I often think of amateur radio as if I’m on a hunting or fishing expedition. I know for younger and perhaps less patient individuals, this thrill may or may not be shared with the same excitement and enthusiasm. When I walk down the fourteen steps into my basement ham shack or drive up to the mountains for a few hours of portable, outdoors operating….I don’t always know what is waiting for me on the bands.
I’m reminded of an interview I did with Duncan McLaughlin, KU0DM back in episodes 28 and episode 29. I hope you’ll listen to those two older episodes. Duncan and I discussed the possible challenges of attracting todays youth into the hobby. The youth of today are growing up in the information age where everything is instant and immediate. Want to talk to someone on the other side of town? They probably have a cell phone. Want to talk to someone on the other side of the planet? They probably have Skype. Duncan believed the possible ice breaker was in the area of Radio Sport or contesting. Duncan described his philosophy as the difference between fishing and fish sticks. One can take a fishing pole to your favorite lake, pond or stream and may or may not catch a fish….but chances are the local grocery store will be well stocked in boxes of fish sticks. This simple, yet truly interesting way of looking at things is really what amateur radio is all about and in my opinion what makes it special.
While amateur radio requires a license in order to operate on the bands, what amateur radio gives us in return is a license to learn. What we learn might fall into the category of electronics, antennas, solar propagation etc. and these are all important. However, just as important, I enjoy learning more about the geography of those new DX stations I’ve been working.
Of course, when I see a station call sign such as a M0, ON or JA I do recognize them being geographically located in England, Belgium and Japan respectively. However, I’ve also really enjoyed learning more about the callsigns I’m not as familiar with such as UT, CT3 and my most recent DX entity of T32.
Yes our planet is large, but our wonderful hobby of amateur radio can make it much smaller if we let it. As most have probably heard, band conditions are getting better and better. Even for US technician class operators, the 10 meter band has been booming with lots of excellent DX opportunities. Go to your ham shacks and get those rigs fired up and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
Until next time….
73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)