It’s been a year since I qualified as an amateur radio operator. I have my licence and I am entitled to speak with people around the World using very basic equipment. I have long held an interest in radio and I used to listen to my little yellow transistor radio under my pillow until well into the night when I ought to have been trying to sleep. As I grew up, my interest remained firmly out there on the airwaves and I’d listen to all kinds of nonsense in many different languages. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand them, the fact that I could hear these voices coming from Budapest and Brussels was a constant wonder and I tuned in, night after night.
I am now legally allowed to join this buzzing band of wavelength wonders but I have a slight difficulty. The people on the amateur radio bands are, for the main part, quite dull and have very little of any worth to speak about. I have heard grown men speaking about roast chickens and garage doors. I have heard them speaking about leaky guttering and disappointing cups of tea. I have turned on and tuned in to the most in depth conversations about dry cleaning. My goodness, this is not what I expected to hear. I thought that we’d be setting the world ablaze with talk of music, art, travel…. “How is life with you? Your location sounds amazing, tell me about it.” None of that seems to happen as I listen to people mithering on about sausages. I studied and took an exam to join this world of wireless wilfreds and I wonder whether it was worth the hassle?
I mainly use my radios to listen to the doormen at the nightclubs in town. I am always guaranteed a laugh from those guys as they sling the troublemakers out of the various pubs in town. One in particular really sticks in my mind as the punter who was ejected was a bloke in “a smart shirt and an orange tutu.” He really sounds like he cut a dash. That’s the sort of thing that I had hoped for from amateur radio. Characters! Stories! Fun!
I shall go back to twiddling around the shortwave bands again. I understand that Belgian World Service is rather good.