A mildly entertaining look at radio hams, those amateurs sending and
receiving coded messages during the late thirties when films first
dealt with the subject of "radio hams." In this case, the ham
operators manage to be helpful during situations of stress, using
their abilities with code to help someone in distress and to seek aid
for pilots flying a missing plane.
The humorous ending has the family gathered around the radio listening
to someone speaking Chinese while the narrator tells us how impressed
the family was to be hearing someone across the world on their radio
"Radio Hams" do more than play with their machines. They are also
invaluable in relaying vital information during times of tragedy and
This little vintage film, a rather more serious film than many of Pete
Smith's other presentations, takes a look at how ham radios can become
priceless aids during emergencies. The two stories shown, one dealing
with sickness, the other with a missing plane, are bookended by a
humorous look at a typical three-generation family's fascination with
their ham radio.
Of course, amateur radio, or "ham radio", is alive and doing very
well, in our modern times. Using satellites, moon-bounce
communications, repeater networks, as well as shortwave, mediumwave,
and longwave telecommunications technology, amateur radio continues to
provide emergency services in times of need, from hurricanes,
tornadoes, earthquakes, and even during such times as the infamous
9/11 atrocity. But, amateur radio also breeds invention and
experimentation, always at the cutting edge of science. It is a hobby
worth investigating, having room for a wide-range of interests.
Preppers, science lovers, experimenters, and those with a passion to
meet people from all over the world by way of radio waves, all
together make up the radio hobby of amateur radio.
Clayton Moore, later famous as the Lone Ranger, appears uncredited as
a ship radio operator.
Tomas David Hood (Amateur Radio, NW7US)
Contributing editor, Propagation Column:
CQ Magazine, CQ VHF, Popular Communications
Space Weather: http://sunspotwatch.com/
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