Every four years, much of the world of amateur radio pauses to follow the results of an intense, twenty-four hour struggle to determine the best radio-sporting team in the world. This year, the competition will be held in the northern suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts following a week of team meetings, referee consultations, general comings-together of both contestants, referees, judges, other officials, general ham radio fans, and the curious public from nearby New England towns. Ending only six hours before Brazil's World Cup in "Fu'tbol," with millions of both casual and rabid TV viewers, the World Radiosport Team Championship, or WRTC, will be followed by "only" tens of thousands of ham radio enthusiasts worldwide on a real-time Internet scoreboard. Unlike the World Cup, ham radio operators actually will be interacting with the competitors, since the teams compete by contacting their fellow hams around the world. In other words, the approximately fifty two-person WRTC teams score points only by making exchanges over-the-air (with both voice and with Morse code) of required information with other amateur radio operators all over the globe.
Previous WRTCs were held in Moscow, southern Brasil, Helsinki, and Bled, Slovenia following an event in Silicon Valley, California. So this is the first WRTC in the U.S.A. in twenty years. The home URL of the 2014 WRTC is here: http://www.wrtc2014.org/
The Director of the WRTC, a man of vision, had read my nostalgic fiction, "Reunion," liked it, and requested that I write a non-fiction book with the radio contest at the center, but with the charter to broaden the description and background to appeal to general readers who know nothing about ham radio or radio sporting. In this way, they can "get" the magic of short wave radio and understand the passion of people who love hearing those exotic signals warble in from all over the world on a magic carpet of different music and languages. Many hams, and specifically those elite operators who are finalists in this "great radio battle," have backgrounds in engineering and telecommunications but a scan of the team members indicates a wide range of professions including medical doctors, police officers, elementary school teachers, financial advisers, hotel desk managers, truck drivers, and boatswains, in addition to musicians, brigadier generals and senior intelligence officials.
A publisher here in Austin loved the idea, with the "quirky" nature of the passionate enthusiasts in a tournament along with the unique hobby group that numbers two million licensed hams worldwide. They especially liked the strategy to broaden the story to general audiences, much like "The Big Year" did for bird watchers everywhere, and agreed on the spot to publish the book with full editorial and retail channel support.
With many years in this radio hobby, one book already under my belt, and an active blog with over a thousand readers, I have the content knowledge and the commitment to be the writer hidden inside this man who sent nearly forty years as a semiconductor executive. Wish me luck, and look for progress postings along the way, with a relatively short-term goal of the resulting book being available in the late spring of 2015. "Okay coach, I'm ready ... put me in!"