Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ham Radio

Welcome to "Toy" week here at OPOD. We will be looking at things children play with this week. We start with this picture from 1921 of a young man playing with a HAM radio set. I can not think of any more educational toy or hobby than HAM radios. In order to set up and operate these things, you really have to learn a lot of electrical engineering. The objective is to talk to people very far away under a variety of conditions. This requires careful design and construction of radio equipment and antennas. The kids that I knew growing up that did HAM radios have all become very successful engineers and businessmen.

I am really surprised these days how little thought we give to the toys we give our children. It seems that Xbox is a very popular one, and parents often put little thought into exactly what children are learning when they spend 14 hours straight playing a game where the objective is to maim, kill, and destroy. It is as if parents are really purchasing a free "baby sitter" when they get such consoles.


  1. When my hubby was in Vietnam, he got to make two phone calls to me through the MARS (I believe that was the name) network and HAM operators in the states. They were heart wrenching calls for both of us; but the operators were wonderful. Each time the operator stayed on the line until I could stop crying after hubby hung up. And you are right; the younger generation now just look for toys that will keep the kids out of their hair. Sad! Love your blog.

  2. While I appreciate your effusive praise for amateur radio, I am bothered by the identification of it as a "toy." Too many people have this attitude and it disheartens me to see it endorsed, if only in word.

    Our local amateur radio club offered its services to the local EMS community but were told to "go home and play with our radios and let the real men handle the emergencies." That attitude benefits no one. Thanks for listening and 73's.


    1. That was an unkind reply to an offer of help. When other communications are "down" ham radio can HELP. They would then be grateful for the offer!

    2. They were foolish to deney your offer for HAM back-up.
      That will be one of the only systems that are still operational when the attack comes.

  3. Wow... how equipment has changed. When I was a new ham in the early '70's, one of the guys in our club still had a shack that looked like that. He built it all himself, because he had little money. It was amazing to see it in operation, and I have wished many times that I had a photo of that station.

    Now, we can have radios that do much more, and they can be no bigger than your hand.

    Graham, VO1DZA

  4. My friend's uncle had a big HAM set up in a spare bedroom, and I used to be thrilled to go there and listen to Uncle Bob talking with people far, far away. And, sometimes by Morris Code.


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