"From early 1900's on, people have been
communicating with each other via ham radio."
John Newman developed an interest in the radio at age seven.
"Ham radio was first social media-social
"Most of us like to talk, we get on make a new
Amateur radio operators first communicated using morse code. At that
time, commercial operators competed for the same radio wavelength and
called the amateurs "hams"for jamming their signal.
"A ham radio works like a cell phone-cell phone
transmits radio signal toa cell site-rebroadcasts that signal to another
cell phone in another location."
"Ham operators we have multiple frequencies we can
"Hams also bounce signals off the moon."
The number of amateur radio operators is at an all
time high with over 700,000 licenses in the U.S."
"In order to be on frequencies allotted by the
FCC, each ham operator hasto have a federal license, study, pass a
Ham operators have especially become important in emergency situations
when other forms of communication are down.
"Ham operators have become the primary
communication for the Red Cross."
They offered support during 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and when the space
shuttle Columbia broke up over East Texas in 2003.
"Went down prior to FEMA getting their
sophisticated equipment in place."
A hobby that continues to be significant even with today's latest
"That's satisfaction to me, helping the public."
For CBS 19, I'm J.B. Smith and that's my story.