Posted by: GW7AAV | September 21, 2010

Facebook Elmer Crosses Atlantic

The question was recently asked on the Summits on the Air reflector “Is SOTA on Facebook?”. The answer to that question was a resounding yes and although there are more than few people within (and without) SOTA who question social networking’s usefulness there are several SOTA groups on Facebook. SOTA (Summits on the Air), SOTA (Summits On The Air), (sota) summits on the air, SOTA Greece, SOTAmaps.com etcetera. Despite what the FB haters will tell you SOTA (Summits on the Air) has 200 members as does (sota) summits on the air, SOTA Greece 366 members and SOTA (Summits On The Air) 56 members.

Facebook can be a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and family and through my wife Helen’s interest in tracing the family tree we have reconnected with members of the family in diverse parts of the UK and the rest of the world that we have either lost contact with or, in some cases never even knew existed. We also use it to keep in touch with friends including those we made on the radio, such as through SOTA and such like, but up until now there has never been a cross over between family and our ham radio buddies.

It came as quite a surprise when my son Adam and daughter Caroline showed an interest and went on to pass first the Novice and then the Intermediate exams, but it was more surprising when an email came in the other day from the other side of the Atlantic. The email was from my cousin Elaine who lives in Virginia. We have only met once and we hooked up because of Helen’s genealogy project, but have kept in touch since via email and Facebook. She used to live in Silicon Valley California where her husband worked in the computer industry. Apparently Tim, her tech savvy hubby,  had been talking about taking his amateur radio licence for some time and now they had settled in Virginia he was persuaded to do something about it. Then my cousin remembered about seeing our radio antics on Facebook and said if Helen could do it then so could she. Since then Helen has had emails asking questions about the hobby such as what is RAYNET and how do we do this and that? It has certainly kept Helen busy answering the very good questions she gets and she has learnt a thing or two about how things are done in the US as she researched answers on the Internet. It will be great if they carry on to get licenced and who knows one day we may get to talk over the air. Tim also likes the idea of working portable from the mountain tops and wants to get into SOTA. Who says Facebook is a useless waste of time?

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