For These Vets, Amateur Radio Remains Alive

The Wall Street Journal


Satellites killed the military radio star operator long ago, but military veterans keep the art alive in competitions testing their ability to bounce signals off the ionosphere and contact amateur radio stations a half world away.

In their minds, the contestants know technology has gone too far and the days of radio are past. Still, the intimate knowledge of the electromagnetic spectrum learned during a career in military and intelligence agencies offers some advantages. And the military’s love for antiquated communications is well established—from their use of signal flags to messages sent, teletype-style, in all capital letters. Ham radio competitions elicit a similar passion—and knowledge of some dying skills.

Current and former military service members will anchor two of the top teams gathering in the Boston area this weekend for what amounts to the World Cup of ham radio, officially the World Radiosport Team Championship 2014.

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