Amateur radio may seem like an old man’s hobby. In reality, it is far more. Many members are storm spotters who traverse the county during dangerous weather so that we can all be more prepared when tornados and severe thunderstorms threaten.
Each year, we go out and set up antennas and radios, solar panels and generators, to practice for a real disaster. And, BTW, we have a good time doing it.
Some like to bounce signals off of the moon, or communicate via amateur radio satellites. Or even, sometimes, talk with astronauts on the International Space Station–yeah, they have a radio there, too.
Or, we might string up wires in our back yard to make an antenna, and talk to Japan or France with a radio that costs less than most cell phones. We might use voice, or digital modes, typing at a keyboard. But there is so….much….more.
Many “ham” radio operators are involved with communications during natural disasters and have helped people in serious trouble get help that might not have happened–or helped people get the word that their loved ones are OK.
We go out and practice this, and have a large event at least once each year. If there is ever a disaster like the one that happened in Springfield or Greensburg, we will be out there.
We also volunteer to help coordinate and provide communications for local outdoor events.
I like to think we are a bunch of cooperative people who volunteer their time and equipment with no financial support from anyone. Until I became involved a few years ago, I had no idea how much clubs like ours do to help the community in times of need.
And, yes, we do enjoy this stuff, and it’s also cool that we can do something we like and be of service to the community at the same time.
And, did I say, there is so much more? Radio astronomy, telemetry to drones. Learning about Raspberry PI’s or UAV’s and stuff I haven’t heard about…yet.