Ham radio is a diverse hobby. It’s a technical, engineering, builder, emergency service hobby. But ask most people about ham radio and you get stories of RF interference or a puzzled look followed by a question about 1950. I mean, the Internet obliterated ham radio, didn’t it?
Any press is good press they say and getting the hobby out to the general public is a good thing, so props to the Midland ARC for getting coverage and getting a few juicy tidbits out there. However, we, as a hobby, need to work on some talking points on some of the more “exciting” points of Ham Radio. We also apparently need to work on our comparisons.
So what should our talking points be to the traditional media? Here’s a few suggestions:
If we’re a diverse hobby, it should be an advantage. If you are an engineer, you can design antennas, stations or software. If you are a builder, there are kits. If you like the outdoors, you can take radio with you. If you like competition, we have contests. If you like public service, we have it in spades.
The great thing about a diverse hobby is that if you get tired of one thing (DXing, for example), you can learn about a whole different thing (say digital modes) while still staying within the hobby. It’s not like you love trains, then get disinterested, leave your club and friends there, and start over so you can try out planes. Nope. You just start working in this new area.
While this is the traditional public service message we have, we need to mix in much more of what we have done to advance emergency work. We have an imbedded methodology through ARES that gives us a good process. We have practice sessions to support local emergency teams. We have built digital communications to improve our work with emergency providers. And, yes, when all else fails, we can still get through because of our multiple frequency antennas.
Whether it is Katrina or the Space Shuttle or the local walk for charity, ham radio operators perform in their role of supporting emergency communications and public service.
Sorry, I’m not into something for the drudgery. The numbing going forward of work on stuff that doesn’t even remotely excite me. Whether it is the friendships you develop over time and on the air or investigating a new part of the hobby or meeting up with your buddies in the ham radio club, ham radio is fun. As soon as it isn’t fun, it’s time to try something else in the hobby…because we have a diverse hobby.
What else? What do you think our talking points need when that microphone gets pointed at us for some answers?