Category Archives: Ham Radio in the News

In the News: KWQC profiles Quad Cities ham James Mayfield W9WRL

I dug this up early this morning, an NBC affiliate in the Quad Cities profiled a ham last week from Moline IL.  Fran Riley of WWQC-TV6 in Davenport, Iowa spent some time with James Mayfield W9WRL and put together this story, which is one of the best news stories I’ve seen about ham radio in a long time (with the distinctive exception of this piece which is one of my favorites).  Mr. Riley obviously took his time in learning about the hobby and really put together a story that made all of ham radio look good.  The video features a lot of vintage gear, including the radio set that Paul Tibbets K4KVZ (SK) used on the Enola Gay when it bombed Hiroshima.

I would have embedded the video here but wasn’t able to so you’re going to have to go to the WWQC site and check it out for yourself.


Published from Chicago, IL

In the News: Euless Ham Radio Club featured in Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Jason KC5HWB over at Grapevine Amateur Radio shared this today on their Facebook page.  Always good to see a reasonably well-written article about Amateur Radio, and it’s even better when it’s about a local group of guys.  The Euless Amateur Radio Club (W5EUL) was featured on Tuesday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From the article:

“We promote public service as back-ups to the police department and communication support for the Community Emergency Response Team,” which is a national organization under the Department of Homeland Security, said James Knighton, president of Amateur Radio Euless. “CERTS can do basic first aid, assess situations to tell the city’s responders where and whether help is needed.”

Some club members are also Skywarn storm spotters with the Tarrant County branch of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), among hundreds of North Texas operators trained by the National Weather Service, Knighton said.

“We have eight or 10 members in RACES,” Knightson said. “We’re called up by the county during bad weather. But we’re storm spotters, not chasers. We looking for wind speeds above 50 mph, water coming up over curbs, and hail bigger than three-quarter inch.”

Euless Police Lt. Joe Kraft recognized how vital amateur radio operators can be in crises, so when he became the department’s emergency management coordinator, he sought out and joined Amateur Radio Euless.

Published from DFW, Texas

In the News: 5 Year Old passes FCC Technician Amateur Radio exam

Before I heap praises on the subject of this story, I’m going to heap praises on the team that turned this story in to NBC 9News in Denver, Colorado.  Reporter Meagan Fitzgerald and photojournalist Andy Buck have done an excellent job on this report.  Seriously, in a world where news reports on ham radio tend to get butchered either by lack of knowledge by the reporters or lack of proper guidance through press releases, this report blew my mind.  To the point where I will personally nominate Fitzgerald and Buck for the 2015 ARRL Bill Leonard award later this year.

Colton KEØCRD and his VE team (photo credit KEØCRD bio page at

And now on to the meat of the matter.  Let’s all welcome Colton Ragsdale KEØCRD to the hobby, one of our newest Technicians.  What makes Colton so special?  He’s five.  And he only missed three questions on the Tech exam.  I’ll let Meagan Fitzgerald explain the whole thing to you because she will do it better than your humble blogger can (after the jump, due to the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to turn off AutoPlay on the embedded video): Read more

In the News: California ham “Citizen of the Year” for public service

Tracy Lenocker WA6ERA is the 2015 Lake Arrowhead (California) Communities Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen of the Year for his public service as the Mountain Division Chief of the San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services’ Emergency Communications Services (ECS) (wow, that’s probably hard to fit on a business card).

From Mountain News:

The Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 2014 is a humble man, one who is a driving force behind the Central Mountain Section of the San Bernardino County Emergency Communications Service but who also prefers to stay in the background.

Tracy Lenocker, the Mountain Division chief, has had his amateur radio license since he was 14 years old. When he joined the Forest Service’s off-highway vehicle (OHV) program, he became active in amateur radio because communication out on the dirt trails was difficult, even with Forest Service radios.

This was a well-written article and worth a quick read.

From WA6ERA’s bio on QRZ (login required), Tracy sounds like a busy man!

In 2005 I joined the San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services (OES) as part of the Emergency Communications Services or ECS. I currently serve as the Mountain Division Chief for ECS and oversee three Sections with about 90 ECS radio communication volunteers. ECS is a first responder for any incidents providing communications at the ICP and Fire Camps such as for the major forest fires in 2003 and 2007 as well as some lesser fires. We provide radio communications for many events in our county such as the Amgen Tour of California, Baker to Vegas and about another 20 large events each year.

Congratulations Tracy!  And congratulations to the Mountain News for a very well written article.


(Published from DFW, Texas)

In the News: Ham Radio net connects kids to Santa

Yesterday, The Times-Herald Record in Middletown, NY featured the Orange County (NY) Amateur Radio Club and their annual “Santa Net,” a “fun project that invites youngsters to talk to Santa on the radio.”  From the Record:

The Orange County Amateur Radio Club – OCARC – will host its annual “Santa Net,” a fun project that invites youngsters to talk to Santa on the radio, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Hosting the free get-together will be the club’s friends, Tina Marchie and Jean Halahan, at Family Farm Ice Cream, 253 Tower Drive in the Town of Wallkill.
The club members will be on the air all day. Some will serve as on-site “OCARC elves,” no doubt helping with ice cream treats. Some will have hand-held radios on which the youngsters can be connected to the North Pole.
The club also will be on the air all day on “short-wave” ham bands on pre-announced frequencies: 14.220, 7.200, and 3.920 mHz. Hams anywhere can tune in, so youngsters in their ham shack can also contact Santa.

A great public service activity.  Great job, OCARC!


(Published from DFW, Texas)


In the News: AP Wire-Iowa men keepers of fading communication mode

The Hawk Eye newspaper in Burlington, Iowa published a story last week (the article is behind a paywall, luckily you can views it on the AP Wire for free) about Sam Burrell KØAFN and Mike Rosenblatt KØBMW (the article really butchered the callsigns but your intrepid blog editor was able to search for the correction).  Although I disagree a bit with the terms “dwindling” and “fading” when it comes to the hobby (there are nearly 724,000 licensed operators in the US–and that seems to increase every year), the article was pretty interesting.

In comfortable basement rooms, surrounded by dials, buttons and knobs, Sam Burrell and Mike Rosenblatt each has the world as his fingertips.


Using radio waves bounced off the ionosphere, a conversation with a fellow ham in South America, California or some remote island in the Indian Ocean, is just a frequency adjustment away, The Hawk Eye reported.

“You never know who is listening on the radio,” Rosenblatt said, explaining that during a conversation with a friend earlier this year, a ham from Tokyo chimed in.

But in the age of the smartphone, the amateur radio network is a dwindling hobby whose aging practitioners are the keepers of a fading but potentially still vital means of communication.

If the power grid goes down, if a mass ejection from the sun wipes out electronic equipment all over North America, or if the New Madrid fault someday wreaks havoc across the middle of the country, it will be people like KA AFN and KA BMV [KØAFN and KØBMW (AD8BC EDIT)] — Burrell and Rosenblatt, as their call signs respectively identify them — who will be able to receive and disseminate information from the outside world.

Fun for now and then.

Se the rest of the story here.

(Published from DFW, Texas)

In the News: Tower fight pits federal PRB-1 pre-emption against Napa, California planning commission

Here we go again.  As we talk about expanding the FCC’s PRB-1 amateur radio antenna preemption to homeowner associations and covenants and deed restrictions, here comes a classic ham operator-vs-city fight that will likely end up with a lawsuit and the city as a loser.  From the Napa Valley Register:

Since the longtime amateur radio enthusiast raised the spidery metal mast in April, some homeowners have attacked it for spoiling their views, and others claim the antenna has even disrupted their electronics – or, in one case, disabled a woman’s electric wheelchair.

But their efforts to fight the mast in their midst has bumped against federal law Hullquist argues protects his right to build and use the antenna, even without a city permit.

On Thursday, the city Planning Commission granted him a use permit for the ham radio antenna – but with limitations including a requirement to lower the mast to 21 feet between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to avoid intruding on his neighbors’ views. (The city allowed an exemption to transmit during a local emergency.) Hullquist also was barred from operating his transmitter while the antenna is retracted. (Emphasis mine — AD8BC)

Afterward, Hullquist promised to appeal his case to the City Council – which also is scheduled to hear a counter-appeal from an opponent of the antenna.

The decision continues a seven-month stalemate pitting Coombs Street homeowners – who say the antenna also disfigures the Napa Abajo-Fuller Park Historic District that includes the street – against Hullquist, who has argued a Federal Communications Commission memorandum from 1985 blocks cities from passing laws that make ham radio use impossible.

In as much as the city is overstepping it’s bounds here, the statement I emphasized above in the quote is beyond scary:

Hullquist also was barred from operating his transmitter while the antenna is retracted.

The city has absolutely no authority to bar him from transmitting his radio on his property.  This is purely federal FCC jurisdiction here.

This will be one of those fun cases to follow.  We’ll keep up with it here.


(Published from Chicago, IL)

In the News: KERO-TV News in Bakersfield, CA “Ham Radio operators can help save lives in times of crisis”

After this news disaster, it’s nice to see a well-formed profile of ham radio on the news.  Bakersfield California ABC affiliate KERO presents a 2 1/2 minute segment on ham radio and the support they provide during emergencies (click link for video):

Not only is it a hobby for people, but it could also save lives in times of crisis and danger.

Over the years many emergency communication centers throughout the country have relied on Ham operators. When all other forms of communication go down, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service can still communicate.

They have been called to action during events like Hurricane Katrina and the Boston Marathon bombing.

Amateur radio operators were on scene and helped coordinate evacuations and assisted with emergency communications.

The Kern County Emergency Operations Center received a Homeland Security grant to purchase equipment and are currently constructing a permanent spot at the center for the group to operate during a crisis.

Nice job, Kern County hams!


In the News: Fort Wayne Hamfest article – This is why you issue detailed and well written press releases for amateur radio events

So I caught this in on the WANE-TV website in Fort Wayne today about the Fort Wayne Hamfest that I attended this weekend.  This is why radio clubs need to draft detailed and well-worded press releases when you hold a public event.  Look below at the text of the article I copied in.  After each paragraph I break in to describe “interesting” text that can either be blamed on an incompetent reporter or an incompetent editor.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Amateur Radio, also known as Ham Radio, is a hobby that features licensed participants whom operate communication equipment. The Fort Wayne Hamfest & Computer Expo was November 15 and 16 at the Allen County War memorial Coliseum.

1) “whom operate?” I’m fairly sure this is an inappropriate use of “whom.”
2) “licensed participants” — this is iffy.  “Licensed radio operators” would have been a better phrase.
3) Missed the capital “M” in “memorial”

Read more

In the News: Washington Times-KC1ACF “has world at his fingertips”

Another fantastic article featuring amateur radio in a positive light.  Yesterday the Washington Times featured Mark Vess KC1ACF:

While Vess has reached operators from exotic locations across the world, their conversations often revolve around everyday occurrences.

“In most cases, it’s your life that you share with other radio operators.

Vess said radio operators adhere to a set of unwritten rules that promote a cordial atmosphere over the air. Religion and politics are hardly ever discussed, and repeatedly trampling over other operators’ conversations will quickly earn you a reputation as a jerk.

Among the different countries Vess has reached by radio include Cuba, Italy, Spain and England. However, he said most of the conversation conducted voer the air is done in English.

“Amateur radio spans the world. It’s in every populated area and especially in unpopulated areas,” Vess said.

(Published from DFW, Texas)

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