Ham Radio= Adventure

If you asked me 20 years ago what I thought of amateur radio, I probably would have said that it sounds a little boring. I’ve always been the type of fellow who hungers for adventure. Actually, I think most of us do. But the kind of adventure that I enjoy is anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone… something that causes physical and mental exhaustion. That’s why I hike to the top of a 14,000 foot mountain almost every year. Its why I go on 40 mile long backpacking trips. It’s why I go to Jiu Jitsu training at 4:30am. It’s why I made it through 8 years of college. It’s why the decision to have 6 kids was a no-brainer. Maybe mental and physical exhaustion doesn’t equal adventure for you, and that’s perfectly fine. But I need something that causes the adrenaline to flow, something that stretches me to be just a little better that I was.

It wasn’t till I had kids that I started to appreciate communication. If one of my kids got hurt while we were kayaking a remote river, how would I get help? What if my group of guys and I got snowed in while backing in the Wyoming mountains because we couldn’t get help? Who would take care of my family? It’s questions like these that lead me to explore the idea of radio communication.

What I found was totally unexpected. It turns out that when you push that button and talk into the little mic a whole lot more happens then what the average person knows, or even cares about. I became very fascinated by how in the world a signal can be shot out of one antenna and caught by another 5 miles… 20 miles… 100 miles… even 1000 miles away! Thinking about it made me mentally exhausted. I thought about it when I should have been sleeping at night causing me to be physically exhausted. I was hooked.

There are two more facets of adventure that tend to draw me in. I’m always eager to learn about the mysteries of God’s creation. He created an extremely complex environment in which we will never fully understand on this side of Heaven. He made the mountains that I climb. He made the sun that has storms that affect propagation. He laid out all the invisible and material things necessary for FM, SSB, and every other mode that exists and ever will exist. He gave us a mind to work towards putting it all together. My mind is “blown” right now, just thinking about it all.

And then there’s the social part of ham radio. It’s definitely a misconception that the typical ham operator is anti-social. What’s more social than having conversations with a potentially unlimited amount of people all at once? And then there is the comradery of the local amateur radio group. In the period of a few months I have made friends through the local club and repeater net that would have taken years in a more conventional way. This network of good people help each other out when needed, pray for each other, and discuss the finer things in life (di-poles, modulation, and how to keep the YL happy). It gives me peace of mind that if ever an emergency should occur involving my kids, they could reach out on 2 meters and contact someone in the local group who knows me and can get help. I am glad to be a part of our local ham radio community.

Not only does Ham Radio now fit into my category of adventure, but it is a part of every adventure that I go on. Whether it be on the Appalachian trail, out back checking my cattle, or a simple drive to work, ham radio is a part of it. -KF0GFE

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Wow Chase. That is perhaps the best ham radio testimonial that I have ever read. I remember the excitement I felt when I first got my ticket. Reading your comments rekindled that feeling. Thanks for that.

Awesome Chase! I agree with Steve, that definitely got me thinking about some of my first contacts and that wow feeling. Thank you for sharing!