Ham Radio Operators at Otterbein Granville

Posted on: April 21, 2022

By Otterbein resident Steve K.

We came to Kendal at Granville, now Otterbein Granville, in 2014, not only because it’s an attractive place to live, but also because we were given permission to put up outside antennas to sustain our hobby of amateur radio.

Dave Richards, one of the founders of this amazing retirement community and fellow alum from Denison University here in Granville, kept encouraging us to come here sooner rather than later in life so we could enjoy all this community has to offer.

We explained to Dave that one of our hobbies was amateur radio, and it really required outside antennas to be effective. He said residents are encouraged to bring their hobbies with them, and indeed, we were permitted to put up antennas outside the cottage we selected.

What Is Amateur Radio?

Amateur, or ham, radio is a form of radio communications licensed by the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. Hams need to pass a test to qualify for a license. We became licensed in the 1970s and have been active ever since in this oldest-of-all social media.

We communicate by voice, by using digital (computer-to-computer) communications, and we still even use Morse code. Surprisingly, Morse code has remained very popular even though testing is no longer part of the FCC exams. 

People ask if ham radio has become defunct because of the Internet. No, hams have used the Internet in creative ways to stay on the leading edge of technology, and ham radio is more popular than ever before.

How Is Ham Radio Beneficial in Emergencies?

It is both a hobby and an emergency communications service that serves society well in times of natural and man-made disasters when the phone system and Internet fail and power outages occur.

Ham radio is point-to-point and requires no network infrastructure to permit communications. All hams need are relatively low-power radios, batteries or generators, and antennas.

To volunteer in emergency situations, training is needed in order to handle emergency communications and to work with agencies like FEMA and Red Cross.

Where Can You Set Up a Ham Radio Station at Otterbein Granville?

Our station is state of the art and occupies a comfortable but compact corner of the den in our Goldenrod cottage. We have two radios, one on top of the desk, and one completely under the desk totally operated by a laptop computer. We use the desktop radio for voice and Morse code, and use the computerized one for digital communications.

There are two outside antennas, one for worldwide communications and one for regional communications. We also have a third indoor antenna for local, countywide communications.

If you’re an amateur radio operator, or you want to be and are afraid you can’t enjoy the hobby because of outside antenna restrictions, rest assured that outside antennas are indeed allowed here. And we would welcome you with open arms!

On the other hand, if you once had a neighbor who was a ham and your only recollection is his messing up your TV reception, have no fear! With modern radios and digital TV, that kind of interference is a thing of the distant past.

Ready to explore your hobbies at Otterbein Granville?

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