Sunday, August 10, 2008

John McCain and Ham Radio

I've noticed recently, on my Google Webmaster Tools reports, that the third most common search that actually reaches my blog is "McCain ham radio". Now, I haven't blogged about this, and frankly I don't see what McCain has to do with ham radio, so I'm quite curious about this phenomenon.

As far as I can tell, McCain is not a ham. When I first started seeing this, I searched ULS for any evidence of him being a ham. And I didn't find any. Neither did WikiAnswers, who concluded conclusively that he was not a ham. And while he was a Navy pilot (which, according to Monk, is sufficient basis to conclude that Cindy McCain would know Morse) that doesn't make him a ham; while a lot of hams were in the military a lot more weren't and there's no reliable correlation. And apparently McCain's campaign considers ham radio ops a "target audience", if the reports of McCain ads on eHam are any indication. (I've also had reports of McCain ads on my blog; his campaign is apparently using Google Ads quite aggressively.)

So, why is McCain's name being associated with ham radio? I found a New York Times OpEd that mentions in passing something about Letterman joking about McCain's membership in a ham radio club. Is this simply because McCain is older than Jesus, and only old people are involved in ham radio? I guess people generally believe that ham radio is all about telegraphy, which everyone knows is a 19th century technology and no modern individual would be involved in that.

I don't recall McCain himself talking about ham radio, although I've stopped paying a great deal of attention to the election noise (I made up my mind on who I was voting for at least two years ago), so I'm reduced to one of two conclusions: some pundit made a joke about McCain and ham radio, or people are just organically associating McCain with ham radio because both are "old fashioned". If there's more to this than that, do please let me know.