This is my journey through the world of ham radio. I’m not an expert on.. really.. pretty much anything regarding radio. But I’m learning everything from antennas and lightening protection to satellites. So.. ultimately, this is a blog of an average guy learning along the way.
In 1986 or so, I was working on commercial radios for a living became interested in 2mtr and packet. For the longest time, I put of my ham license because I kept telling myself I couldn’t do CW. One day, I said it and realized, “wait a minute.. other people learn it, why can’t I?”. I have to say I really enjoyed it a lot and picked up my technician license. I worked some packet and listened to my Swan HF rig (I didn’t have an HF antenna so all I could do was listen), particularly to the digital stuff.. AMTOR, etc. I had a PK-232 to decode all that.
Well.. time marches on and I got sidetracked. My license expired and my equipment went.. who knows where? Over the years, I thought about ham radio again but it can be such an expensive hobby. Late 2010, I dove back in and got my Novice. About a month after that, I got my General and, about 2 months later, I got my Expert. Can’t help it. I’m an overachiever… sometimes. If there was a Super Expert, I’d be aiming for it.
Here we are again. I’ve once again got a PK-232 but now have soundcard modes going on. And I’m, once again, working on my morse code. I guess, in my mind, that’s the Super Expert.
(I wish I still had my Swan.) This time around, I started with a Kenwood TH-F6 HT and the PK-232. I followed up with an Icom IC-7000, which is my “base”. It’s not perfect but I like it a lot.
Right now, I live in an HOA neighborhood so my antenna is stealthy. In this case, “stealthy” means that my Alpha-Delta DX-CC dipole is stapled up under the fence in the backyard at a whopping 8 ft. or so. I can’t think of a much worse setup so, although I’ve been getting by with it, I expect it to get better.
Being an introvert, I’m not much of a talker so ham radio is an odd hobby for me. It’s like someone being afraid of heights and being a jump instructor. But I’m a decent listener. And I still like doing digital stuff.
I’m a little driven so anything with a contest aspect (like the 13 Colonies event or Worked All States, Countries, Etc. ) has some draw on me. Self-competition stuff.
It’s a tough line that ham radio and computers are so intertwined. I’d prefer to just work the radio without the computer even on but there’s so much I’d miss out on. You know, I didn’t get back into ham to be on the computer more. Of course, it’s my choice. But I see a day when I just sit down at the radio and work CW contacts with a pen and paper. No screens. No interfaces. I guess you could say that my head is attracted by the “tech” aspect and what you can do with computers.. while my heart is drawn to the “art” aspect where it’s just simple radio and the operators.
That’s me as a ham, in a nutshell. Like I said, I’m not an expert (yet) but there’s SO much to learn. And I hope this blog will eventually help someone else trying to work their way thru the hobby. Or at least give them something to relate to in their own journey.
So.. I hope to see you down the log.
Chris / AK4KZ