WACKY AMATEUR RADIO “The most versatile hobby on earth”
“Amateur Radio – the most versatile hobby on earth” may exhibit some wacky tendencies from time to time. We must however remember that things that seems wacky to us, may be dead serious to other Hams and could provide technological advancement to the hobby as such. Smiling tongue-in-cheek at a fellow Ham’s experimental antics may not be harmful, but in Ham Radio we should always be mindful of outright condemnation when someone is doing something that seems strange to us. I mean, why would you condemn a Ham doing mobile HF on horseback? Because he might just be overloading his horse? Could be that he is onto something quite new and not what you think at all. Smile at him, investigate and only then, with sensitivity in mind, give your view.
I agree, Hamming on horseback might just be a bit far-fetched; however, I have read about a Ham doing CW DX’ing while riding to work on a neat-looking Harley Davidson. He does this because to him it seems that a lot of his operating time is lost while riding to work, he might as well use it to DX the world. Makes me smile, but to him it makes sense; if he is that proficient and does not put himself or others in danger, why not? We can all learn from him. You will even find Hams going bicycle mobile these days, with radio and battery bracketed to the bike. They do not seem to operate while cycling though: they ride to where they find a nice place in the countryside and then park the bike, throw the portable antenna across a tree, get the key out and do DX’ing from there. Wacky you say? Maybe, but if it works for them why not, it could turn out to be a very nice outing. DX’ing from a submarine …. OK, OK, only joking! To be honest, I would not be surprised to read about someone trying that these days. Operating CW in your car while driving: to me that is a strange one, how do you use a Morse key while driving, especially in traffic? Could be that the Hams doing this are so expert with the paddle and Morse that it just comes naturally. Myself, I don’t think so, I need to concentrate on driving, decoding and sending to be successful with any of these. I suppose what is possible or not all depends on your own preferences and circumstances.
Chasing lighthouses, mountain peaks or islands. You will find Radio Amateurs that live for this, activating or contacting Ham-active lighthouses all over the world and then collecting the QSL cards for recognition certificates. The same goes for mountain peaks and the hundreds of islands all over the world. I must admit, the “Islands on the air” sound interesting to me, even DX’ing contacts with the lighthouses of the world sounds feasible. Mountain tops though – I think I will sit out on that one, well at least the climbing bit – can you imagine yourself climbing Everest, Kilimanjaro or Mount-aux-Sources just to make two way contacts with your fellow Hams? Maybe I am getting old. Some Hams believe DX’ing from a field station to be a bit wacky, though I don’t think so. Field station operating takes you out into nature and is very relaxing, it also sharpens your operating skills and ensures that your equipment are in tip-top condition, ready for any emergency.
Smiling at these Hams doing all sorts of strange things, operating from vehicles on the move, or even on foot in strange places, bouncing signals of the moon and planets is OK, but don’t scoff or offer unreasonable comments. Rather learn from them what the communication possibilities are and perhaps join them in just having fun – there is no question about it, their efforts are advancing the hobby technologically. Remember, this is just a hobby, the amount of fun to be had is mostly dependent on people and their accepting attitude; handling lifeless materials comes second. “I am OK, you are OK” – should be our main communications slogan, don’t you think?”
Vic – ZS6EA