The Amateur Amateur

Welcome to the new home of The Amateur Amateur

The Amateur Amateur is a column about my experiences in ham radio. Since I have little technical expertise and not much knowledge of electronics, I make a lot of mistakes. I consider myself to be just an amateur amateur radio operator, but I keep pressing on and trying new things. This column details my triumphs - and foibles - and I try not to take myself too seriously. Whether you are an experienced ham or new to the hobby, I hope you find these chronicles of my efforts to be entertaining.

Gary Ross Hoffman, KB0H

August 2017

The Amateur Amateur: The New Awards (we'd all like to see)

By Gary Ross Hoffman, KB0H

row of trophies

Sigh.

I look at my wall and it is devoid of Amateur Radio awards. There are no citations, prizes, or special mentions. There is nary a trophy to be found. All I can lay claim to is the occasional letter saying, "Thanks for the contribution, please send more."

Where did I go wrong? Didn't I serve as a Volunteer Examiner? Haven't I put in countless hours as an ARES volunteer? Hasn't my column made untold hams feel better about themselves, once they've read about the dumb things that I've done? It seems to me that I've made my own small contribution to the hobby.

I think the problem is that I'm not competitive. I don't get out there and scramble to be the first, the best, or the fastest anything. The most I strive for is to be competent (often in vain, but I try). The only contests that I've worked were by accident. But, it's the competitive folks who get all of the shiny stuff.

It's not just me. I feel that there are a great number of Amateur Radio operators out there who deserve recognition for their achievements, humble though they may be. Therefore, I propose that a whole new set of awards be created.

They are:

coupon for lost parts
Coupon to help get replacement parts

Worked All Social Media Certificate

  • For getting your call sign mentioned on all social media

Diligence Citation

  • For reading every advertisement in QST
  • "Diligence Plus" if you actually bought something

The Sky Is Falling Award

  • Class 1: You fell off of a ladder
  • Class 2: You fell off the roof
  • Class 3: Your antenna collapsed (special mention if it hit you)
  • Class 4: The junk in your shack fell on you
  • Special Award: Another ham fell on you

Power Ranger Award

  • Class 1: Zapped by a car battery
  • Class 2: Zapped by a generator
  • Class 3: Zapped by household current
  • Class 4: Zapped by an electrical substation (awarded posthumously)

Lost Parts Coupons

  • One coupon for every ten tiny parts that you dropped and could never find.
  • Coupons redeemable with selected parts suppliers, or
  • redeemable at selected repair shops if parts fell into your rig.

Rainbow Award

  • For installing the wrong resistors because you misread the color codes.
  • (Color blind hams not eligible, because they should know better.)

rainbow award
Rainbow Award

Vertigo Award

  • For suddenly realizing that you are afraid of heights.

Webble Wobble Certificate

  • For setting up an Amateur Radio Web site and inviting all other hams to register with it.

The Sky Isn't Falling Award

  • For diligently reporting clear skies in your area during severe weather nets.

Dang It! Award

  • For encountering a situation in which you really need your Amateur Radio, but don't have it with you.
  • (Note: Due to the large number of eligible hams, names and call signs will be posted, but no physical certificates can be sent to awardees.)

Outta Bounds Certificate

  • For accidentally working outside of the Amateur bands while using a cheap foreign transceiver.
  • (This certificate will be delivered by the FCC.)

Joined Every Club Award

  • For joining every Amateur Radio club within a 50 mile radius.
  • Bonus award if you actually pay your dues.
  • Super bonus award if you are on committees of at least two clubs.
  • Masters Award if you provide the food.

Graduation Award

  • For giving up on that cheap first radio you bought and moving on to a better, more expensive radio.
  • Bonus award if you donated the cheap radio to a new ham.

The Sky is Falling Trophy
The Sky is Falling Trophy (class 3)

Into the Trees Award
For stringing wires into trees -

  • Class 1: Manually, using a rope with a heavy tool tied to it
  • Class 2: With a slingshot
  • Class 3: With a bow and arrow
  • Class 4: Using a spud gun
  • Class 5: Using a helicopter
  • Tarzan Award: For climbing the tree

Scientific Achievement Citation

  • For understanding how a Yagi antenna works
  • For being able to shield against EMP
  • For knowing that radio signals are carried by photons

Commiseration Certificate
If you -

  • Spent a lot of time learning Morse code, but never use it
  • Spent a lot of money on a digital mode that you never use
  • Spent a lot of effort getting a ham license, but never have time to get on the air
  • Put up a great antenna, but your community made you take it down

In Your Face Award
For being so proud of your hobby that -

  • You wear a baseball cap with your call sign on it
  • You got an official Amateur Radio license plate with your call sign on it
  • You fly a dirigible around your city with your call sign emblazoned in it

There. I think that's a good start. I'm sure that you, too, can come up with great ideas for new awards.

Now, all we need is someone to present them to us.

Glitches in the System
A series of cartoons about what really happens when your radio breaks down

Earlier columns and other stories

Non-ham-related stories

Also vist
Stan Horzepa's "Surfin'"
Eric Guth's "QSO Today'"

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