Pressured into doing ham radio?
I got my license
Your dad made you do it, your husband talked you into it, your bishop gave you a church
assignment that requires it, or for some other reason, you had to go get a ham radio
license, through no desire of your own. Ok, I get that.
Well, here you are, sitting in a classroom or holding some geeky gadget that has little
relevance to your life, so now what? My hope with this page is not so much to talk you
into liking ham radio, but maybe to make the best of an otherwise possibly unpleasant
experience. Let's see whether I can address some of your concerns.
Our family already uses walkie-talkies on trips
If your family enjoys the outdoors, you'll find that a small handheld ham radio can reach other family
members traveling with you a lot better than the bubble-wrapped walkie-talkies you can get at Costco
and Home Deopt. When you're hiking or camping or biking or roading away from cell service, you might
be able to stay in contact with each other by radio, in case plans change or you have an emergency,
even when you stray miles from one another.
I'm only doing ham radio because it gets my
off my back
He probably harassed you for months to get your license, until you finally caved to his demands. Or
you got your license out of a labor of love, just to show him how much you care. But now that
he's no longer putting on the pressure, there's no need for you to pick up that radio ever again, right?
Well, on one hand, you can actually use it to listen in on his conversations. He'll be tickled pink if
you were to ask him to program your radio with all the frequencies he uses, then you can eavesdrop all
you want, when you want.
I'm a woman, and ham radio is more of a man's hobby
On the other hand, if you don't ever foresee yourself using the radio, you can stow it in your
with the battery removed, so that it's part of your
But if you do, be sure to add a removable battery case full of alkaline batteries, instead of a
rechargeable battery, since rechargeables need periodic checking to make sure they're still charged.
Yes, the world of ham radio is currently dominated by men, mostly because their
devices had once required some level of technical knowledge to operate and
maintain, and most women tend to shy away from gadgets like that. Still, the
ham radio world is changing (and so are women!), requiring the hobbyist
to possess very little technical background or knowledge to keep up with more
My church leader asked me to do this as part of my calling
It's not about you. It's about helping others when your help might really be needed. Operating a
ham radio might not be your most favorite activity, but your service could be the means of saving
somebody's life in the event of a big emergency.
Unlike cell phone technology, ham radio just seems old-school and outdated
Because of numeric displays, protruding antennas, and the half-duplex method of talking, ham radio
can seem to be stuck in the past. Yet it might help to remember that this seemingly outdated communication
method can be more reliable during a large-scale disaster, and "keeping radio simple but powerful in an
old system" is one of the things that make it so reliable.
Ham radios are heavy and clunky and have unsightly antennas
It's true that even a handheld ham radio is typically heavier than a smart phone. Cell phones have antennas
too, but they're hidden inside the case, and their higher-frequency and lower-power needs don't require
the larger antennas. One reason ham radios are heavier is that their higher power requires heftier
batteries, which is needed for the farther reach that can help you when all the nearby cell towers become
unavailable or overloaded. And ham radios are getting smaller, lighter, and less gadget-looking all the
I'm embarrassed to be seen with one of those things
Instead of imagining a ham radio as the sexy device your spouse does, you probably just
see it as a millstone around your neck, or worse yet, a noose. Well, the good
news for you is that you don't need to carry a clunky looking radio around with you
like you would a phone. Then again, when people see you using an official-looking
gadget like a ham radio, their respect for you and confidence level in your
emergency communication ability tend to go up. During a time of real crisis, people
need somebody they can look up to for leadership and hope, and in a small way your
geeky device can actually help them feel a bit more secure, because somebody who
knows what she's doing is at the controls.
I've seen the people who do ham radio, and they're not my type
There's definitely a stereotype and a stigma among the ham radio community, and
fortunately that image is slowly changing for the better. Women hams and younger
hams are being born every week, gradually replacing the good-ole-boys-club of
that currently dominate the airwaves in some parts of the country. Your
participation can help give the face of ham radio a friendlier, more civil and
modern look. And as others see or learn about your involvement, it can't help
but change their attitudes about ham radio either.
Ok, I'll do ham radio, but only as little as I can get away with
Operating a ham radio requires more than simply turning it on and talking. It
takes a little training to become acquainted with it, and some practice to
turn this brick into a real lifesaving instrument. It might be worth your
while to join a
ham radio net,
such as a
church net or a
which can provide a little training, but more importantly, help you become
familiar with your radio or give you the opportunity to commiserate and
share your predicament with others.
Questions? Ask Noji (KNØJI) Like what you see? Consider a small donation