Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making Happy Waves

Thought for the day:  Excitement has no age limit.

[THEME: Amateur radio]

I was honored to serve four terms as the ARRL Section Manager for the state of Georgia. In essence, I was our state's elected volunteer (how's that for an oxymoron?) and representative with  the American Radio Relay League, our national organization for amateur radio. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, it was a ton of work, but also a ton of fun.

One of the things I did was travel the state to give speeches to various organizations, and do presentations at numerous amateur radio club meetings. My favorite presentation, I called Amateur Radio and the WOW FACTOR.

                                                         So, what's that mean? Stuff like this:
  • The world's amazement over the first successful trans-Atlantic wireless communication.
  • The sense of pride and excitement experienced by early amateurs when they built their own equipment and made that first contact.
  • Excitement over the remarkable innovations and technological advancements within the radio art.
  • It's the feeling that, even after more than forty years as an amateur, had my husband ya-hoo-ing through the house the day he made his first slow-scan TV contact.
  • It's the feeling that drove an 80+ year old man to get an amateur radio license, something he'd always wanted to do.
  • It's what drove a long-limbed ballerina teenager to leap through the air and into my husband's arms after she passed her first amateur radio test. (She later became a communications expert in the Marine Corps.)
  • It's the sense of community and brotherhood that, much like the barn-raisings of pioneer days, still brings amateurs together to help each other with antenna and tower-raising activities.
  • It's the never-ending sense of connection that kept a Texas ham on the air daily until he passed away at the age of 105.
  • And on, and on, and on.
Like this:

This is a picture of my hubby and me working inside the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) communications vehicle during the G-8 summit. A truly, truly, truly exciting week of working with some amazing people from all over the country.

Say, who is that fellow?

It sure looks like ....

By George, it IS! It's W!
Yes, indeedy, we actually met the president of the United States while we were serving during the G-8. Shook his hand. And ... he told ME thank you! Definitely a WOW moment. If you'd like to see a little more about the experience, here ya go: meeting the president

And for every amateur radio operator, no matter how young or how old, how long or short he's been licensed, the hobby/service can ... and does ... provide a whole lifetime of WOW.

Talk about appropriate. Guess what the call sign was for the amateur radio station at Atlanta's Sci Trek Museum? W4WOW! I kid you not! And trust me, it was really FUN to get on the air with that call sign, too.

It was really hard picking this topic for W. Not that I don't think it's a good one, but because I have such a totally cool picture for  WAVES.  

                                                           Oh well. Maybe next time, huh?


  1. Although W was not my favorite person, meeting the President of the US certainly was a WOW.

  2. Fascinating stuff - - and an honor to meet George (a favorite person of mine.....)

  3. Al- Hi-ya! We haven't "seen" much of each other during this challenge. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm certainly glad this isn't the worst W post you've seen. I think.

    Arleen- No matter who's holding the office, meeting the POTUS is always an honor.

    Jon- One of your drinking buddies, eh? He'd definitely be fun to hang out with at a backyard BBQ.

  4. Wave is a good word... *wave* <-- look, I'm waving.

    And wow, personally thanked by the president. There certainly were a lot of WOW moments in this post today. The passion and camaraderie really makes ya tingle.

  5. LOL :D Fantastic post. Amateur radio sounds like a ton of fun! Thanks for stopping over at my blog earlier this week, and so sorry I'm late with the return visit, but so glad I found your blog :) New follower!

  6. Carrie- Look! *W*A*V*E* That's me, waving back at ya. And yelling WOW! (I'm so easily entertained...)

    Guilie- Amateur radio IS a ton of fun. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for signing on as a follower. Welcome aboard!

  7. I'm still pondering "elected volunteer."

    I love the pics. :)

  8. We have a meet the President story too. Pooldad DJ'd Mrs. Clinton's 45th birthday party. I don't care your party affiliation, when you meet any sitting President and their family it is an HONOR.

    I am getting more excited with each new post Susan. I love the pic' of you and your husband. This WAVE post just confirms that this is the perfect hobby for Pooldad. I can't wait. I wish I could get it all together in two weeks and present it to him for our Anniversary [May 10th] instead of waiting until July, because I am about to bust. But I want to do it right and I have to much research to figure it out before then. He might end up getting for Christmas if I run into more than I can handle. heehee

    You wouldn't want to visit DC in June, would you? ::wink::

  9. hey there. thanks for following picky! i'm glad you liked the place.

    as for the flag, i've seen it around here and there. i think a friend had posted it on his or her facebook page, i shared it on mine, then i downloaded the photo and uploaded onto picky for my t post. so i don't know about copyright (i should. i really, really should). but if you like it, feel free to snag it.

  10. What a fabulous hobby you have. Wow!!

  11. Liz- Yeah, the elected volunteer designation sounds kinda weird, but it is a state-wide elected position, but no salary is involved. Instead, I had a set budget to work with each year, based on the number of ARRL members in the state, and would get reimbursed for my out-of-pocket expenses.

    Skippy- Oh, wow, how neat that your hubby DJed for Mrs. C's birthday. (I hope you got to go with him!) If you have any questions about what you're putting together, just let me know. If you'd rather have my email address so we can communicate that-a-way, that'd be fine, too.

    Criticalcrass- Cool. That pic will come in handy when I do a post about Texas. Thanks. (Prior to the A-Z, I was doing a post about one of the states each Friday.) Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for signing on as a follower. Welcome aboard!

    Delores- Thanks. I think so, too.

  12. Yay for your W post. Just before I came online, the radio was on...Just on, I wasn't paying attention. . Someone said he was getting a new hobby, ham radio. It may have been Glen Beck. Then a conversation about
    amateur radio took place. Perfect timing as I was reading your post.

  13. Manzie- YAY! Always good to hear that amateur radio got a mention in the mainstream media.

  14. I can feel your excitement and enthusiasm just reading this. What a great experience!

  15. You're right--those are totally cool waves...unless you're watching a heart monitor in the ICU! Freak! My brother was a short-wave radio whiz by the time he was, like, ten. Thanks for stopping by "begin...begin again".

  16. Hi thanks for stopping by, and checking in on Linda's new blog and signing up for mine! I'm following back 'cause I find your blog informative and fun.What a fantastic opportunity for you...meeting the President!
    Hope to hear from you soon..

  17. Julie- It really was a great experience. Kinda scary at the onset, but the atmosphere got more relaxed each day that passed without dire incident.

    Jan- Well, better to see the waves on an ICU monitor than to see their absence. (MAJOR freak!) Thanks so much for stopping by, Doc.

    Sush- Thanks for stopping by, and for signing up as a follower. Welcome aboard! Looking forward to visiting your blog again.

  18. That's a pretty fantastic WOW moment. Would be very neat to meet the President!

    Had never really thought all that much about amateur radio but it does sound like an interesting experience!

    Anna@Herding Cats & Burning Soup

  19. Anna- Yeah, it was. By the way, I don't think I remembered to tell you, but I really LOVE your blog title. (I haven't burned much soup, but I DO sometimes find myself trying to herd our two spoiled cats.)

  20. Love the pictures of you doing your thing, Sus!

    'The sense of pride and excitement experienced by early amateurs when they built their own equipment and made that first contact.'

    That sounds like a major WOW. One I would like to experience, actually.

  21. Suze- Thanks. So, as the Nike commercials say, "Just do it!" You've got the interest and the smarts. It's just a matter of going for it.

  22. Hi Susan .. I'm trying to get on your wavelength .. and can certainly feel your excitement here .. what a great time you have and had - well done.

    Love the stories about the oldies just enjoying their passion - 85 or 105 .. cheers Hilary

  23. Hilary- Not sure, but I think we're already on the same wavelength.