Thursday, February 3, 2011

One more off the Bucket List

As I approach my sixth decade (good grief, did I actually write that), I've been realizing that there are things I wanted to do but never got around, or had the patience to do.

One of which was to get my Amateur (ham) Radio License. I was really into shortwave (SWR) radio listening when I was younger, even bought and built a Heathkit receiver for use when I was stationed in Greece to listen to the Voice of America, BBC and Radio Canada.

While stationed there, I helped run the local military MARS station at the detachment, which also allowed me to listen to Hams in the US and elsewhere try to get QSLs from stations all over the world.

My problem was that I could never get past the Morse Code requirements. I could never send or receive at the speed needed. So I resigned myself to be a passive listener.

I didn't keep up with the license requirements, so when someone said they had just gotten their Technician level license, I asked what was the Morse requirement. He said there was none !! Sure enough, I was qualified for the Tech license, at least an online test said I was. When I sat for the test, I passed with flying colors.

A friend of mine had given me a 2m/440mhz Kenwood mobile rig, so I ran some coax up through a hole in the ceiling of a closet, installed a 2m antenna in the attic, and promptly started talking to locals through a repeater. Of course, there is only so much you can talk about locally, and I was definitely not going to get QSL cards from them. So, now its on to get my General, and a HF rig. Slowly, but surely I'm putting the 'shack' together, but first I'll dig out my old SWR set, and see if it still works.


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