Big Mac

Photo by Evan-Amos- Wikipedia 

I like 30 meters very much, and have always made some nice contacts on this band. There are many times I find DX here, and I work them when I can, but I’m finding some long slow QSO’s here too. During the early evening hours, I easily work stations in the mid-western states on this band.

I’ve worked WB5QYG in McAlester, Oklahoma a couple of times lately, and did a quick search of his home town. Mc Alester is in what’s known as “Tornado Alley” where severe storms are always a certainty in the summer months. It’s also the home of the  Oklahoma State Penitentiary . –The local people call it “Big Mac” That’s the reason for the first picture in this entry.

Photo by Charles Duggar- Wikipedia 

We have an enormous prison population in this country- more than any other country in the world. Just say’in….those are the facts, and an inordinate number of those are for non-violent crimes. I hope this situation changes because it costs a LOT of money to maintain these places. This is true in all 50 states. West Virginia is no exception, we have more than 7,000 incarcerated in our state.

I wonder how many of these inmates might be interested in radio?  Perhaps a good hobby would have required a better use of idle time and therefore a more productive life, and the decreased need for nationwide prison facilities? If not ham radio, short-wave listening is a good pastime. I know that’s just wishful thinking; but I’m an optimist…..

Too many people today find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many times it’s due to being born in unfortunate places where there’s little opportunity for a decent job, or little opportunity for getting a decent education. Sometimes social obstacles are much too difficult to overcome. The really unfortunate thing about these “casualties of life” is many of them have the intelligence to be productive members of society. To waste a good mind is a terrible thing.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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