FICTIONAL AMATEUR RADIO “The most versatile hobby on earth”
Of course, “Amateur Radio – the most versatile hobby on earth” will have to be used in the fictional realm of every day life to truly stand up to its fame. That does happen, Ham Radio have been used in well read fictional stories, in books and also in good films. You will find quite enjoyable stories published on the Web, Jeff Davis, KE9V, comes to mind for fictional Ham stories on the Internet. Walter Tompkins, K6ATX, now a silent key, has written some nice fictional stories that were published in book form. Ethelyn Parkinson has written at least one good Ham storybook for younger Hams that I know of, and so also Lynne Barasch. Fictional Ham films have made their debut through the years, some successful, some not.
The famous film “Gone with the wind” of 1939, had some Ham action in it. You may even view some suspense fiction by Alfred Hitchcock containing a lot of Hamming threads. Though highly implausible, the film “Frequency” were quit entertaining, and so also “Contact”, with the film script developed from the book by that name, authored by world renowned astronomer Carl Sagan. Lots of entertainment can be had with these fictional films, but, the knowledgeable Ham that are watching them will pick up technical glitches made in the film that the laymen will not notice at all. Of course, factual misinformation regarding Amateur Radio, fictional or true, is no new thing for the Ham that has had some experience in the hobby. Any of the film “mistakes”, and even those that inadvertently gets published in storybooks, cannot really harm the hobby. What can harm the hobby though, is mistakes we ourselves make regarding facts that we publish or provide to the public domain about Ham Radio, even if it is only one of us that place some or other misunderstood fact. Like in the army, police or whatever group you happen to belong to; “One bad apple always spoils the whole batch”, this is also true for the Ham fraternity. Amateur Radio does have some strange occurrences that can be true or fictional, mostly depending on the individual’s view about the item under scrutiny and perhaps more so regarding who is involved, where and why.
Scrolling down the Google results for; “Facts & Fiction About Ham Radio Operators” won’t really deliver you with a massive amount of information, what you will find though, might just be a bit confusing and will definitely prove the bad apple statement already made. I mean, you may find statements on the Internet that generalize such that any Ham will just laugh it off when he reads it: “Hams are cheap – true. Very true”, “Ham radio operators are introverts – in most cases, fact”, “Ham radio is a brotherhood, we are all brothers – fiction”, “All Hams are honest – fiction”, “Ham radio is a service and all Hams realize that – fiction” and “All Hams respect the privilege of being licensed – fiction”. To the layman, who does not know that there are over 2 million registered Hams on planet earth, who, reading these statements does not realize that the statements could perhaps have been made jokingly, who does not know how Ham Radio works and how it is governed, will definitely be frightened out of his wits, he will have nothing to do with the hobby.
To all and sundry I can categorically state that the only real truth regarding the above statements is that; to none of them can we give a clear-cut and sensible answer, all of them are true for a very small percentage of the total number of Hams in the world. This stated small number of Hams is Amateur Radio’s bad apple, the Hams that is foolish enough to publish such statements on the Web we may include in the bad apple grouping. In general, human nature provides all structured organizations worldwide with the bad apple syndrome, but, we Hams could at least try and steer clear of this, can’t we? Take my word for it, by far the bigger percentage of Hams in the world you will find to be above average in honesty, integrity, outgoingness and discipline.
Vic – ZS6EA