Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio

Overview

To an outsider, the world of ham radio is one of basement transmitters, clunky microphones, Morse code, and crackly, possibly clandestine, worldwide communications, a world both mysterious and geeky. But the real story is a lot more interesting: indeed, there are more than two million operators worldwide, including people like Walter Cronkite and Priscilla Presley. Gandhi had a ham radio, as do Marlon Brando and Juan Carlos, king of Spain.
Hello World takes us on a seventy-year ...
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Overview

To an outsider, the world of ham radio is one of basement transmitters, clunky microphones, Morse code, and crackly, possibly clandestine, worldwide communications, a world both mysterious and geeky. But the real story is a lot more interesting: indeed, there are more than two million operators worldwide, including people like Walter Cronkite and Priscilla Presley. Gandhi had a ham radio, as do Marlon Brando and Juan Carlos, king of Spain.
Hello World takes us on a seventy-year odyssey through the world of ham radio. From 1927 until his death in 2001, operator Jerry Powell transmitted radio signals from his bedroom in Hackensack, New Jersey, touring the worlds most remote locations and communicating with people from Greenland to occupied Japan. Once he made contact with a fellow ham operator, he exchanged postcards known as QSLs cards with them. For seven decades, Powell collected hundreds of these cards, documenting his fascinating career in amateur radio and providing a dazzling graphic inventory of people and places far flung.
This book is both an introduction to the fascinating world of ham and a visual feast for anyone interested in the universal language of graphic design.
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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
"CQ, CQ, CQ, this is W2OJW, calling CQ. Whiskey Two Oscar Juliet Whiskey in Hackensack, New Jersey, standing by for a call.” For seventy-four years, before his “key went silent,” in 2001, this was the nightly appeal of Jerry Powell, an aeronautical engineer, amateur trombonist, and avid ham-radio operator. Powell’s devotion to vacuum tubes, multiband yagis, parallel RLC circuits, and midnight conversations with fellow-hams from Moscow to Montevideo is celebrated by Danny Gregory and Paul Sahre in the colorful Hello World: A Life in Ham. Hams, as Gregory and Sahre discovered, "come in all shapes and sizes and live all over the world." Although ham radio is generally considered an arcane pastime reserved for microhenry-obsessed nerds, recent estimates put the number of worldwide hams at more than two million, including such devoted practitioners as Marlon Brando (ham call sign FO5GJ), Donny Osmond (WD4SKT), George Pataki (K2ZCZ), and King Juan Carlos of Spain (EA0JC).

The first hams, or narrowcasters, pop up in Edward D. Miller's Emergency Broadcasting, a rumination on the nature and meaning of early radio. Miller, who likens radio in the nineteen-thirties to the Internet in its first decade, gives us the untamed era of Herbert Morrison's broadcast of the Hindenburg disaster and Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds." In those days, voices in the ether inspired utopian visions, prompting Collier's to assert that radio would create a "strong and well-knit people" It"s a notion that today's hams -- ensconced in the purple glow of their transmitters -- continue to broadcast.

(Mark Rozzo)
The New York Times
This book is a profusely visual, clever and handsomely designed (the title on the book cover is not set in words but in Morse code) paean to ham radio presented through reproductions of hundreds of QSL cards and other ephemera collected and annotated for more than 70 years by an avid New Jersey enthusiast and found by the authors at a flea market after he died. Instant messaging and e-mail have made ham radio virtually obsolete, but these QSL's from all over the world recall the days when strange and wonderful voices filled the airwaves. — Steven Heller
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568982816
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 819,279
  • Product dimensions: 6.87 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Danny Gregory lives in New York City.

Paul Sahre is principal of his own design firm. He lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2003

    From the author

    You might be thinking: 'Ham radio?!? Huh? You mean like CBs or short wave?' Or perhaps, 'I know all there is to to know about amateur radio, I've been on the air for years. ' Perfect, then this book is for you. We set out to do several things in 'Hello World': ¿ to capture the experience of Jerry Powell, a long time ham radio operator who spoke to thousands of people all over the world for the better part of the century ¿ to explain what on earth ham radio is and why millions of people are people are still so interested in it. We started out the project knowing nothing and became so intrigued that we now have our own amateur licenses and are part of the community. ¿ to dig below the surface and suggest what Jerry and his friends may have been talking about, detective work based on conversations with those hams who are still alive, and on what we discovered about the places and periods in which the conversations took place ¿ to create a book that would be relevant to a long- time ham like Jerry and also of interest to someone who knows nothing about the hobby or may only remember the interest of a grandfather or a cousin and wants to know more about what they were doing ¿and, finally, to showcase the beautiful and varied designs of QSL cards, the special postcards that hams exchange to verify their contacts. Jerry's collection arrived over seventy years from Africa, Antarctica, India, Indiana, and beyond and features many styles and media, a global form of folk art. We're very proud of this book and the fact that the NY Times, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and many, many hams all like it too. We hope you will too, whether you're a newcomer or a member of the OTC. 73, Danny and Paul KC2KGT & KC2KHN

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