Many years ago, I took a class with my dad for Ham Radio. We tested and both got our Novice licenses. This was probably sometime late in the 70’s and I never used it, taking it with my dad at his request.
In 2010, I picked up a pair of FRS portable radios for motorcycle and camping.
After playing around with these, I began to think again about Amateur Radio. In 2003, the FCC had removed the Morse code requirements so that was no longer an impediment to acquiring a license. In the summer of 2011, I decided I was going to get my License and researched classes. I settled on HamTestOnline and bought the study pack on 9/26/2011. I tested for my Novice and passed early October and received my Technician License on October 18th!
I immediately went and bought a hand held unit, 2 meter, 440 dual band. I settled on a Yaesu FT-60. I also picked up a mobile antenna for my truck and a base antenna for the house. I had been listening to various frequencies of the Ham band on my Scanner.
My Radio Shack Scanner My FT – 60
I was actively following ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) on my scanner and so I set the radio up to monitor those frequencies when I got it home. Turns out it was the 1st blizzard of the season and I monitored the ARES team providing communications to/for towns that had no services. I checked into their Net and made myself available in the event that they needed more manpower.
I was convinced that ARES was a worthwhile group and I signed up for Hillsboro Co (where I lived) but also monitored Manchester (where I worked) and Rockingham which was right next door. Over the next few years, I participated in several support events in the area. I was also active on the 2 meter repeater out of Derry (Interstate Repeater Society-146.850). I found interesting conversations on the way to and from work, eventually meeting several of the folks from the repeater.
I added to my radio kit by buying used equipment. I had good luck with my Yaesu equipment so stayed loyal to that brand. I first picked up an FT-2900 Mobile, planning to use it as a mobile and 2 meter base. It was a bit larger for the space I had planned in my truck so I shortly after, added an FT-1900 Mobile which was smaller.
It was not too long and I became interested in the HF bands and started studying for my General license. This would allow me to talk on all of the HF bands and have conversations around the USA and World. I upgraded my study guides for the General exam and began looking at HF radios. My Tech Ticket allows me to use 6 meter and a portion of the 10 meter band.
Again, buying used and staying with Yaseu, I settled on the FT-450D Base unit which offered all HF bands and 6 meter.
I have had a lot of fun with the HF chasing DX, long distance contacts. With limited antenna, only 10 meter access, and limited to 100 w of power, I have actually done quite well. So, what has happened with my General Ticket? Well, I have procrastinated and with photography, then preparing for the move followed by settling in here in GA, it just has not happened. There is a new question pool in June 2015 so I will begin studying again in the near future and hopefully get my General License by the end of summer.
Now that I am in GA, what have I been doing?? Well, to be honest not a lot yet. I have joined the Savannah area ARES group and participate in their weekly Nets but they do not appear as organized or as active as my NH counterparts. Also, the local repeaters are not as active as in NH. I do need to blend the photography (and its studies) with my Ham License studies. Its a good thing I am retired! Here is my station:
UPDATE On September 1st, 2015, I ordered a NEW TO ME (USED) radio. In NH, the local traffic was pretty much located on 2 meter so when I got my other radios, I saved a few bucks by only getting single band. Down here in Savannah, 2 meters is almost always quiet (other than a weekly ARES Net) and I have found most of the daily traffic is on 440 (70cm). I can hear that on my HT (Handheld) but wanted a station that could be powered and had a bit more reach. I found a Yaesu 8800/R for a reasonable price used and ordered it.
I also added a new dual band to my truck. I was able to order a Yaesu 7900R Dual Band with separation kit new from HRO for only $50 more than used.
Testing in the Shack ——————————– Installed in Truck
Update April 30th, 2016!!!!
Today I passed My General Class License Upgrade!
Update July 31st
Yesterday I passed my Extra Class License Upgrade
Also, getting into DStar Digital and added two New
Icom Radios, ID 5100 and ID 51A Plus
UPDATE 10/30/16, Added a 2nd Icom ID-5100 to my truck. Sold my Yaesu
FT-7900 mobile that was in my truck…
Below is a PDF of my Logs showing my 347 Log Entries as of 10/30/2016logbook