san luis valley — San Luis Valley HAM radio operators met for their first meeting Oct. 19. HAM radio is a hobby that involves using various types of radio communications equipment to connect with other people who have the same interest. Ham radio is a popular term for amateur radio, derived from “ham” as an informal name for an amateur radio operator.
HAM radio got its start in the 1920s and since then has continued to grow. Today, HAM radio operators have a global network of operators.
The San Luis Valley has several licensed amateur radio operators scattered throughout its communities. The initial meeting at Calvary Baptist Church in Monte Vista was well attended with about 15 HAMs gathered together. This first meeting was a chance for the radio operators to get to know one another and for them to establish a local organization.
“I’ve wanted to get something going because there’s a lot of “HAMs” in the Valley,” said Bob Galey. Garley is the pastor of Calvary Baptist and he also enjoys being a HAM radio operator. Galey went on to say, “One of the things this valley doesn’t have is an organized emergency radio group and I’d like to get something going. We’ve got enough people in this room to have a pretty good club if we want to.”
Emergency communications is one of many goals attendees have for their club. “The reason for this club is to promote amateur radio within the San Luis Valley, United States and the world. To promote and provide instruction and encouragement to new people interested in amateur radio. And to help provide emergency communications to our communities in the San Luis Valley,” Galey shared with the group as his proposed thoughts for the purpose of the club.
During the meeting they formed groups to help establish the club. They established four groups: a repeater group, a bylaws and constitution group, a program and education group, and a mobilization group. They hope at each meeting they can provide something new to learn. “It’s not just coffee and doughnuts. We’ll have something to learn, and something to better equip us for HAM operation,” said Galey. During this first meeting HAM operator Robert Austin shared a video he filmed of the experience he had on his first field day.
Next weekend the club will have a table at the Rotary Gun Show at Ski-Hi park. They hope to answer questions and get other people involved in their newly formed club. Their next officially meeting will be Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Monte Vista.