Amateur Radio aka ham radio...I've always been fascinated with electronics and 2-way radio communication. Some of the geeky kids in electronics class were licensed radio operators as teenagers. My uncle got a license while he was in the NAVY and could send and receive messages on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
The difficulty wasn't the rules and regulations, for me, it was the code. You need to comprehend 5 words per minute to pass the exam.
Before radio communication, there was the telegraph. A device where wires strung for thousands of miles could carry faint signals from station to station. A device called a key was tapped on and a speaker on the other end captured clicking sounds. Inventors around the world were beginning to use this device and inventor Samuel Morse devised an alphabetical system of varying spaced clicks. dit and dah is the easy way to describe the sounds. dits were short and dahs were long! This was knows as Morse Code.
Wireless radio communication, didn't have voice capability in the beginning. Radio receivers could only detect clicks and Morse Code was used to send and receive message over the air. It worked so well, that a watt of transmitting power could be heard half-way around the world.
Receivers became more elaborate and voice communication became possible. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maintained that radio operators be proficient in Morse Code to get licensed.
My friends were using Citizens Band (CB) radio where the FCC allowed people to use low power 5 watt radios for voice communication and no testing was required for licensing. The CB radio was only good for a few miles. That lead to bigger antennas, more power and the ability to talk farther/further. It was a hobby I had for at least 10 years.
Not far from my home is a county park and in a fenced area is an antenna farm of many different sized antenna arrays. I rarely see any cars at the compound until one day last week, about 20 cars were out front. They were having a BBQ for an open house to attract new members.
I was curious and stopped in to ask a few questions.
It's been years since I talked on a 2-way radio and since then, the FCC (realizing new membership had fallen off) no longer required the operator to be proficient in Morse Code.
I still have some vintage ham radio gear. Two of the transceivers were fully restored by a technician 5 years ago. Do I want to do this?
Groan... I'm living in a condo and not allowed to mount an antenna on the roof.
All this to talk to a bunch of guys my age who discuss their radios and the money invested in this hobby.
My thought 5 years ago was to sell the gear I have and not bother with amateur radio.
Maybe I'm of the same mindset today.