ham radio

6:35pm

Thu August 2, 2012
Ham radio

Before Chatroulette, there was ham radio

11-year-old Matthew Meyers operates a ham radio Field Day station under the guidance of Rob Riley, KI6INR, in Menlo Park - photo by Mike Meenan

As you read this, a dead language is flying through the air all around you -- at least, it’s dead for most official uses. It’s the Morse code, a binary digital system that dates back to the 1850s. Among its primary users today are amateur radio operators, better known as hams. I am one of these and am proud to say I’m fluent in Morse. I was texting way, way before it was cool.

Ham radio is a pastime dating back more than a century. Hobbyists built transmitting and receiving equipment long before radio stations, such as KALW, went on the air.

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