Category Archives: Ham Radio in the News

In the News: “Why is Ham Radio more popular than ever” from the Saugerties Times in Kingston, NY

The Saugerties Times in Kingston, NY reports that ham radio is more popular than ever!  From the Times:

With a smartphone in every pocket, isn’t amateur radio a thing of the past?

The answer, as was clear at the Woodstock Rescue Squad Headquarters on a recent Saturday afternoon, is no, far from it.

“Year to year [the number of licenses issued is] increasing, which is not what most people would tend to expect,” said Keith Tilley, certified instructor with the American Radio Relay League.

The occasion was a two-day licensing class organized by the 55-member-strong Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club, which was founded in the 1960s. Participants learned the basics, took a test and received their call signs a few days later.

Over 725,000 Americans have ham radio licenses, up more than 60 percent since 1981, according to NPR. Perhaps part of the appeal is the charm of analog, which has made LPs the fastest growing music format in recent years not transmitted over a wire. Compared with the amount of incoming data on a web browser with several social networking and messaging apps running, ham radio is refreshingly focused. Another factor: preppers. Our increasing interconnectedness and diminished self-reliance have nurtured a certain strain of anxiety that can only be relieved by having all supplies on hand for a worst-case scenario— including communications.

Always good to see a complimentary piece in the news!


(Published from DFW, Texas)

In the News: Ham radio operator featured in Bermuda newspaper for service during Hurricane Gonzalo

John Stevens VP9NI, an amateur radio operator in Hamilton, Bermuda (where my wife was born!), was featured in The Royal Gazette (a Bermudian newspaper) for his service during Hurricane Gonzalo last month:

Canadian-born Bermuda resident John Stevens was the first to confirm to the NHC that Gonzalo had made landfall on the Island and his work was later credited by the centre.

His report, which included barometric pressure observations, made the 9pm AST Tropical Cyclone Update just after Gonzalo hit, and he continued to send regular reports after the storm had passed. As well as anecdotal information such as rainfall and wind direction, Mr Stevens was able to confirm to the NHC when the winds first reached hurricane force. He also told them when the eye of the storm landed and passed, and continued to deliver hourly check-ins. While Mr Stevens was not credited by name, there was an NHC report that credited a “Bermuda Amateur Radio operator with providing valuable information”.

Mr Stevens told The Royal Gazette: “When I got the confirmation I’d been mentioned in at least one of the updates from the National Hurricane Centre, I thought it was pretty cool. I thought I’d made a decent contribution despite having no [Belco (commercial)] power. There’s a bit of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, I’d say.”

Also mentioned in the article were Craig Nikolai VP9NL of St. George’s Parish, Glen Cuoco VP9ID of St. George’s Parish, and Ed Kelly VP9GE of Hamilton, for their service during the hurricane.


(Published from DFW, Texas)

In the News: Two ham radio satellite payloads destroyed in Antares launch explosion

The ARRL reports that two Amateur Radio payloads were destroyed in the October 28 explosion of the Antares 130 rocket:

The RACE  and GOMX-2 CubeSats were among more than 2 dozen satellites lost after an unmanned Orbital Space Sciences (OSC) Antares 130 vehicle exploded spectacularly shortly after launch at 2222 UTC on Tuesday, October 28, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Both satellite packages carried Amateur Radio payloads. The Antares is a new medium-class launch vehicle developed by OSC. The rocket exploded about 6 seconds after launch, sending a huge ball of fire hurtling toward the ground, which set a massive fire at the NASA launch site.


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Crosstown Traffic: HamNation #169 features Tower Safety

After the death of James Linstedt W9ZUC [] of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, tower safety is once again a hot topic in ham radio circles.  James was 59 years old and an experienced tower climber, yet committed a deadly safety breach by not securing his harness to the tower when he needed to climb ten feet.  During that brief climb, he slipped and fell 95 feet to his death.  Numerous news reports were in the mainstream media about his death…  This is the one from his local paper, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

Valerie Hotzfeld NV9L did a pretty interesting piece on tower safety on last week’s HamNation on  Her piece begins at 15:40.  You can also see this on YouTube — this link should take you right to 15:40.

Those of us in radio and electronics have chosen inherently dangerous hobbies.  We can get burned while soldering that PL-259 onto the RG-8.  We can get shocked.  We can slip with that pair of wire cutters and end up with stitches.  I’ve done all three of these.  But the tower work can be the most deadly.  Be careful everybody.


(published from DFW, Texas)

In the News: Two sisters aged 9 and 11 pass the General exam


Photo credit: Joyanna Love, Cleveland Daily Banner

From the Cleveland Daily Banner in Cleveland, TN (via KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog)

Estee (KK4MVS) and Rebecca (KK4OAU) Ratcliff, ages 11 and 9, passed their General amateur license exam and are among the youngest in the nation to have done so.  Hopefully they will go on to take the Extra exam.  I’m pretty impressed — I got my Novice at 14 years old and it wasn’t until I was 24 that I passed my General and Extra.  Great job, girls!


(published from Hagerstown, MD)

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