My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, June 13, 2014

Big Mac

Photo by Evan-Amos- Wikipedia 

I like 30 meters very much, and have always made some nice contacts on this band. There are many times I find DX here, and I work them when I can, but I'm finding some long slow QSO's here too. During the early evening hours, I easily work stations in the mid-western states on this band.

I've worked WB5QYG in McAlester, Oklahoma a couple of times lately, and did a quick search of his home town. Mc Alester is in what's known as "Tornado Alley" where severe storms are always a certainty in the summer months. It's also the home of the  Oklahoma State Penitentiary . --The local people call it "Big Mac"-- That's the reason for the first picture in this entry.

Photo by Charles Duggar- Wikipedia 

We have an enormous prison population in this country- more than any other country in the world. Just say'in....those are the facts, and an inordinate number of those are for non-violent crimes. I hope this situation changes because it costs a LOT of money to maintain these places. This is true in all 50 states. West Virginia is no exception, we have more than 7,000 incarcerated in our state.

I wonder how many of these inmates might be interested in radio?  Perhaps a good hobby would have required a better use of idle time and therefore a more productive life, and the decreased need for nationwide prison facilities? If not ham radio, short-wave listening is a good pastime. I know that's just wishful thinking; but I'm an optimist.....

Too many people today find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many times it's due to being born in unfortunate places where there's little opportunity for a decent job, or little opportunity for getting a decent education. Sometimes social obstacles are much too difficult to overcome. The really unfortunate thing about these "casualties of life" is many of them have the intelligence to be productive members of society. To waste a good mind is a terrible thing.


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello John, regarding the prisoners interests. I just remember one!
Look at
Interesting site...and a 100% QSLer hi ;-)

73, Bas

Jspiker said...

Hello Bas,

Yes, I did "google" it and found this interesting quote:

"– Would you like to say something? – asks the Judge who just meted out the 110-year sentence to the accused.
– Nothing to say, but I have a question. May I? ... Your Honor, I’m 60. You just gave me 110 years. You realize I will never live to be 170 years old. This means I will not be able to serve this sentence in its entirety.
– Well, serve as much as you can, – boringly sighs the Judge."

Thanks for the link.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I read an article a few years back about broadcast band DXing behind bars. A few of the manufacturers were making (probably still are) small transistor radios with clear plastic cases instead of the standard black to meet standards set by the prison systems. For inspection purposes so contraband could be easily spotted.

The whole state of affairs concerning prisons in this country is sad. It's become a huge billion dollar industry that requires a steady stream of "customers" to keep the whole thing afloat.

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

Yes, you're right about the small "clear plastic radios" for prison use. Sangean and Sony both sell inexpensive battery powered models without "speakers". They require "ear buds" and cover the entire AM and FM bands. This makes it nearly impossible to smuggle contraband.

The United Kingdom actually has special broadcast stations within the walls of their prisons. Reviews of the system are very encouraging since inmates learn the basic's of disc jockeying, scheduling and programming, and computer use in the trade. They seem to be excellent educational devices and are viewed very favorably by all. The US could learn much from this example of simple technology.

You're also right about the "warehousing" situation and the enormously expensive creature we've created. It's become a real beast.