Amateur radio comes almost naturally to Alan Carpenter, who has spent much of his life in public service.
“Amateur radio is a wonderful reminder of many aspects of my life,” said the Cumberland Plateau Amateur Radio Club’s Amateur of the Month for April. “And there are so many other different parts to still learn, if I choose to.
“But honestly, having local communications with my new friends in Cumberland County is the best part for me, especially during weather events.”
Carpenter began his working life in a communications related field as a US Navy Operator and Diagnostic Repair Technician for the latest Radar Controlled Weapon Systems (Fire Controlman-Aegis Tech).
“While serving our county for a few years, I also volunteered as an ambulance driver for the local county rescue team,” he explained.
The Tennessee native returned to his home state after his honorable discharge to attend a state university, where he graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in robotics and manufacturing engineering.
“During that same time in college, I was also allowed to serve as a licensed reserve county deputy, which opened up a whole new avenue for me to serve the community in another positive way,” Carpenter said.
After graduating, he moved to Michigan, where he worked as a control engineer for years.
In this role, he specialized in various forms of building automation systems for large factories and campus systems near Detroit, including eight different languages of firmware codes.
Carpenter also specialized in inter-brand digital and analog connections to various brands of control systems.
He pursued various electrical control work projects for years after returning to Tennessee.
Carpenter also pursued his interest in robotics and automation systems.
The communications background makes him a natural candidate for amateur radio.
“I had been a bit interested in Citizen Band radio at different times in my history, but I wasn’t happy with the content I saw on it,” Carpenter explained. “Later I read an article about the difference of licensed amateur radio systems. It is technically much more diverse in frequency bands licensed for many purposes.
He continued: “It also had many different functions in operational uses; digital transmissions over existing analog systems, regional emergency service benefits during major statewide outages of existing systems, and wireless PDF sending worldwide with only 100 watts of power and a portable antenna.
Learning about these operations with the Cumberland Plateau Amateur Radio fired up the public servant of a lifetime.
“Already, over the past nine years, we’ve been helpful to this county in various emergencies,” Carpenter said. “Serving my community has allowed me to continue my lifestyle of being a good citizen.”
He also enjoys the camaraderie between hams while discussing the intricacies of ever-changing technology.
“Amateur radio is a wonderful group of people, and there are many diverse forms of switching types and purposes,” Carpenter said. “It always changes a bit, day to day, month to month. Both changes in global capabilities based on solar events, but also in the evolution of technologies and hardware.
He added: “One area of the amateur radio lifestyle that I love the most is also the older ones; speak and listen to human voices around the world through a small ordinary amateur radio placed on my desk at home.