Monday, April 2, 2012

Over and Out?

Thought for the day: Over means I'm done talking and now it's your turn to transmit. Out means I'm finished with this conversation and am outta here. So when someone in a movie says ... "Over and out" ... it essentially means, go ahead and talk, but I'm not gonna be listening.

[THEME: Amateur radio}

The not-so-secret word for today is BROADCAST. 

People have long enjoyed listening to the radio.

When you turn on your car radio, there's no telling what you might hear. Could be your favorite song, and you might sing along. Or maybe it'll be a talk show host, in which case, you might be inclined to argue (i.e. scream)  an opposing point of view. One thing those seemingly different scenarios have in common is this: both are one-way transmissions. No matter how delightfully you harmonize, or how brilliant your rebuttal for the blowhard, the voices coming out of that radio can't hear you.

That is broadcast radio.

One thing amateur radio operators do NOT do is broadcast.

With amateur radio, I can certainly listen passively to other operators, but for me, the real joy lies in active participation. When a properly licensed amateur radio operator hears a voice or Morse code signal coming out of his speaker, he can 

Reach for a microphone ...

Or key ...
and respond.  He can make a quick in-and-out contact to exchange basic information, or he can hang around for a while and enjoy a friendly chit-chat. The chit-chat is commonly called a rag chew, and can be rather lengthy. My specialty. (Go figure.)

So, there ya have it. Commercial radio stations broadcast. But we hams ...  we communicate.


  1. I tend to listen to broadcast radio most of the day. I recall when CB radios were popular. I found them to be pretty annoying most of the time, but they could also be very useful.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  2. I learned something new : broadcast vs communication radio. I listen to talk radio a lot, which sometimes seems kind of mindless. But to actually "talk" would be fun!

  3. So, I'm curious, what's the difference between Ham radio and CB radio? I know when conditions were right, my dad (on his CB) could talk to people far far away. I always wondered what the difference was. Do you think Instant messaging and the internet has changed the popularity of ham radios?

  4. When I crossed country I had a CB in the truck. I used to have a friend who operated a ham radio. (that was how he met his wife, believe it or not.)

    This is all so interesting. Thanks for informing us of all this.

  5. Er, ah, OK. So, the subject is Broadcast and you talk about Communicate. Seems you're a day early. ;)

  6. All of this was way before computers and internet. I remember listening to hockey games on my grandfather's big old wooden radio...we had to be so quiet while it was on.
    Looking forward to more great posts during the A to Z Challenge. I'm a new follower and hope you can visit my blog, too.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images.

  7. Lee- When CB radio was popular in the '70s and operators actually had to get a license, it wasn't so bad, but since licensing and enforcement went away, it's gotten saturated with nasty language and behavior. On the other hand, we've been able to avoid bad traffic snarl-ups because of info we gleaned on CB, so it isn't all bad.

    Judy- It IS a lot of fun to talk to other people around the world on radio.

    Barb- There are a lot of differences between CB and ham radio. Anyone who has a CB radio can turn it on and use it. However, a CB operator is limited by law to use only like five watts of power or less on a very small portion of the radio spectrum, which makes it fine for localized communications. Hams must pass a number of tests to acquire a license, and there are multiple classes of license, and additional tests for each higher class. We have privileges on numerous bands of the radio spectrum, and can use a multitude of modes on those frequencies, and up to 1500 watts. Amateur radio is the only hobby in the world protected by an international treaty, and we are self-policing, which means, in the U.S., we work directly with the FCC to ensure our bands are "clean." I could go on and on, but that should give you an idea of some of the differences, anyway. Thanks for asking.

  8. Barb- Oops, I didn't answer your other question. Hams developed some of the computer technology now used by the public at large, so we don't find the computer or internet to be competition ... we've integrated them into innovative modes of operation. And the number of licensed hams has been rising steadily for the past decade or so. The face of radio has changed a lot since its beginnings, but I'm happy to report that lots of new faces are joining our ranks every day.

    Anne- Oh, I believe it. One of the coolest weddings I ever went to was at a hamfest. (Kinda like a combo flea market/ swap meet/ commercial sellers/ classes/ testing all in one place, and all for amateur radio.)The couple met through amateur radio, so they opted to marry at their club's fest. One of the club members was a minister, so voila! Instant wedding. Not fancy, but it sure was fun.

    Mr. C- HA! Leave it to you to point that out, huh? Some amateur radio operators even use the word broadcast to describe what we do, and that drives me up the wall. We do NOT broadcast, and I chose to use my B post to make that differentiation.

    Kathy- Yep, the radio pioneers didn't have the benefit of computers and the internet to help them along. Thanks for signing on as a new follower, and welcome aboard. I'll be happy to return the favor.

  9. Excellent, now that I have tagged on as a fellow A to Z'er I will be watching your challenge unfold carefully.
    Have a nice day
    Valleys ShutterBug

  10. Thanks for pointing out the difference. Broadcasting can send a message to many at the same time...the ham radio operator is having a "conversation" one on one. Two equally good uses of the air waves.

  11. My son's roommate is into ham radio, so I guess the fascination continues into the younger generation.

  12. Our Susan is a rag chewer. Well I'll be darned. :)

  13. I've never been a radio ham but I can see it has its attractions. I prefer to 'discuss' with the radio, then there are no arguments;-)

  14. There are so many ways to communicate today, but many of them are often a one-way conversations, i.e. facebook, twitter and texting. There are people on the other side, but not necessarily. Actually talking to someone, hearing a voice, you know, the old fashioned way of doing things, is and always will be the best way. Those are the real connections.

    I know that I could quickly become addicted to ham radio.

  15. Thanks for the information! I've known quite a few Ham radio operators in the past, but I don't know any now, so I didn't realize it was still going strong. I'm really glad to hear that it is. I feel safer knowing there's that international brotherhood (personhood!) keeping us all connected.

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  16. Hi Susan! Sorry I missed your A-to-Z kickoff yesterday -- I was out of town and got back late.

    But I LOVE this post! Great theme. But I always thought 'broadcasting' meant that the ham operator was a female... Otherwise it was 'dudecasting'. ;^)

    Happy A-to-Z!

  17. I've known a few Hams and they get 'together' and chat with morning coffee. Some have been quite heroic during emergencies, too. I enjoyed this.


  18. Most of the time radion broadcasts are too much talk (naturally) so I just turn it off but I do have a local radio station I do listen to!...great B word-love the old photos..

  19. I know a few people that need to learn the difference between broadcasting and communicating ;-)

  20. Lol The 'E' got posted in error. That's what comes form blogging pre-coffee or apre-wine. It'll be back on the proper day.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

  21. So cool. I love the term...rag chew. I bet you have a blast with this and meet the most interesting people!

  22. What fun! Is this in America? I enjoyed your post. I'm hoping your bog is one of the blogs that lets me post - others have rejected me. (Sob).

  23. Fantastic theme. I am hooked.

  24. This is so interesting. I love learning new things and I knew nothing about this. Very cool theme!

  25. Shaun- Thanks so much for signing on as a new follower, and welcome aboard! I'll be sure to return the favor asap.

    Delores- That's mostly true. Sometimes, a bunch of us are on the same frequency at the same time, so it isn't always just one-on-one.

    Linda- Yes, there's been quite a concerted effort to attract more young people into the hobby, and it's been working well.

    Carrie- Guilty as charged.

    Jabblog- Yeah, it has a lot of attractions. And I don't argue OR discuss with commercial radio... it's much better for my blood pressure not to have talk radio on at all.

    Arleen- I'll bet you'd be an excellent ham. The range of wonderful people you get to know, that you actually get to talk and laugh with, is phenomenal. You'd love it.

    Marian- What a wonderful way to put it. Amateur radio really is an international brotherhood. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Laura- Yup, and some of us rag chew better than others. I'm the queen.

    Chris- HA! Thanks for the laugh. (dude)

    Sia- Glad to hear you know some hams, and you're right, hams have always served in times of emergency. Thanks for stopping by.

    Tracy- Glad you enjoyed it. I don't listen to much broadcast radio, either. Most stations have a much different opinion than I do as to what constitutes "oldies" music. Thanks for visiting. I do appreciate it.

    Sarah- HA! I know what you mean. Some people are in the "transmit only" mode, and never take a breath long enough for anyone else to get a word in edgewise.

    Kathy- HA! I kinda thought that might've been what happened. (Shhh! I won't tell anyone!)

    Tracy Jo- You bet. As much as I love the service we hams provide, the single most important thing to me is the people we've met because of it.

    Liz- Don't cry! You posted just beautifully. And yes ma'am, I am in America, but amateur radio is all over the world.

    Suze- Cool! Thanks for coming by, and I hope you'll be back.

  26. Julie- Great, I'm really glad you like the theme. I think amateur radio is amazing, so maybe some of you guys will agree with me by the time we make it to the end of the alphabet.

  27. What an interesting post! I remember my grandfather having some radio equipment when I was little. I found it fascinating, but I vaguely remember a "look, but don't touch" rule. I wish I'd paid more attention ... you never know what you have until it's gone.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post! I'll definitely be back to check in again! I'm doing the A to Z, too. I hope you'll stop in and take a peek!

  28. This is great! The youngest of the three boys next door to me when I was growing up was into the radio. He got so well known for entering competitions he begain to use other people's names to stay out of trouble with the radio stations. My dad had to go over and ask him poilitely not to use his name any more ! HAHAH!
    This kid grew up to be a big shot at CBS. I believe he still is!
    Loved your post! jean!

  29. Cool thing to do. I've worked for radio, but never tried the amateur thing.

  30. Cherstin- (What a beautiful name!) That's a pretty profound statement, isn't it? It seems us not knowing what we have until we lose it can pretty much apply across the board. Thanks for stopping by. I did visit your blog, and loved it. Guess I'm your newest homey.

    Jean- Glad you liked the post. I visited your blog, too, but it would NOT let me comment. I tried multiple times, too. Finally gave up.(Sorry.) Once I fill in the *%$#@# verification thingy, it won't let me scroll down to publish. Maybe tomorrow.

    M- After visiting your blog, it sounds to me like you'd be a natural for amateur radio.

  31. My kids always try to play around on their dad's cb radio in the truck!

    How interesting, thank you for sharing and nice to meet you!

  32. OH, OH... I have been looking into this. I want one. I might just have to "rag chew" with you for some insight. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  33. Regarding "Over and out", is it right to say that no knowledgeable radio operator would ever end with those words, and that they are a Hollywood fabrication?

  34. See, this is just cool on so many levels, from your yam photo (fabulously funny) to your explanation of over and out and your report on ham radio operators. Awesome post.

  35. Lumberjack's Wife- Nice to meet you, too. Thanks for visiting. I got a real kick out of reading your blogpost, too.

    Jules- Cool. If you're serious about wanting to get into amateur radio, let me know, and I'll send you my email address. See if I can't hook you up with some hams in your area.

    Botanist- That's absolutely right. Pure nonsense created by writers who didn't know what they were talking (writing) about. No radio operator worth his salt would ever say it.

    Cathy- Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll be happy to return the favor.

  36. Intereseting blog. Being from the older generation, I listened to the radio a lot when I was a kid. Probably no one out there remembers, "Only the Shadow Knows!"

  37. This is very interesting, Susan! My cousin used to have a ham radio, but other than that, I don't know much about it. I enjoy harmonizing with songs on broadcast radio, happy that no one can hear me!

  38. That's a very cool hobby to have. I have a friend who is into that BIG time.

    Do you know much about Pirate Radio? I find that to be fascinating nowadays, what with the corporations having bought out the majority of broadcast radio.

  39. Feather- (Cool name!) I don't generally think of myself as being in the "older generation", but I reckon I am. The newspapers now describe people who are younger than I am as "elderly." (The nerve!) But, I remember listening to a lot of cool shows on the radio when I was a kid. (Didja know you can order a bunch of those old shows on tape?)

    Adrienne- Some songs playing on the radio simply cry out for some sing-along harmonizing. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

    Jeremy- Glad you think it's cool. I don't know much about broadcast Pirate Radio, other than what's in that movie with Christian Slater. But we have Pirates in ham radio, too. CBers who slide up and use the ham frequencies on 10M, hunters who think it's "convenient" to use ham freqs on 2M, even law enforcement folks who try using our bands rather than police band.

  40. I love your theme! I also worked at a radio station in college, and was a RTF major! Keep 'em coming! Julie

  41. Julie- Neat that you worked at a radio station when you were in college. The Mysterious Midnight Lady DJ, maybe?