The Phone Patch
The phone patch is one thing that hams can offer to leave a positive feeling about Ham Radio with the public. In the 50s and 60s, long distance (particularly international long distance) phone calls were expensive.
It was a trivial electronic design project to connect a telephone line to a ham radio station. This device, known as a "phone patch" enables a non-ham sitting in his or her home, talking on the telephone, to use a ham's station at the other end of the phone call to talk to another ham station which, in turn, was connected through his telephone to someone else (another non-ham) sitting in his or her home. While it took two ham operators working in concert to make this happen, it's been done routinely for decades. Here's a diagram of how it works:
Now in the age of world-wide cellphone service, phone patches have become dinosaurs -- but they still work!