My Reasons for being a HAM

As a father, and husband I believe in the need for not only emergency preparedness but also the need for emergency communication pathways that can not only serve my family and myself, but also the the community and country as a whole. This is the primary reason for Amateur Radio as stated by the FCC. The amateur radio service (known as HAM radio) is an emergency communications network capable of communicating around the world on a daily basis.

Once you are a HAM, you will find a brotherhood of like minded individuals from all over the world. Many get on the air daily, chatting about daily life, radios, cars, guns, and the list goes on and on. Many have “friends” they have met only on the air.

Amateur Radio can be as technically challenging as you wish your journey to be. We are the only radio service authorized to build and modify our own equipment. You can build kits, design and build your own amplifiers, or simply operate.

Modes of operation, and the frequencies they are used on, are as varied as the operators themselves. Who, by the way, are just average Joes. You may know a ham personally and not even realize it, they come from all walks of life. Firefighters, police, lawyers, engineers, construction workers, airline pilots, waitresses, medical professionals and the list goes on and on are all possible hams. I’ve met hams who were early teens and younger to the older retired generation. All can be hams as long as the desire to learn and an interest in radio is there.

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are simply unwilling to do.

Your success in Amateur Radio, and life in general, is only limited by your drive to accomplish it.

Limitations are only limitations if you allow them to by. HOAs can make a ham’s life difficult by limiting the type and size of antennae you can erect but this isn’t really a reason to be stopped if you don’t want it to be. Hams around the world use antennae mounted on fences, in attics, disguised as flagpoles, and wire strung through trees in a difficult to notice way. They also can and have used things like the gutters around a house as antennae quite successfully. Of course, some options are more effective than others, but that’s part of the fun! Experiment, build your own, if you wish, and find what works for your situation.

Background

Licensed in 95 as a “no code tech” I’ve been active in VHF/UHF/HF phone ever since. I’ve witnessed the “code” requirement be dropped down to 5wpm, and then eventually be removed. I’ve also seen the Novice, Tech+, and Advanced license classes all but go away as the FCC no longer issues those but Novice and Advanced licensees can renew their licenses. Tech+ went away when the Technician class was granted Novice HF privileges so there was no longer a need for that license class as it was now essentially Technician class.

For a few years life happened and I didn’t get to operate as I would have liked but the interest and desire never died.

My wife, God bless her, came to me a few years ago feeling the need to have emergency communication pathways opened up wider asked me to fully erect the station again. And so here we are, on the journey together!

Experience

I’ve operated Field days, contests, rag chews, nets and a multitude of modes. I’ve built my own antennae and equipment.

Some of the modes I have and indeed still do operate are:

• Single Side Band (SSB)
• Amplitude Modulation (AM)
• Frequency Modulation (FM)
• Satellite (AMSAT)
• Packet (a digital mode using AX.25 protocols)
• Slow Scan Television (SSTV)
• Radio Teletype (RTTY)
• HF Weak Signal Digital (FT modes like FT8/FT4)
• Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS)