Saturday, April 21, 2012

Well, Isn't That Special?

Thought for the day: Absolute zero is really cool.

[THEME: Amateur radio]

There are lots of cool things about amateur radio. Today, we're gonna talk about one that encompasses a wide range of possibilities: SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS.

By now, it should be no secret that we amateur radio operators enjoy making on-the-air contacts with other amateurs. We also enjoy running or making contacts with specifically designated special event stations, which operate for a limited period of time in conjunction with a particular event, location, person, historical happening, anniversary, or a whole slew of other things. Like the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and the World Series. Groups wishing to put one of these stations on the air can apply for a special callsign, too, which is issued for use during  a designated period of no more than two weeks at a clip.

What kinds of excuses reasons do we use to support a special event? All kinds of stuff. The only thing that limits us is our imagination. Some of the certificates I have for working special event stations include things like
  • operations from numerous museum ships
  • various anniversaries of military battles and disasters
  • to mark the first flight of the F-22
  • from Kennedy Space Center in conjunction with a launch
  • from Calaveras County in honor of the famous jumping frog
  • Nude Awareness Celebrations (Now, they were some funny conversations!)
  • operations from numerous lighthouses
Matter of fact, my husband and I joined a group of other Atlanta hams to operate a special event station multiple times from one of South Georgia's lighthouses.
Yup, that's me with the mike. Not sure who the fella is NOT operating. Probably one of the locals. It took us crazy Atlanta folks to get the Tybee Island lighthouse on the air for the first time. The locals know August is too bloody hot for outdoors operations, so mostly some of them stopped in for an early morning visit before retreating to the air conditioning. We went down there for several years, though, and had a blast.

And that's the QSL card we used one year. We issued both cards and certificates. See?


Interested in reading more about one of my all-time favorite Special Event Stations? WW2LST was the call sign used by am amazing team of grizzly veterans who went to Greece, worked their buns off to make an old WWII LST seaworthy, and then brought her back to the U.S. Those guys are REALLY special.

[My hubby and I are catching up with old friends this weekend, so as you're reading this, I'm nowhere near my computer. (Thank goodness for auto-posting!) So I won't be visiting your blogs for a while. Sorry. But I always love the super duper comments you guys and gals always leave here, and promise I'll respond to every one of them asap. Happy weekend, y'all!]


  1. What a neat hobby you have. You and Hubby must meet a lot of interesting people and have have super outings doing this. Just like this special weekend you are having.

  2. I'm trying to figure why (in photo 2) you're sitting on a yellow checked tablecloth. I'm sure there's a perfectly understandable Radio Ham Special Event Reason, but I'm puzzled. Hope you had a good weekend!

  3. You can't fool me Suzy. I know you go down to Tybee so you can hang out in Savannah a while. Can't say as I blame you. I love Savannah. And Tybee. There was a really cool restaurant on the right just as you cross onto the island. Coco's. Is it still there?

  4. Love the picture of you with the mike!

  5. I get more excited with each passing installment about amateur radio you post. Your enthusiasm and love of it is contagious.

    May I have your permission to print out all of your posts to bind and give to Pooldad for his birthday? I am hoping to have a good enough understanding by July to be able to cobble together the basic "starter" pieces to get him going and a good book[S!] that describes how to do it.

    If you knew my husband IRL you would understand better what an EPIC hobby this is going to be for him. Normally I wouldn't choose a hobby for anyone, but there are so many facets of this that I KNOW will appeal to him and he will LOVE to do it.

    The only downfall to the whole plan is I am sealing my fate of many nights and weekends alone while he is in the his workroom because he will be tinkering and communicating all over the world. YAY!

    If you don't want me to print them out I completely understand - but I do promise it will only be for our home and his reading pleasure, with full credit of course. :D
    If you could think of any publications that are "must haves" for the beginner I would love to get started now to be able to build up what he needs in the next 3 months. Thank you and hope you are enjoying your friends. Who am I kidding? You're having a blast, aren't you? heehee

  6. This is my favorite entry yet. How fun!
    It's hard to believe this is called "amateur," you guys do so much and seem like total pros to me.

  7. Hi Susan .. sounds fun .. and getting together with other Hams .. then doing a first Special .. excellent ..

    cheers Hilary

  8. Manzie- You're right. We've met some truly remarkable people and enjoyed some incredible outings because of our involvement with amateur radio. And I think just about every ham in the world feels pretty much the same way about it.

    Cro- If I'm reading your comment right, I think this might be meant as a compliment, so I'll just say, "Merci beaucoup."

    Mr. C- If that restaurant was still there, I don't remember it. But we did find a dive of a place about halfway between Tybee and Savannah. It's called Teeples, and they serve steamed crabs the way steamed crabs ought to be served. Paper spread on big wooden tables. A hole in the center of the table, and under the hole, a garbage can. It must be time for us to go back, too, because my Teeple's tee shirt is getting a little threadbare. (On the back it says, "Give a friend crabs." HA!)

    Skippy- (Yes, I had an absolute blast!) Of course, you can print 'em out, if you'd like. You'll lose all the links, videos, and neat-o moving visuals, but if you wanta do it, go for it. First book you'd need for Pooldad would probably be a technician class study guide of some kind. You might be able to find one at your local book store, but if not, you can order it through the ARRL. ( All the information he'd need to pass his entry level test can be found in their manual. If there's a ham club in your area, I'm sure someone from the club would be happy to loan you guys the book and to provide any mentoring you may need to understand the info. They might even teach classes. Since your hubby likes to tinker, he might also like the ARRL book called "Basic Radio." It covers electronics basics and has some building projects. Your local library may have the book "Ham Radio for Dummies." I haven't looked at it personally, but I know some guys have used it as the text for ham classes, so it must be pretty good.

    Lady- Only because it IS!

    Jules- Oh, me too! What a great place, huh?

    Julie- I could tell you a bunch of stories about the many, many times "amateurs" have helped "pros" and pulled their bacon out of the fire. The "amateur" tag just means we can't accept money for providing our services.

    Hilary- It is. It's a LOT of fun.

  9. I think I would especially love working in conjunction with a launch from the Space Center! I can't imagine the thrill of being involved with such a special event.

  10. Suze- You're back! YAY! It would really be cool to be involved on the launch side of things; I only got to talk to them on the radio from home. (Still, pretty darned neat!)