KOSCIUSKO — Although we live in the age of instantaneous communication through the use of both the internet and cellphones, one local group is looking to encourage the use of another, more dated form of communication — the HAM radio.
To trace the history of the HAM radio, one would have to look back to the early 1900’s. Though licensing for radio use began in 1912, with the help of the Hoosier Lakes Radio Club, those interested in the craft can receive a license today. The club, which meets on the first Thursday of every month in the Kosciusko County Justice Building, was founded in 1951 by a group of local amateur radio operators and electronic experimenters.
Although some may question the significance of the HAM radio in an era filled with cellphones, according to President Gary McDaniel, should a disaster occur, cellphones could be among the first devices to be obsolete for communication. The radio, which is used by astronauts in NASA in emergencies, provides a fail-safe for county administrators and emergency personnel in case of disaster.
The club recently hosted a public radio field day event at Marsh Supermarket to raise awareness about the importance of the radio, showcase set ups and sign up those interested for classes. Though one might suspect its numbers to be relatively modest, there are numerous members, all of which are assigned their own call number.
According to member and radio enthusiast Loren Melton, Claypool, the club is currently working to attract younger generations.
“We began using the computer app for radio. We want to get young folks into the hobby,” noted Melton. “We’ve licensed 130 to 150 people in the last five or six years. Our youngest to take the class was 8-years-old.”
Melton noted though he and other operators use the radio for fun, contacting other operators throughout the world and even in space, the practical use is also a major draw to join. According to Melton, there are no age restrictions to who can become licensed.
Those interested in joining in on a class or learning more about the Hoosier Lakes Radio Club, can visit their website here.