Simpsons Sunday – The Simpsons And Ham Radio

Hello and welcome to another Simpson’s Sunday. This week i’m going to try and talk about how the Simpsons and ham radio combine. For those who don’t know, ham, or amateur radio is a hobby which has been around for more than 100 years. It used to be that you had to know morse code, in order to get your license. However, that has now changed and Morse code is no longer a requirement.
As for who is licensed, people of all ages are on the air with a call sign. Butt, the hobby is and has been stereotyped to be a man’s hobby, however there are women in the hobby too. Men are refered to as old man or om and women are refered to as yl or young lady. The latter is more common on phone and both are common using Morse Code. Oh yeah, a spouse is refered to as an xyl.
I actually became a ham in 2009, when I was 36 years old and I know people who have been licensed as young as 13 years old and I have heard about people who are younger than that, who are on the air. Just for the record, my call sign is VA3WXA. If you happen to go for your license you wil learn about call sign blocks in the country you live in. For example: in Canada the call sign prefixes begin with: VA, VE, VO and VY. In Ontario VE3 and VA3 are the prefixes that are given as valid call signs. The suffix such as mine, which is WXA is chosen in part by myself and Industry Canada. You will learn about how to get a call sign before you take your exam.
Of course, The Simpsons has inserted ham Radio into the show, as a plot device. As a licensed ham, I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I think it’s cool that it is being both acknowledged and satirized at the same time.
There is one example of a character using a Ham Radio and gives out a call sign. Principal Skinner says his call sign is WA3QIZ and his Mother Agnes asked him how to talk on the radio. He shows her where the ptt switch is. She keys up the radio by holding the microphone and pushing the push to talk switch and says “you’re all loosers.” If someone did that in real life, that person would be ignored and thought of as a pest or if it is repeated, as someone who would be thought of as a jammer. They would be tracked down and punished in some form.
I find it odd that neither Simpsons Wiki or Wiki Simpsons mention that Prinsipal Skinner is a ham. I know that David Merkin was a ham at one point, with the same call sign that Principal Skinner used but I wonder if there are others involved with the show who are currently licensed hams. I would love to work them one day. Working them means to contact them on the air.
If you would like to learn more about all the times ham radio has crept into The Simpsons, here is a link for you to check out.
http://www.qsl.net/kb9mwr/files/ham/cartoon/cartoon.html
Just for the record, qsl means understood or I understand. If you are interested in going for your ticket you will learn about what q codes are and the theory behind how we do what we do as hams. You will also learn about how call signs are assigned and of course, you must know the regulations to follow, so you don’t get into hot water..
On another note, happy birthday on Friday to Hank Azaria who turned 50. He does the voices of: Moe the bar tender, Apu, Police Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and many others we have come to know and love. Another voice that is a classic that he did was for Frank Grimes in the Season 8 episode Homer’s Enemy. The character dies at the end of the episode, despite his best efforts to try and undermine Homer and all that happens is that Homer is thought of as the hero.
He has also been in such movies as: The Birdcage and Godzilla in 1998. Another roll he has done recently is voicing Gargamel in The Smurfs movies. He also has his own TV show called Fatherhood, as he is a Dad with a 4-year-old son. He is also on both Twitter and Facebook and he does tweet a lot.
Back to talking about ham radio for a moment, I would like to congratulate David Letterman as he’s a newly licensed ham. This is the same man we all know and love from his late night TV show and who is retiring soon. Here is an article about him getting his ticket.
http://hamhijinks.com/letterman-issued-embarrassing-ham-callsign/
I hope you enjoy tonights Simpsons episode entitled What To Expect When Bart’s Expecting and next weeks episode Brick Like Me. There are currently trailers for both episodes on YouTube, if you are interested in a preview of what is to come.
Also, don’t forget to check out Chris Ladesma’s blog at http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
She of course, voices Lisa Simpson and both of these Blogs are interesting to me, both because they are associated with The Simpsons but you get a peak into their life outside the show as well.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive.
One more thing to note is that Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean is finally on Twitter. His Twitter handle is @AlJean and at this time he has just under 300 followers.
Well, as we say on ham radio, 73, which means all the best. VA3WXA clear.

Advertisements

One thought on “Simpsons Sunday – The Simpsons And Ham Radio

  1. @Punk

    Hey, I like your article! There was another instance of a ham radio joke on the Simpsons that I didn’t see mentioned, but remember from years ago. I think it’s from the fourth season, but I’m not exactly sure. I forget the exact set up but the basic premise of it is that Marge or Homer are giving Bart guff for wanting to pick up some new fad/hobby/ and for not following through and giving up easily on past hobbies. They mention a few of them and it cuts to them in their present, unused state and one of those is Ham Radio…which someone is speaking on saying “I am talking on ham radio”…implying that ham radio enthusiasts only talk about ham radio ON their ham radios. I always thought this was hilarious for whatever reason. I’ve only ever known one person who is into ham radio and he was my high school friend’s father so we weren’t very close, but I always found it fascinating. Anyway, I’m still looking for that specific joke, and I WILL figure out what episode it is in! Haha! Take care!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s