Tag Archives: Ham Radio

Huge props, muchas gracias, and *thank you!*

I’ve been long overdue with this letter of thanks to my Elmers that I sent out this morning. I’m posting it here as a reminder to you to says “thanks!” to someone who’s made a difference in your life lately.

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve been a ham for almost a year
now, and I owe almost all of that to you guys. The three of you have
been mentors, trouble shooters, a cheering section, whip-crackers, and
equipment sources for me since even before I first got licensed, and
you’ve kept that up even when I’ve been absent from the airwaves for
weeks at a time, absorbed in the rest of my life.

I want to let you three know how much I appreciate all your help and
encouragement, and to tell you that I’m the ham that I am today in
large part because of your guidance. I just hope that when it’s my
turn to mentor someone, I can do half the job you all have done with

My sincere thanks, and 73!

Trying to clarify myself…

It’s come to my attention that some of the local hams thought I was calling them out with my previous comments about the ham community. That’s not the case.

I’ve been taken to task by a couple seemingly old-school hams on 80m when I’ve tried to — always politely — get a signal report or add something to the conversation. That’s what I was alluding to in that post, albeit poorly. My apologies for the confusion, and 73 to *all* hams out there, no matter how grouchy or geeky. 😉

AJ’s new toy

I’ll give you some hints: it’s electronic (there’s a big surprise, right?), it’s sexy black, and could potentially fit perfectly in the entertainment center. And it’s not an XBox.

Give up?

Meet my new radio. I’ve been kind of dancing around it for about the last three months while I’ve been dancing around ham radio as a whole.

In the last month, though, every time I’ve talked with someone about my involvement in radio, I keep hearing myself say “I love the technology and the public service opportunities, but get frustrated by some of the people.” Finally, it clicked for me: If I give up, then the forces of darkness other people win. If every time someone new comes to ham radio, all they interact with are grouchy uber-geeks, then that’s they only kind of person that’ll be in ham radio. So I’m going to try to amplify the friendly, useful faces of ham radio around here. We’ll see how it goes.

And that brings me to the new radio. Another local ham* upgraded one of his radios, so he had one to sell. He gave me a great deal (yes, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse ;-)), and the radio is in pristine condition. For those of you who speak ham, it’s an HF+50MHz rig. For those of you who don’t speak ham, think medium and short wave, plus a little. Once I get my antenna repaired (and no, honey, I’m not going on the roof until you get home), I’ll be able to talk regionally (100-500 miles), across the country (500-2,500 miles), and around the world (do the math), depending on conditions. I’m pretty stoked!

A Note on the Ham Community

The guy I bought my radio from is a super-friendly guy, just like almost all of the hams I’ve had the good fortune to meet. There are only a couple of “pain-in-the-ass apples” out there in the ham ranks, but they’re louder than most of us regular apples. Most of us are just geeky people playing with geeky toys, and that’s cool.

Ham Radio Update

I’ve been appointed the Amateur Radio Emergency Services Emergency Coordinator for Bayfield County. That’s neat, but it’s also a little daunting, what being the go-to guy to try to draw other ham radio operators out of the woodwork and get them trained, certified, and useful in an actual emergency response.

I’ve got a great opportunity for a little local net training/community service coming right up: the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. I’m trying to get even one or two other guys to commit to doing communications for the Feb. 2-3 event with me, but so far, there’s a lot of “Well, that sounds neat; I’ll have to look at my calendar.”

And finally, I’m hoping that Santa will overlook that little toad-licking incident in June, and bring me a nice new soldering iron in my stocking. How ever else shall I maintain the head of nerdy geek steam that I seem to have built up?

See what happens?

I spend seven hours in the car (not all at once, thank god) yesterday, ace my general exam, then spend all night dreaming of the collapse of society due to compromised computer networks and panicky people.

And now I’m cuckoo for coax, trying to figure out all the little details of my first couple homebrew antennas. I think there’s going to be a copper J-pole and a smallish variety of wire antennas (say, one end-fed longwire, a couple inverted-Vs, and maybe a dipole or two for the higher HF bands.