's a lot more common than many of us realize - when you really take the time to think about it.

The Internet, once thought of as "The End" of Amateur Radio, has actually become its best friend. It has given Amateur Radio a renewed breath of fresh air and has given Amateur Radio ops around the world an international "clubhouse" where they can meet, greet and share "war stories" with each other in a way never possible before. Think of all the things that are available to us now that we never had before:

Blogs -  Have an niche interest in Amateur Radio? Look it up on Google. Undoubtedly, some Ham somewhere has started a blog about it, where they are willing to share information about their special passion, in depth.

Podcasts - Podcasts provide hours of listening entertainment.  Podcasts such as QSO Today by Eric Guth 4Z1UG, or 100 Watts and a Wire by Christian Cudnik K0STH and Kair Allen WY7YL are not only fun to listen to, but you'll undoubtedly learn a thing or two in the process.

Videocasts - Ham Radio video series such as Ham Nation, the various live streams brought to us by W5UKB and the plethora of videos on YouTube are like having Ham Radio TV available to us 24/7, 365 days a year.

E-zines and E-books - There are many out there. But the ones that stick out in my mind are the K9YA Telegraph, which is an excellent magazine type publication by any standard.  Also out there are E-books, such as "Solder Smoke" which is available through, as well as a particularly entertaining book, "Worlds Best Hobby" by Dave Bell W6AQ, also available through

Training materials - The "No Nonsense" instructions manuals by Dan Roamnchik KB6NU, which are available online have helped many a new Ham earn their very first license or upgrade to a higher class license.

E-mail reflectors - This is where the average "Joe Ham" can post his ideas and thoughts. I can't tell you how many invaluable tips and ideas I have received from e-mail reflectors. Yes, there's also a lot of garbage to wade through, but if you think about it, e-mail reflectors are like having "Hints and Kinks" with you all the time.

The opportunities to give back to the hobby are limitless. It enriches the hobby and helps to perpetuate it, and the beauty of it is that a lot of Hams give back without even realizing it. Many people consider "The Golden Age" of Amateur Radio to be in the 50s and 60s. Years in the future, when we have had the opportunity to look back, I think the "Golden Age of Amateur Radio" will be what we are experiencing right now.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more. I just think back to the days when finding the answer to, say, a technical question was incredibly difficult. Now, even the most esoteric of issues will have an answer available after a few clicks (unless it's a PC driver issue, in which case it probably won't!) The nicest thing is to be able to see some detail about the other operator.