No, I’m not talking about the person who photo-bombs every photo or monopolizes every conversation. I’m talking about a ham (amateur) radio operator. It’s quite possible there is a ham in your family tree. Maybe someone who has passed but maybe someone who hasn’t, too.
This past weekend was the annual Field Day event for amateur radio operators. Field Day is a contest to make as many contacts as possible and to practice operating under less than optimal conditions. For more information about Field Day, click here: Field Day and search for ‘field day’
Skills are practiced and used, too, when hams help with events like marathons and parades, or when they participate in exhibits at fairs or museums. Keeping these skills honed ensures hams are ready when our modern communication systems go down like in times of natural or man-made disasters.
There are several hams in my family. My husband and I are both hams, as well as both of our children. My husband is always proud to share with other hams that he has an all-ham family! His father is a ham, and his late grandfather was one, too.
My daughter was able to change her assigned amateur call sign to that of her great-grandfather, a man she’s never met. Still, she feels like she knows him from all she’s heard about him. We’ve been keeping him alive through stories and photos.
Back to your family. Ham radio operators were trained as communication personnel by all branches of the military during WW2. Each branch maintained training schools, and the government actively sought out amateur radio operators because of the skills they already had. It was easy to find them, too, since hams carry a federal license to operate an amateur radio.
The links below may help you as you search for records and details about amateur radio and your ham relatives, details that will add depth to your family history.
For each of the following resources, do a search for ‘radio’ to get the record number(s).
Are you or someone in your family tree a ham?
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