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Knights statewide share mission via ham radios May 17, 2023

Beginning May 5 and running through May 20, the Knights have been operating over several amateur radio stations statewide under a special amateur radio call sign, K0C with the dual intent of sharing their philanthropic deeds and encouraging Catholic men to join the fraternal organization. The project, known in amateur radio lingo as a “Special Event Station,” has been attempting to operate out of all five dioceses in the state until the last day of the 127th New Jersey State Convention in Wildwood.

“My hobby is using long-range radio, and I love the Knights,” said Knights District Deputy Thomas M. Perrotti, who designed and spearheaded the project. “This is a nice way to bring these two passions together.”

Perrotti was licensed as an amateur radio operator in 1979, and currently holds an Amateur Extra license under the call sign of N2JIE. The member of Holy Cross Parish, Bridgeton, has been a Knight since 2011.

After approval from the Knights, Perrotti met with nearly a dozen Knight operators over Zoom, as well as alerting a number of publications to which amateur radio hams subscribe that a Special Event Station exists. Hams don’t blindly broadcast, but rather have one-on-one conversations with other operators; in honor of the 127th N.J. State Convention, Perrotti and his fellow hams are operating in frequencies ending in 127.

“It’s not just an old man hobby,” he said, chuckling. “Amateur radio is used in the early hours of a disaster when cell towers and telephone lines may be down. All hams need is a radio or portable walkie talkie, a battery and an antenna to transmit.”

The Vatican has its own amateur radio station (call sign HV5PUL); the patron saint of ham radio operators is Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Famous hams include King Juan Carlos of Spain, Sen. Barry Goldwater, Marlon Brando, Joe Walsh, Donny Osmond, Priscilla Presley and Walter Cronkite.

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