Several of the authors you read on Hackaday are ham radio operators, and we’ve often been pushed into a hacker chat about “Why be ham today?” After all, you can talk to anyone in the world online or on the phone, right? ? What is a draw?
The British Radio Society apparently had the same idea produced a great video to answer the question. They mention the usual things: learning about technology, learning about people in other parts of the world, disaster communication and radio sports (which seems more popular outside the United States; people are racing to find hidden transmitters).
In addition, they talked a lot about how hams get involved in space communications, ranging from satellite conversations to conversations with people on the space station, to actually building small satellites. As the narrator says, there are “hundreds of ways to have fun with a technician” with the ham radio.
One thing we noticed that they showed, but didn’t say much, however, was the educational opportunities. You can learn a lot, and working with children to help them learn is often very helpful (and you usually learn something too). Just to prevent comments that this post is not related to hacks, we will note two things: there is a Raspberry Pi shown and just after the two-minute mark there is a very clever hacked together key of the Morse code.
We talk a lot about ham radio, ranging from Arduino-based digital modes to assemble portable stations (you can see a similar one in the video). One more thing we noticed, they don’t mention: it’s usually much easier to get a license today than ever. Most countries (including the United States) have abolished Morse code requirements, so while some hams still enjoy CW (Morse code hampik), this is not a requirement.