You can’t see them, but they’re all around you.
Nobody knows that better than hams, who mostly use the unseen radio waves for fun but who can also become the lifeline for communities that have lost the normal modes of communication in times of distress.
KK4BJZ, otherwise known as Buck Johnson, is one of 156 licensed amateur radio operators in Suffolk. Every ham has his “thing” in the hobby. Johnson’s is building equipment and, of course, talking.
“I like building antennas,” he said. “I like talking to people all over the world. There’s all kinds of people.”
Johnson turns a dial in his “ham shack,” a small addition to the garage in his rural backyard constructed for the sole purpose of housing his radio equipment. The dial turns a large antenna on top of the building. A display beside the dial gives the names of nearby communities — Isle of Wight, Driver, Portsmouth, Ahoskie, Southampton — to let him know which way the antenna is facing.