I'm not sure if "Hammie" is a real word. Please note I used the more feminine spelling, ending with "ie" rather than "y." I'm not sure why I did that. But it works for me! I've gotten over my fear of talking on the radio. The first week I had my radio, I would get heart palpitations and chicken out when I thought I might use it. I used it the first time in Bako, where I knew someone to try and talk to. It's weird, the Ham radio thing. Because when you are used to voicemail/answering machines, or busy signals, or just plain old ringing... it's odd that you just call out into space, and people are listening. Sometimes. Most of the time. But if the person you are calling isn't listening, you don't get a response. Well, sometimes you do, but not from the person you were thinking. Hams can be very good at small talk. With a Ham radio, you can't leave a message. It's a new world of communication for me. I remember the pre-internet days really well, pre-cell phone, etc. I'm 32, and my parents weren't really into gadgets that much. (Atari and Nintendo excepting.) This Ham radio business has been around a long time.
Today I heard our Bishop calling Ryan. (Calling someone sounds like this: "Your call sign first, my call sign second"... wait, wait, wait. So if you call me, you would say KJ6FIU, then your sign.) I happen to know that Ryan is working and probably didn't have his radio... so I answered for him. B was traveling, I think... he's a truck driver. I was at our somewhat local pizza place, eating outside. (Our somewhat local pizza place is also next to our somewhat local laundomat... my washer kicked the bucket mid wash-cycle today. FUN!!!!!) After I got done talking to him, a somewhat local ham radio celebrity called me! Because Ham's are almost always listening. I talked to him for a minute. Then, later I checked in with the local "net." Think Facebook for Hams. Like, one moderator is in control, does roll call, QST's (I have NO IDEA what those are, except I've heard local weather updates and weekend happenings...) and then up here there is time for discussions of random thoughts. Like everything else in my technological life, we don't get "it" at my house. No high-speed internet, no free TV, no cell phone service, and very little-very staticky radio. We have little hand-held radios that work really well in town and in the big Bako, but not where we live. So, we are looking into a stronger mobile unit and/or base station. The whole reason I got my license is because Ryan made me. Not really. But he told me how great it would be to be able to be in the mountains around our house and call home to check in. That had me sold. Our kids will be able to live like in the good old days and go out exploring all by themselves, but only so long as they have passed the Ham radio test so they can be contacted. Plus, Ham radios are good in emergencies, and since Ryan is in a civil service type occupation, if there is ever a true community or state emergency, I'm on my own. I'd like to know what's going on in the world.