Samantha and Joey Hudson lost their son in a motor vehicle collision on I440 in Nashville on May 15th,  2017. Samantha is a Dispatcher for Lebanon Police department in Tennessee Samantha was also injured in the crash and unable to work.  Please send donations to:

Samantha Hudson c/o Lebanon Police department 406 TENNESSEE BLVD Lebanon, TN 37138




20170509_184705A recent meeting of the minds at our monthly radio league get together started out unlike any other meeting. The president of the club walked in to the meeting carrying a glass punch bowl. This punch bowl was just like the ones you’ve all seen in the movies where some misguided youth pours a fifth of PGA in while the teachers are distracted at prom.

But on this particular night he had something up his sleeve, something that quite possibly had never been done before at any club meeting.

As we called the league meeting to order using the standard parliamentary procedure.. The introduction was “H.A.M RADIO SUCKS!” as the secretary hammered away his meeting notes on a 1970’s model typewriter. Ears’s perked and attention drew to the punch bowl and a huge stack of brightly colored cue cards sitting next to it.

Yes, the meeting was going to be different from all the other meetings that are typically filled with talk of  band openings and who purchased the latest and greatest  radio.

You see, in recent years the FCC has issued a record number of amateur radio licenses, we have well over 700,000 licensed amateurs in the U.S alone, but the repeaters are just sitting out on their respective hill tops’ wishing they could pickup a tone.

As the FCC certifies more and more radio operators, local club membership continues to slip downward. And even if a club has a few members join here and there the participation rate with those clubs is dismal at best.

Why you ask? Well the punch bowl was about to tell us…


The cue cards and markers were handed out to everyone in attendance that night and we were asked to write down everything we hated about our amateur radio hobby with one request ” Tonight, we’re not criticizing any negativity” . At first we had laughs and giggles and then some people jokingly started to refuse and said  ” I enjoy the hobby”  or “What’s wrong with ham radio”.

Eventually everyone settled down and started to realize we had to participate to figure out what was up his sleeve. The gripes started to fill the bowl. As each dislike and gripe was written the gripe/dislike was announced to the group. Here are a few.. ” Not enough young people.”/ ” People think I’m Weird”/ ” My radio is not a chick magnet” / “People associate me with other crazy operators”/ “Too expensive”/ “Too many Rules”/ “I hate having my personal info out there”/”Everyone in the hobby is old”/ ” I hate it when people use ham radio as an acronym H.A.M.”/ “Too many cliques”.  It went on and on.

As you can see in the picture, just about everyone had plenty of filled out cards in the bowl. Even the folks that loved everything about the hobby filled out some cards with dislike they had “heard of” before from other folks.

The point soon became crystal clear. We had a room full of radio operators that love this hobby and we managed to fill a punch bowl full of reasons this hobby is awful. We eventually went back through and found solutions and rebuttals  (too many to list here) that each one of our members could articulate to the massive amount of licensed operators and general public out there that are not participating in this fun hobby, so that maybe they to could enjoy the hobby and learn to embrace the honesty that not everyone is perfect. By reviewing the negatives we can better appreciate and spread the positives of our loved hobby.

God Bless and “Key that Mic”

WCRL- John McKinney- PIO

Curious about Radio Operation?


The WCRL is dedicated to helping further amateur radio as a hobby and as a service. We encourage everyone interested in the hobby to contact their local amateur radio club. Most clubs are happy to assist newcomers and often have a combined experience of several decades in the hobby. If the WCRL happens to be your local club, then  it’s a WIN WIN!

With that said, here are some resources that we have compiled to help those who may be interested in the hobby.

This is an article that pretty well goes over the basics of “What is ham radio?”

Why should I become a ham?

Hams are just people. Every single one of us is different and I would argue that no two of us use amateur radio quite the same. Some of us just have a knack for tinkering and building. Many hams are passionate about Emergency services and use the hobby to serve their community as a volunteer. Some of us just like the idea of being able to communicate no matter what, independently of anyone else. With all the variety in our hobby, there is definitely something for everyone in ham radio.

How do I become a ham?

All amateur radio operators must be licensed by the FCC. There is no age limit any American citizen who is not a representative of a foreign government may obtain a license.

Most hams start with the Technician level license which will give you all the operating privileges you need to get started in the hobby, though many of us do chose to upgrade later. In order to get a Tech license you must pass a 35 question multiple choice exam with questions on FCC laws, basic operating procedures and basic electronics theory. Anyone who studies can pass this test, second graders have done it before.  The test costs $15 and your license will be good for 10 years.


There are many different ways to go about studying for your exam. There are often times local classes, and books such as The ARRL Handbook   can be purchased. However you can also learn everything you need to know online for free. I studied this down to earth questions and answers online guide known as the No Nonsense Technician Class then went on to take flashcards and practice tests at HamExam  No matter how you decide to study, I encourage you to take a free online practice test before you begin to see where you are and get a feel for the test.

Finding a testing session

Tests are no longer administered by the FCC, but by volunteer examiners (VE’s). Most amateur radio clubs have their own VE team and hold periodic VE sessions. To look for a VE session near you visit The ARRL

Getting started

Now you have your callsign, whats next? The best way to start is by meeting some other local hams. It doesn’t really matter how. I encourage you to join your local amateur radio club, but this may not be possible for everyone. Regardless of how you do it, meeting some other hams is a great way to start. I could go into the specifics of buying radios, repeater usage and so fourth, but that is what the local club is for. Clubs are a wealth of information, so use it!

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