For the third year in a row, Longmont kids will have the chance to talk to Santa over the radio.
The Longmont Amateur Radio Club is once against hosting St. Nick over the waves for this year’s Santa on the Air.
Club President Chuck Puck explained that the idea to let kids talk to Santa via amateur radio came to him in late 2020, when the pandemic meant that both children and Santa would have to avoid crowded places.
“I knew Santa wouldn’t be able to see the kids at the mall or talk to them potentially except maybe by phone or Zoom,” Puck said. “I figured what’s another good method that the kids can talk to Santa and do it in a way that’s not common.”
Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, has been around for over 100 years. Puck, who's been practicing the hobby for eight years, also saw the method as a way to get young people interested in the unique hobby.
Santa has done other programs where he’s broadcasted on high frequency radio, but Santa on the Air is more localized using repeaters in Longmont. To speak with Santa, children will need to find an amateur radio operator who can connect them directly to him.
Puck said he decided to continue the radio program this year for kids and families who might still feel uncomfortable in crowded public places, along with educating children about the benefits and science behind radio.
“It’s a hobby that has to do with the basics, STEM,” he said. “It’s all involved in amateur radio because you have to learn how radio waves work and how different frequencies modulate different ways.”
This year the Longmont Amateur Radio Club is teaming up with the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club in Fort Collins to provide more opportunities for kids to connect with Santa, and the program will run two weeks instead of one. Puck’s hoping at least 100 children will be able to speak with Santa.
“I’m going to keep doing it right now, until I can’t do it anymore or something major happens,” he said.
Santa will be sending his QSL card to kids who chat with him, which is a type of contact card used in amateur radio that displays a picture with the station’s call sign and contact information. The cards will be posted marked from the North Pole, and Santa’s station call sign is, of course, N0P.
Santa on the Air will run 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 27, 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 28 to Dec. 3, 5-6 p.m. Dec. 4 and 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 to Dec. 9. Santa can be reached via repeaters or EchoLink.