Ed Deichler has loved radio for as long as he can remember and has been tinkering with his own equipment in the comfort of his home for years.
“Amateur radio operators contact people from other lands,” said Deichler, president of the Nashua Area Radio Club. “We talk around the world.”
The Nashua Area Radio Club operates under the American Radio Relay League. In 2014, the league will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the Hartford, Conn., headquarters.
“The FCC no longer requires people to need to know morse code [to get a license],” Deichler said. “It helped out the hobby a lot. A lot of people didn’t bother with it, and now there’s a lot more enthusiasm.”
Deichler operates his equipment in his home through the use of a computer that allows him to use a digital mode. He can talk, use video and type to others all around the world. He uses the radio system he built himself mostly on weekends and loves to tinker with his antennas.
“It’s one area where you can try something and get it to work and tune it,” Deichler said. According to him, it’s almost impossible to build systems yourself today.
Most recently, Deichler was able to communicate with amateur radio operators in some islands around the Indian Ocean. Operators often take part in DXpeditions, where they will travel to a remote location and have other operators try to find them.
“It’s amazing what we have been able to do,” Deichler said of the DXpeditions. “People really get a kick out of it.”
Deichler has even traveled to the island of Grenada.
But it’s not all fun and games.
“Above all, amateur radio exists because it performs as a backup for emergencies,” Deichler said.
Deichler spoke of amatuer radio operators who helped out emergency officials in the times of Hurricane Katrina and the floods in Colorado.
“It was used to see if relatives were OK,” Deichler said. “It was the only communication at one point.”
Each year there is a National Ham Convention in May in Dayton, Ohio, that thousands of amatuer, or ham, radioists attend. Locally, there is one in Deerfield that Deichler attends. Those in the hobby can bring their equipment to show off or sell. They can also buy or look at new models coming out.
There are five classes of licenses: novice, technical, general, advanced and extra. With each license class comes an upgrading of privileges and a specific call number. Deichler’s call number is K2TE.
Any licensed amateur radio operator is welcome to join the club. Those interested can fill out a membership form online and mail it in, along with the annual fee of $20. New members will receive a badge and a copy of the monthly newsletter.
At the radio club’s monthly meetings, there is a presentation with a speaker about different topics related to the hobby. They may talk about emergency requirements, restoring antique systems or DXpeditions.
Nashua's Area Radio Club has monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. The club meets at the First Church of Nashua.
As seen in the December 19th, 2013 issue of The Hippo