HAM Radio 101

Baseball and Ham Radio Collide on April 8, 2024

April 8 is a huge day for hams who will be participating in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, an event sponsored by HamSCI (Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation). It’s a great opportunity to have a fun time on the air while playing a serious role in gathering data for important ionospheric research. Don’t miss it—the next total solar eclipse won’t be visible in North America until 2044.

For baseball fans in Northeast Ohio (many of them hams, we suspect), April 8 also marks the home opener for the Cleveland Guardians, who will battle the Chicago White Sox in a game that was moved to 5:10 p.m. to accommodate the total solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible in totality above DX Engineering headquarters near Akron, Ohio—40 miles south of the ballgame—from 3:13 p.m. to 3:17 p.m.

This rare collision of baseball and ham radio got us at OnAllBands thinking about some of the similarities between the two pursuits, as well as baseball’s greatest contribution to amateur radio—Oakland A’s all-star leftfielder Joe Rudi, NK7U, who brought the same passion to radiosport as he did to making shoestring catches for Charlie Finley’s kelly-green-and-gold-clad championship squads of the early 1970s.

Check out this video of Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO, interviewing NK7U at DX Engineering about his days taking his radio gear on the road with the A’s and his post-baseball amateur radio activities.

Tom, KB8UUZ, DX Engineering technical writer, has had great success contacting NK7U over the years.

“Joe ran a contest station from his QTH in Oregon as well as just getting on the air,” Tom said. “I was lucky to contact him 28 times between 1997 and 2016. I worked his station on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 meters.”

For those of you who are familiar with George Carlin’s hilarious monolog on the differences between baseball and football, here’s our take on the differences/similarities between baseball and ham radio:

  • In baseball, you have RBIs; in amateur radio you have RFI
  • In baseball, you scale the Green Monster; in amateur radio, you scale monster towers
  • In baseball, you run the bases; in amateur radio, you run frequencies
  • In baseball, you relay a signal; in amateur radio, you relay a signal (how about that!)
  • In baseball, you reach home safely on a grounder; in amateur radio, you safely ground your home station
  • In baseball, you have triples: in amateur radio, you have triplexers
  • In baseball, you have rotator cuff injuries; in amateur radio, you have rotators and rotator controllers
  • In baseball, there’s centerfield; in amateur radio, there’s center-fed
  • In baseball, you may be batting third in the order; in amateur radio, you may be battling third order harmonics
  • In baseball, you make double plays; at DX Engineering, we make double-shielded coaxial assemblies
  • In baseball, you may be a fan of your hometown Brewers; in amateur radio, you may be a fan of homebrewing

Any more parallels between baseball and ham radio? We’d love to hear them. Now play ball…or get on the air!

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