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Ham club ready to assist Libby, always seeking members

by The Western News
| January 19, 2012 12:52 PM

Letter to the Editor,

For more than half my life I’ve belonged to a strange group of oddballs who like to spend time sitting before a microphone or a Morse Code key, yakking away at strangers in weird places like Honolulu, Pitcairn Island and Cincinnati.

 We’re ham radio operators, and we like to talk, but we can also communicate without talking. We’ve been sending digital messages from the beginning.

 All that stuff still goes on, even while most of today’s world depends on cell phones or other very handy but very complicated technological devices. Surprisingly, there are more “ham” radio operators now than ever, partly because it’s become easier to get a license.

 Some hams exist just to “rag chew,” but this is one hobby that gets off the couch and out into the world. We provide a service.

 For three days after Hurricane Charley devastated Charlotte County, Fla., in 2004, the only communications with the outside world was through ham radios. Hams are on the alert nationwide in case of weather or other emergencies.

 Members of our Lincoln County Amateur Radio Group are working with the county to provide just such a service, and if any of Libby’s creeks flood this spring, we’ll be out there passing information from the sandbag sites back to Vic White in the emergency office.

 And, of course, radio has its uses in personal emergencies. If you’re out in the woods past cell range, a ham transmitter might very well be the only way to call for help if something goes wrong.

The Lincoln County Amateur Radio Group is here to help, but we could use more members. And more hams.

A relatively simple test is required, but we’ll help anyone who wants to pass it. We teach classes and give the exams. We’ll also help with equipment setup and answer any question at any time.

 Interested? Call me at 293-5996 or e-mail me at

— Jay Goley