XENIA — If you’re a member of the Latham Family from Greencastle, Penn., operating amateur radio is almost a given.
No matter age or gender, it’s what you do.
“It just seems to be a rite of passage in our family,” said patriarch Shannon Latham, also known as KA8JRQ, as he strolled through the merchandise tent during Hamvention 2018 at the Greene County Fairgrounds.
It was probably the truest statement of the day.
In addition to Shannon, six of seven children all have licenses, including 10-year-old Aaron, better known as KM4LEJ. He’s been licensed for two years.
“It was fun, playing on the radio, doing what my older sisters did,” he said when asked what made him want to obtain a license. “Contacting people in other states and stuff.”
It’s the second time Aaron has made the roughly six-hour trek from south central Pennsylvania to Greene County with the family.
“(I like) just walking around with my dad and looking at all the radios,” he said.
Aaron isn’t just about talking on the radio however.
“He likes to help me fix old radios,” Shannon said.
The females of the Latham Family are also fairly involved at Hamvention. Violetta, 13, is speaking at one of Saturday’s youth forums. She and her other sisters also like to perform public service work via amateur radio.
Because of that, a trip to Curacao — about 40 miles north of Venezuela — is planned so some of the Lathams can take part in DX-pedition, a trip to a remote place to operate a station.
For whatever they like to use their radios, Shannon — who was first licensed at age 13 — said it’s important to spark interest in younger people. He said the age of the average ham operator is approaching 60-years-old.
“You see very few young people at things like this,” he said, adding that it’s not just an old man’s hobby. “We want to be able to recapture that spirit again.”
Where his family is concerned, he’s off to a great start.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.
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