Nearing the close of my first decade with HAM radio
The title would imply that I've had a lot to say about a decade in Ham radio but in actuality I haven't really talked about it at all because I was only active for the first few years before all this free blogging stuff came about...
Let's backtrackI love to learn new technical stuff and play with electronic toys. HAM radio seems to fit the bill but it hasn't been all roses and kittens for me...
I was encouraged by a co-worker W4BPJ to go get my Technician ticket back in the mid 2000s. Easy peasy... I got a 2m mobile and an HT and participated in a couple of nets and paid repeater club fees. I volunteered for Helping Hams at a few events. Attended Skywarn training and sent in some spotter reports. I got my FEMA certifications and had a "go-kit". I was doing all the "ham radio stuff" that you can do with a Tech ticket.
I really wanted to get into HF. I had a difficult time learning "the code" even at the measly 5wpm that was required at the time for a General ticket. Morse just didn't come naturally to me at the time (learning from tapes) and I just squeaked by my code test. Due to my poor CW skills I didn't have many successful contacts after I got my General ticket and I became frustrated with CW so I went the route of SSB ragchewing and digital modes.
I went through a few radios. Here's a few rigs...
|QRO station ICOM 735|
|ICOM 746-Pro (fancy, fancy)|
|Yaesu FT-857 had it in the truck as a mobile and later in the shack|
I didn't have the sort of rig or antennas or QTH that lent itself to contesting so HF became a bit mundane after some early thrills. After a mishap with my only outside antenna (my wife "accidentally" cut through it HI HI) my interest waned and I eventually sold my last HF radio. I stayed active for a while in emergency prep-ops on VHF/UHF but with no activations that interest waned as well.
The tinkering side of the hobby didn't work so well for me. I'm all thumbs with a soldering iron and generally have to re-do a project at least 3 times before it has some semblance of working. I even accidentally sliced my index finger to the bone building a "simple" J-Pole a few years back. No one told me amateur radio could result in so much blood loss...
I took a 5 year hiatus from radio other than turning on the HT once every couple of months to see what folks were talking about on the 2m nets.
|Ten-Tec 4030 QRP radio with Bencher paddle|
2015 Interest is re-kindled...
I've recently been drawn back to the hobby in the past couple of months with a renewed interest in CW and QRP. I resurrected my Carolina 40m Windom (I nearly fell out of a tree in the process) and borrowed a friend's QRP radio. Then I began listening, listening, listening. I used the wonderful LCWO website to re-learn CW and now I'm doing practice CW QSOs with a local elmer AA4XX.
I hope to be back on the air in the guise of a CW/QRP OP very soon.
Listen for me to mess up my call on a band near you
SKCC Number: 14276