Welcome to Handiham World!
I don't know how many of you have lived in a small town as I once did, but perhaps you know about how there is always a favorite restaurant where the locals get together for a cup of coffee. It's a place where friends meet and chat, not the sort of fancy coffee chain with $4 coffee that you find in big cities!
Ham radio nets can be much like the small town coffee shop, because you meet at a regular spot, most likely over that first cup of coffee, and share stories and news. The only difference is that you are sitting in your ham shack, not across the table or at the counter in the diner. But the experience is much the same, because you are among friends.
I never felt that way more than I did this morning when, on a regional HF net, the net control station told us about the death of a regular net participant's spouse. The NCS announced a moment of silence, which everyone dutifully observed, before moving on to the regular net business. In the course of the day, news like this will keep us all connected in a circle of friendship, in which our shared experience as amateur radio operators is really the one thing we all have in common when we first begin checking into nets like this one, but soon becomes only one shared experience of many as we learn more and more about our new friends; their families, their other hobbies, the kind of work they do, and so on.
This is the cement that holds a strong Amateur Radio Service together. It's important to get on the air and participate, and to do so as much as you can. Yes, yes, we are all busy and time and circumstances may keep us from checking in with our radio friends as often as we can, but I remind myself of my "DOTA" goal: Daily On The Air.
I first announced "Daily On The Air" in October of 2006, but have updated the story online on our new beta website: