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‘Hamming it up’ on the radio

By Staff | Jun 26, 2009

There are more than three million Amateur Radio operators worldwide and Estherville resident Tex Adams is one of them.

Adams was a radio operator in the Navy in the early 1960’s. His interest in amateur radio was sparked by another ‘ham’ on the ship. (A ‘ham’ basically means a new person or a non-professional.)

His fellow shipmate encouraged him to take the licensing exam. This allows hams the privilege to operate on more radio frequencies.

“After I passed the exam I was hooked ever since.” Adams said.

He also knows 90 percent of Morse Code and believes it is still the fastest and most reliable way to communicate.

Morse Code, which is a series of dots and dashes that represent letters and punctuation, is still used by some amateur operators, including Adams.

Adams has been able to communicate with different countries around the world. He cannot always contact people from certain countries because signals change every day on different frequencies.

It also depends on the operator. Some like to use high frequencies, some use low frequencies and some use both.

The governor of Iowa, Chester Culver released a proclamation at the beginning of June stating that the week of June 21-27 is Amateur Radio Week in Iowa.

Amateur Radio operators provide emergency response for FEMA, DHS and others. They also provide weather updates through SKYWARN, a program of the National Weather Service.

Amateur Radio operators also provide communications for local communities such as charitable events.

Every year on June 27-28 there is an exercise sponsored by the Amateur Radio Relay League that thousands of Amateur Radio operators attend.

The amateurs try to make as many contacts as they can in a 24-hour period to demonstrate their skills and readiness to provide emergency communications.

They can try to contact anybody from anywhere. Most do so in remote fields. Some even set up tents.

Some people like to make a contest out of it, but Adams just goes for the “comradery”. He thinks of it as an outing to get together with friends.

The ARRL symbol curtesy of www.arrl.org