Using Ham Radio, License Tips and Teleprinters

Ham radio is useful for keeping in touch with friends and community members, and with SSTV and RTTY you can even transport images and type for free!

| July/August 1974

Using Ham Radion on The Farm

Is ham radio really a practical and useful tool for an intentional community? The folks at The Farm think so! That group, as described on the back of the "QSL" card the Radio Crew sends out, "is a religious community of 800 people in southern Tennessee ... the largest and most successful beatnik community in the world, self-supporting and at peace with its neighbors." The Farm's members are into the third summer on their 1,700 acres in Summertown, and — as Albert (WB4BWR) says — "It looks like we're here to stay."

The community's first major use of radio was to keep in touch with its rock group, The Farm Band, which tours all over the country. This is especially important for Ina May — The Farm's head midwife — who travels with the band and uses its ham rig to talk with the other midwives back home. The Summertown gang also has a Windmill Crew working on the development of "a low-cost, dependable home lighting system," and Albert is active in our Saturday morning Alternative Sources of Energy Net.

Another use of radio is to link the original Farm with a related group of the same name that was recently started in Ettrick, Wisconsin by 15 people from Minneapolis. Robert (WB9NRY) keeps daily schedules with the Tennessee folks at 9 a.m. CDT on 7245 kHz ... a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of common concerns, from midwifery to soy milk. Others with similar interests are invited to join in these on-the-air get-togethers.

The Tennessee community already has a good number of radio freaks:

William (K4IAP), Gary (WA4ZDX), another William (WN4GFE) and Patrick (WA4GFI). And here's the latest news from Albert: "Our radio crew is growing now ... there's two more cats who just took their tests two weeks ago. That'll bring the total up to seven hams on The Farm. I'm really hot to set up an SSTV [slow-scan television] rig here, so maybe we'll be seeing you soon. It'd really be great to have a TV link with Wisconsin. There are some more 'Farms' starting up, one in Kentucky and one I just heard about in West Virginia, and they've both got guys studying for their ham tickets. Looks like a far-out time ahead."

(By the way, the community has its own photography and print shop and has published Hey, Beatnik! which tells all.)

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