July 08, 2003
Ham radio

Having written about the potential of a newfangled form of mass communication, I feel compelled to cite this article about an old-fashioned form, the ham radio. I love this quote:

"The Internet is cool and all, but the last two people on Earth will be communicating like this," said John Westerman, 40, who [is] a member of the Loudoun (County, Va.) Amateur Radio Group.

Yeah, I suppose that's true. Here's something else I didn't know:

John Unger, 60, of Hamilton, Va., has collected 36,000 contacts since 1996 -- including one of the most famous names in ham radio, the former king of Jordan. King Hussein, father of Jordan's current leader, King Abdullah II, was an avid amateur radio operator. He died in 1999.

"He was very gracious. You didn't have to call him 'Your Highness' or anything," Unger said. "Could you imagine the president of the United States just getting on in the evenings and chatting with people?"


Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 08, 2003 to Society and cultcha | TrackBack

Another of the coolest ham radio contacts was the Russian space station Mir. It had ham gear first installed in 1988 and many of its crewmembers were avid hams.

King Hussein actually spoke via amateur radio in 1983 with Owen K. Garriott, a Shuttle astronaut who brought ham gear and arranged the first ham transmissions from space, at the beginning of a long history of ham radio in space.

"(King) Hussein regarded his 1983 contact with Owen Garriott, W5LFL, on board Space Shuttle Columbia, as a high point in his amateur radio career," reported ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner in a special bulletin following the death of Jordan's King Hussein, JY1. ("JY1" was King Hussein's call sign.)
Posted by: Matt on July 8, 2003 2:41 PM