Amateur Radio

Amateur radio operation has come a long way since the time of the first transatlantic tests. These days the hobby uses portable equipment, digital modulation, and software-control to allow communications in ways that were impossible a generation ago.

A lot of us get started in amateur radio with goals such as emergency use, public service, or CERT, but there are also lots of just-for-fun activities out there. One of my favorite is contesting, where you go on-air with thousands of other operators and make as many contacts as you can.

If you’re a glutton for punishment you can also try one of my other loves: Summits on the Air (SOTA). As an “activator” I hike to the top of a mountain and sets up a portable station. The “chasers” operate ham radio from home, contacting activators like me. Whether you chase or activate it is a ton of fun. Looking through some of my past trips is a great way to get an introduction to the hobby.

Another interest of mine is the Parks on the Air program. POTA is a lot like SOTA, except the action happens at ground level. You simply find a local park from the online database, set up, and make at least ten contacts to “activate” the park.

Take a look through the amateur radio pages to get ideas for fun things to do on-air.

Updated 2022-05-12