Should we recruit truckers into amateur radio?

On the ARRL’s PR mailing list, there’s currently a discussion about recruiting truckers into ham radio. The fellow who started the discussion noted that he had talked to a trucker who not only was a ham, but also was actively recruiting other truckers by handing out information packets at truck stops.

There was, of course a lot of back and forth on this topic. Some thought this was a good idea. One fellow commented, “I think truckers would greatly benefit from our repeater systems, IRLP, EchoLink and D-STAR.  I also think it’s long past time to forget about our lost 11 meter band…We’ve had many exceptional ops who got their start on Part D Citizens Band.  We could get many more if we made the effort to be accommodating and patient.  The benefits outweigh the risks.”

Others worried that 2m might go the way of CB (as if it hadn’t already).

I’m all for it myself. I’m for recruiting nearly any group of people that could make good use of amateur radio. How about you?


  1. I started in CB at 13 years old. Another CBer / HAM talked me into getting my license. I had never heard about HAM radio before that. I got my tech license when I was 14. He also helped 2 other CBers get their license. Because of CB, I already had an interest in radio & electronics, so that made it much easier.

    Not all truck drivers care about CB, most just use it as a work tool, or just because its already installed in the truck. The ones who should be recruited are the people who have an active interest in CB and communications or electronics.

  2. I hate to say it, but here in NW Arkansas, I’ve monitored 19 drive-time for about two years now, and the only significant trucker traffic I ever hear is two or three of ‘em calling out pretty girls in low-cut tops in the fast lane.

    Given that truckers by definition will be on the clock whenever they’re on the radio, it seems like a slippery slope towards turning 2m into Trucker’s Free Land Mobile service.

    That being said, I don’t want to discourage them from getting on the radio, I just want to see the right motivations. Attraction to the hobby itself, the science behind it and its role in society.

    How about recommending hanging out on .52 or another common simplex frequency? I suspect truckers don’t want to constantly PL search or pull up repeater directories as they pass through an area, and virtually all repeaters are PL’d now. It’s not like .52 is ‘tied-up-busy’ in most areas any more….

  3. I don’t think the fact that they are on the clock while talking on the radio is an issue. That rule was meant to keep hams from using the radio in actual money-making activities. If they are ragchewing, it’s not a problem. If they’re coordinating with home base or each other, that’s when it becomes a problem. There are a lot of hams, especially technicians, that drive a lot due to their job and talk on the ham bands when mobile, but they’re not breaking any laws because they’re just ragchewing.

    I’m all for the status quo, using .52 as a calling channel, but it should be just that. Use .52 to find another ragchewer on simplex, then move to another clear frequency so .52’s not tied up. It’s actually used quite a bit in my experience.

  4. I’m not certain how the ARRL would specifically target truck drivers. They won’t be handing out pamphlets in truck stops. Ads in trucking magazines? Signs on the walls of truck stops?

    And if the ARRL can go to any trouble at all in order to pitch ham radio to such a tiny segment of the population, why wouldn’t they target AARP members? You talk about a marriage made in heaven, retirees and ham radio go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ours is the perfect hobby for the recently retired and any reticence on the part of the ARRL to promote ham radio to this large (and rapidly growing) segment of the population is downright insane.

    73, Jeff KE9V

  5. i know many truck drivers who have turned to ham radio. they like the fact that even when miles from home they can still talk to their loved ones.

  6. Chris Andrist says:

    If turckers talk on their CB on a consistent basis then why not. They are just like any ham operator that enjoys that casual converstion every day. A repeater that I talk on daily has several in state truckers. Most of them came to Ham Radio, because they enjoy tinkering with their equipment and good conversation. Ham Radio fills both of those needs and has better equipment options.

    I personally welcome any and all that want to be Ham operators. Saying that 2m is going to be just like CB is crazy. In my area there are lots of individuals that enjoy Fox Hunting and finding illegal signals. They wouldn’t last long here without a license.

  7. Sam Neal N5AF says:

    We assisted a couple of Wal-Mart truck drivers become licensed, who wanted to escape 27 MHz, and over the years perhaps 10 more of their drivers became licensed. Nary a dud in the bunch.

    Sam N5AF

  8. Mike (N8GBU) says:

    I worked in the trucking industry for over 20 years as a mechanic. Those drivers who were already HAMs were very intelligent and did all kinds of projects while out on the road in their down time. I would say yes recruit them, once they go through the licensing process I feel they will have a better respect for the airwaves. As far as 2 meters turning into the new 11 meters. Here in Toledo I find the repeaters dead a few contacts on simplex thats about it.

  9. I’ve been on the road for the past 18 yrs and starting to notice a lot of ham antennas on big rigs. Well I’ve really missed having my ham license and since decided I’m coming back. Dusted off the ts50 and clean the htx242. So as a trucker/ham operator who cares where the people come from as long as we conduct ourselves accordingly.

Speak Your Mind