Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 07, 2017
Club Member Bob Keating Offers Insights
Into the World of Amateur (Ham) Radio
From a pleasant hobby to a potentially life-saving service, amateur radio offers hours of absorbing interest for young and old alike. Such was the message Club member Bob Keating brought to fellow members and guests at our regular meeting on Monday, August 7.
Using equipment as simple as a hand-held walkie-talkie-like device or a roomful of gear, Bob explained that "ham operators," as they are popularly known, can communicate with fellow radio aficionados around the block or around the world. "Radio waves travel at the speed of light," said Bob, "so a radio transmission can reach the other side of the globe in less than a second, bouncing off the ionosphere." He noted that is farthest contact has thus far been a fellow ham operator in South Africa.
Bob recently attained the highest of the three types of amateur radio license: "Amateur Extra." And, although ham radio is an enjoyable hobby, he is quick to point out that amateur radio operators are quick to offer their skill and equipment during emergencies such as natural disasters. He told the story of a young radio operator who stayed on the air non-stop for days when the St. Francis Dam in Santa Paula broke apart in 1928. "He helped lighten the load on the telephone switchboards of the day," said Bob, "broadcasting essential information that undoubtedly saved lives."
Bob also noted a number of well-known people who are or have been enthusiastic amateur radio operators, including Walter Cronkite, Priscilla Presley, King Hussein of Jordan, and guitarist Joe Walsh.
"When an emergency strikes," said Bob, "and the landlines, cell phones, and the Internet are down, hams are up!"
Thanks, Bob, for a fascinating look into the world of amateur radio!