A nice piece in the Saugerties Times about the continuing popularity of ham radio in that upstate New York town. The article profiled the activities of the Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club, which offers a variety of public safety and emergency communications services to the area, especially during the Kingston Classic running marathon.
The group also does “pumpkin patrol,” explained certified ham operator/trainer Keith Tilley. This involves monitoring at least ten different highway overpasses to make sure miscreants don’t drop pumpkins off of them, causing automobile accidents. “We were there watching 10 or 11 different overpasses over the Thruway,” Tilley told the Times.
His club does training sessions three times a year. A big appeal of ham is that one can operate a transmitter without electricity or Internet.
“The idea is to get more amateur radio operators to primarily get interested in the hobby to see what they want to pursue; whether they want to get involved in emergency communications, which is very popular these days, or because they want to get more into the technology and learn how things work, or just to have the fun of chatting with people.”
The Federal Communications Commission’s easing of Morse code training for many licensees has also encouraged more involvement. Some years ago I ran into an operator in a park nearby my home in San Francisco. Here’s a YouTube of our impromputu conversation: