Physical Fitness for “Ham” Radio Operators

Copyright Tom Dove  1993 

Physical fitness for the amateur radio operator
by Tom Dove

Our spouses and friends may worry that we “Hams” do not get enough exercise as we sit for hours in front of our rigs. You can stay fit as you enjoy your hobby with these simple exercises, recommended by the creative commuter gang that meets each morning on the 147.105 mHz Anne Arundel Radio Club repeater in Davidsonville, Maryland. 

CHOKE CHOKE – Choose an inductor that fits comfortably in your hand. Squeeze and release this coil 25 times to build the muscles in the hand and forearm. Inductive reasoning experts recommend removing the coil from its circuit so it does not impede your movement. 

DIPOLE CHIN-UPS – This may require lowering your antenna or using a tall ladder. Reach or jump upward and grab the antenna on either side of the feedline. Do chin-ups until you drop. For extra fitness, climb the feedline to reach the antenna. For extra adventure, try this exercise at a friend’s station while he is operating and achieve a special glow. 

HT CURLS – Hold a handheld radio in your palm and lift it to your shoulder 20 times. This exercise builds strength in the biceps muscles and increases the endurance needed when operating in public service events. While new hams may use small transceivers, a greater level of fitness will result from curling radios at least twenty years old.  

POWER SUPPLY PRESS – Disconnect your power supply from the radio and hold it with both hands behind your neck. Press it vertically until both arms are straight. Repeat ten times. The age of the power supply should be inversely proportional to the age of the Ham. A healthy college student may be able to press a 1955 model with tubes and an 850 volt transformer, while a sedentary amateur may choose two D-cell batteries. 

PTT THUMB PUSH – Set your handheld radio for a quiet simplex channel and hold it firmly in the left hand, resting the thumb on the PTT button. Press and release the button repeatedly, being sure to identify yourself in compliance with FCC rules. After 25 pushes, change hands (this will require inverting or rotating the radio) and repeat. This exercise will prevent flabby thumbs. 

TOWER EXERCISES – Climb an antenna tower until your knuckles turn white. As you become more proficient, your altitude will increase. Extra points are awarded for leaping from the tower to the ground instead of simply climbing down. Proper execution of this drop is also beneficial to tall people who wish to become shorter. 

YAGI YOGA – After exercising, meditation is beneficial to both body and mind. Sit atop a beam antenna in a crosslegged position while your assistant rotates it, beginning at north and going clockwise. Close your eyes and repeat the mantra “Ohm” 52 times. 

— The End —