After Some Fancy Footwork, The Talk Goes Well

Last night, I was scheduled to give a talk on amateur radio at a meeting of the local section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Being engineers, I thought that I’d skip a lot of the preliminaries and launch right into some of the cool, new things about amateur radio, including PSK31, computer control and logging, antenna modeling, etc. I figured that I could snag them more easily by dazzling them with the cool, up-to-date technology. I even titled the talk “Not Your Father’s Ham Radio.”

Boy, was I wrong. Almost immediately, one of the attendees piped up, “Why don’t you start from the very beginning….” So, I did a bit of slide shuffling, and instead of talking about the fancy technology, explained some of the basics of ham radio and the licensing structure first.

I’m going to have to work on this presentation to include more of the basics, such as the purpose of the service and basic ham radio activities. At any rate, here’s the presentation in its current form: Not Your Father’s Ham Radio.


  1. No it isn’t my fathers ham radio anymore. Things change. Let me take a few minutes and tell you about just one man, Willard R Ballou, W1BTU (sk) formerly 1AMI back in the early years of radio. That was 1924 when the call book listed him for the first time. He tried to work some station, somewhere in the world each and every day of his 81 years as a radio amateur. Yesterday, his key silenced for the final time and he was laid to rest in his 100th year of life. Many a young ham he elmered, teaching whatever they needed to learn. Not only ham radio, but, boxing, weight lifting, model airplane building and whatever someone needed Willard was there to help. So as you go forth to teach Dan, remember things change, our hobby does as well but the one thing I hope will never end is the ham who says to another less experienced, “Let’s take a few minutes and talk about it and then maybe you’ll see it like I do.”

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