It’s official: I’m a Ham

How blog posts will be issued from now on. Image: Library of Congress.

How blog posts will be issued from now on. Image: Library of Congress.

It’s been on my to-do list for years–get my ham radio licence. I took a six week class offered by the Pasadena Radio Club to study for the technician class licence and on a whim crammed for the general class. I passed both tests and as of yesterday am now also known as KK6HUF.

Many thanks to W6MES, who volunteered his time to teach the class and to the major memory system for helping with all those numbers. It was a lot of fun to review basic math and electronics.

So why do this in an age of Skype and cellphones? I find the DIY ethos of ham radio empowering. We are surrounded by electronic devices and it’s good to know a little something about what’s going on “under the hood.” I wish I had discovered amateur radio when I was younger–I might have struggled with math less had I had a hobby to motivate studying.

My interest in appropriate technology was another reason. There is a ham I met online who is constructing a website that will be of interest to readers of this blog–he was inspired by John Michael Greer’s writing on ham radio. I’ll share that website when it’s ready to go public.

Passing the test was easy, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. I have no radio, nor do I have any experience using one. And I’d like to learn morse code. I’m all ears if any of you have advice.

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13 Comments

  1. So, you boys have a secret code. Where is the clubhouse?

    A guy had a tutorial on The Prepper Website about which portable radio to buy. He lists the exact serial number of everything he suggests buying. For a long time (decades)I have secretly wanted to be a ham radio operator. Congratulations!

  2. My father was a ham radio operator in the 1950s. I have many fond memories of watching him and listening to him on the radio–and of the postcards he would receive.

  3. congratulations and have fun with the hobby.A lot of new hams get a cheap handheld radio to get on the air by the way of a local repeater. KC2GON

  4. Google Fair Radio Sales, Lima, Ohio. If you ever can go there, plan on being there several hours.

    Best wishes with your Ham-ship!

    Cora

  5. I also started out on local repeaters. It is a good way to become familiar with radio procedures. I have been using a simple 2 meter yaesu single band mobil radio. It is not very expensive and in a high RF noise area (pretty much any large metro area) it does a good job of filtering out the noise. Also, check out Ham Radio Outlet (HRO http://www.hamradio.com) on line and get them to send you a catalog. I drool over each new issue.

    N7WHQ

    • Thanks for the advice N7WHQ! Coincidentally, I just ordered a 2meter/70cm mobile from Ham Radio Outlet after writing this post.

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