Radio Technology for the Young and Not-So-Young

The world of Amateur Radio is a very very big world. I was taken by a storge QSL card’s slogan “we are all very much alike” or something close to that, that showed from a recent eQSL logged contact.

Amateur Radio has a lot to offer from the youngest to the eldest in the ranks.

Whether QRP (very low power) or a Legal Limit QRO (high power) station, handheld VHF/UFH HT (handitalkie “pocket radio”), working CW (Continueous Wave – better known as Morse Code) or Phone (with a microphone), going digital (modes like PSK31 or Olivia), running RTTY (Radio Teletype), building an all homebrew station or running the latest SDR (Software Defined Radio) gear, it is a huge tent.

It is possible to get on the air on HF (High Frequency) for under $100 with used gear or perhaps Flight-Pig QRP kit and antenna, or spend a $100,000 putting together a showcase single operator station.

A QSO (radio contcat) can be as fleeting as the exchange of a call sign and reception report, or as long winded as to run for hours.

You can work without a microphone – more often than old timers will be running CW (Morse) or RTTY (Radio Teletype) to go microphone less, while the young are likely to be microphone free with a digital mode setup.

Or you can run enough audio enhancement gear to sound like Wolfman Jack without the music.

There are lots of pre-teens who are licensed every year. Piece of cake if they have a good head, an interest and a good coach (Elmer). And there are plenty of hams licensed in their 90’s & 100’s – some who have held a radio license since their youth!

There are human mountain goats in amateur radio (think SOTA – Summits on the AIr – who operate from mountaintops) and explorers (think DXpeditions and ITOA – Islands on the Air – team members) who show off their mobility, agility, travel savvy, and hardiness operating from difficult places around the world.

And there are those at the other end of the spectrum, those who overcome personal challenges to become radio amateurs despite handicaps, blindness, injury, or immobility.

It is impossible to separate which of the two groups a person admires more – and soon I realize they all are to be admired having in each case risen above challenge to share communication dreams made real with fellow radio amateurs.

It is a big tent hobby. Young, Old – whether in terms of age or in experience within the hobby – all have a place in the amateur radio hobby!



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