Have you seen the Starnger Things? We have watched every episode with flushed cheeks. That is why we were more than happy about the short presentation by Kuba Kowalik, our Junior DevOps, who told us things about Amateur radio that we have never dreamed of!

On a late Friday morning we sat comfortably in the spacious kitchen of our office to experience Kuba’s hobby and to make contact with the world. It all started with a theory – what is ham radio, who are amateur radio operators and when do they step into action to help others.

 

The theory of short waves
We found out that amateur radio operators are actually an organized group! The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) specifies the rules of Amateur Radio Service, which according to what Kuba said: “It aims to provide self-education, interconnectivity and technical education to amateurs interested in technology”. What’s more, there is an entire system for promoting talented liaisons, where individuals collect diplomas for achievements of all kinds.
We also know what the abbreviation QSO means, the confirmation of communication, used by both radio amateurs and radio stations.

The perks of shortwave broadcasting
It is not only the drive for technology that induces shortwave fans to build their own radio sets! It is also an interesting experience, thanks to which you can meet interesting people from all over the world. Kuba managed to establish contact with Israel, and
another Polish amateur radio operator talked to King Hussein of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal, who wished not to be addressed as „Your Majesty” while on the waves, because all the liaisons were equal and immediately go to a first-name basis.

Other well-known radio amateurs include: Marlon Brando, Priscilla Presley, Rajiv Gandhi and Jurij Gagarin. The presence of the latter is least surprising, because, as Kuba has said, astronauts need to know things, because communication is one of their tasks to do while they drift into orbit. As a result, they can communicate not only with other research stations or part of the team that remained on Earth. You can talk to them about what they do apart from being an astrophysicist, mathematician, or rocket builder! In one of the high schools in Wroclaw, a meeting was organized during which students connected with the space station to ask the astronauts their mind-boggling questions.

This is not the end of the curiosities related to amateur radio! Kuba knew how to catch our attention, preparing a number of anecdotes. For dessert, he told us about a daredevil, Dominik 3Z9DX, who negotiated the possibility of arriving and receiving a call sign in … North Korea! He succeeded and it is possible that this will happen again in 2019. We are already looking forward to it!

Crisis communication
The history of amateur radio is not limited to well-known people and a chat about the universe. It’s also tedious work in unfavorable conditions. Shortwave broadcasting allows connectivity to be maintained even during the magnetic storm and in other situations where other channels of communication fail. During World War II, Polish radio amateurs in exile in the UK constructed radios, which were used during Operation Overlord in Normandy.
When Hurricane Irma hit the US, radio amateurs from the south of the United States used their equipment and skills to support the civilian population and the emergency services in the struggle against the elements.

Short waves in practice
Kuba has decided to show us what the process of communications looks like live. We waited for the signal from other radio amateurs with bated breath. Although the timing was not good and we were not able to make contact with any being, we had a great time imagining ourselves as the main characters of an action movie.

It sounded more or less like this:

 

Although not everyone has the skills to build their own radio, Kuba instilled a real curiosity in us by showing us how passion brings people together.
And would you like to try your hand at making contact?