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 QRZ.com 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.

Literally.

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)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*