Community Education: Hanging with Hams

I’m working my way through the options in Community Ed, and the gem this semester has to be Introduction to Amateur Radio.

This class opened my eyes — first the highly technical nature of the training required for certification.  The instructors speak repeatedly of the danger of “RF burns” if you don’t calculate your current correctly.  These are the men whose very practical engineering knowledge built GE in the 1960s and 1970s, before chips replaced circuits and computers replaced levers.  And their licensing processes preserves their knowledge.

And that process sustains their community.  The ham radio operators of our area serve as primary communications in Grandma’s Marathon, they are weather watchers, and they meet regularly for coffee at McDonald’s.

I’m not sure I have it in me to pass the test — mostly because I am exhausted when the class starts at 6 — but I am enjoying Hanging with the Hams so far.



about 9 years ago

That is a class I have never seen in a community ed catalog before. In researching the ownership history of my house in Duluth I discovered that the guy who owned and lived in it from 1930 to 1975 had many amazing talents and hobbies. One of them was amateur radio, and he was one of the first, maybe the first, ham radio operator in the area. 

I have a picture of the house from the '30s and in the back is a great big antenna. He set up the Duluth PD so they could communicate with the squads from the station, borrowing them the equipment to do so. In the late '50s he used his equipment to help soldiers stationed in Antarctica talk to their families in the Midwest. He was on the air until his 97th birthday. Here is a link to his obituary which describes him as a 'Radio Pioneer.'

The Big E

about 9 years ago

Hams are an interesting group.  My late grandfather was a member of the "Quarter Century Wireless Association," which was kind of a joke because he really belonged in the Three-Quarter Century Wireless Association.


about 9 years ago

At least you don't have to know Morse code any more.

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