Ham Radio in Popular Culture: TV Shows, Movies, and Books

Ham radio has made its appearances in various forms of popular culture over the years. Here are a few examples:

TV Shows:

  • “Emergency!”: The popular 1970s show often depicted the use of ham radio communication in emergency situations.
  • “Fargo”: In the show, the character Hanzee Dent uses ham radio to communicate with a local ham operator in order to track a suspect.
  • “Jericho”: The post-apocalyptic show features ham radio communication as a means of communication in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • “MacGyver”: The TV show features the character MacGyver as an amateur radio operator who often uses his handheld ham radio to communicate with others in different parts of the world.
  • “The Walking Dead”: Ham radio is used by various characters throughout the show to try and make contact with other survivors or communities outside their own.
  • “The X-Files”: In the episode “Max”, Mulder and Scully use ham radio to communicate with a group of UFO enthusiasts who believe they have captured a signal from an alien spacecraft.
  • “Breaking Bad”: In one episode, Walter White uses a ham radio to listen in on police frequencies and avoid being caught.
  • “Stranger Things”: The characters often use portable radios to communicate locally, and in a few episodes they use them to communicate longer distances across the nation.


  • “Frequency”: The movie tells the story of a man who is able to communicate with his deceased father through a ham radio that somehow allows communication across time.
  • “Apollo 13”: Ham radio communication is used to establish contact with the crew during their space mission.
  • “Jurassic Park III”: Ham radio is used by the characters in the movie to try and make contact with a rescue team after their plane crashes on an island filled with dangerous dinosaurs.
  • “The Peacemaker”: George Clooney’s character uses a ham radio to communicate with the U.S. government during a crisis involving stolen nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe.
  • “The Andromeda Strain”: Ham radio is used by a group of scientists to communicate with a satellite and track down the source of a deadly virus.


  • “The Art of Possibility”: In the book by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, a group of hams use their radio equipment to create a world-wide network that facilitates communication during natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • “Alas, Babylon”: In the novel by Pat Frank, ham radio is the only means of long-distance communication in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”: In the novel, Lisbeth Salander uses her ham radio to communicate with a hacker friend and obtain important information.
  • “Peak”: In the book by Roland Smith, a teenage boy uses his ham radio to communicate with his father during a climbing competition.
  • “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”: In this memoir by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, the author describes how he used ham radio to communicate with people outside of his village in Malawi and gain access to educational resources.
  • “The Road”: Ham radio is mentioned briefly in Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel as a means of communication, although its actual use is not described in detail.

Overall, ham radio has become a popular subject in the creative world, often appearing in TV shows, movies, and books to add an extra element of communication to a storyline