"HAM" - a University of Montana Documentary

This 25 minute documentary begins in 1983 with NASA Astronaut Owen K. Garriott W5LFL (SK) calling CQ with an HT over the US West Coast from the Space Shuttle Columbia, a brief pile-up, and his first contact from orbit: WA1JXM from Montana.

The story fast forwards to 2022 where we meet four Montana Hams—Lance WA1JXM, Mike K7MSO, Dennis KR7Q, and Keith NE7R—and learn about their backgrounds and how they are involved in the hobby.

Featuring stunning Montana landscapes and tasteful shack and rig photography, the documentary includes discussions of 6M Moonbounce, POTA, DXpeditions (including footage from Clipperton Island), and FT8, along with many well chosen images. And archival footage of salient quotes from Vic Clark W4KFC, former ARRL President, and a young David Sumner K1ZZ, former ARRL CEO.

There’s even the obligatory commentary on CW vs phone operators.

The documentary concludes with a very accurate summarization of Ham Radio from WA1JMX, “[it is] a wonderful way to bring the world together.”

Viewers who watch to the end of the closing credits will see that the film makers did understand their subject matter.

📺 Watch the documentary on the Montana PBS website.

About The Show

This documentary was produced by students in the School of Journalism and the School of Visual & Media Arts at the University of Montana. It was presented by Montana PBS on November 24, 2022.

The Montana PBS page for this documentary says:

Join us as we investigate the culture of Montana Amateur Radio Operators, or “hams”, as they recount their admiration for the global Amateur Radio community. This niche hobby has produced long-lasting friendships between radio enthusiasts around the globe, and has been a pastime of choice for much of their lives. Produced as part of a new Certificate in Documentary Film program, by students in the School of Journalism and the School of Visual & Media Arts at the University of Montana, this short film takes an in-depth look at the particular ways in which amateur radio enthusiasts remain active both locally and globally. 1

  1. “HAM”, Montana PBS, accessed November 29 2022, https://www.montanapbs.org/programs/ham/↩︎