On December 12, about 60 children, along with parents and siblings, talked with Santa Claus at the North Pole via 2-way radio. Amateur-radio operators in the Herriman Amateur Radio Club (HARC) set up a VHF/UHF station at the Herriman Library and used the local 70-cm Herriman repeater to communicate with the North Pole. Childrens' requests ranged from Barbie dolls and alligators to hover boards, Lego blocks, and Nerf "bullets." A young lady asked for a dinosaur fossil. Not many of those at the North Pole, but Santa promised to do his best to find one. The Herriman club has operated a "Talk with Santa" station for three Christmases and expects to go "on the air" again with the North Pole in December 2016.
Santa had received many bags of mail, so he welcomed requests sent by radio rather than by letters.
The Herriman Amateur Radio Club (HARC) sponsors this event so kids have fun and get an introduction to 2-way radio communications. These wireless connections play a critical role in emergency situations that require capabilities not available with cellphones or family-radio-service equipment. The club prepared information for parents and provided ARRL brochures that describe many aspects of ham radio.
Contrary to popular belief, prospective hams do not need to know Morse code. During emergencies, hams offer their services to communities and to service groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Hams also make friends around the world via short-wave communications that can range as far as the Galapagos Islands or Japan, for example. --Jon Titus, KZ1G