What brought you into the world of Amateur Radio? Did a family-member introduce you? Perhaps it was your particular career? Just plain interest in technology? We’ve all been introduced to radio in different w […]
No, Aaron, it’s never far away. During a recent tornado warning down here, in Allen TX, I had my handheld with me at the Home Depot where I work, and we were able to confidently track the weather and keep those of us sheltering (trapped if you will) in the store relatively calm.
Back in the early 80s, having heard of this new technology in mobile phones called “cellular” I went on a campaign to get myself promoted to the radio group in the phone company. I even upgraded to a 2nd Class Commercial (which the FCC has always had the wrong name on) just to prove my interest. I got promoted alright, to the teletype group, where I became a recognized expert in digital communications.
1) On the TV one of my favourite programs was called The Forect Rangers – they had a walkie talki with callsign ‘xmy556a-for apple’ – no CB in the UK then. I really wanted a handheld radio.
2) When Scott Tracy arrived on the scene in Thunderbird one he set up a workstation to co-ordinate the rescue. A radio shack.
3) As a lad I had an isolated memory of rummaging though a cardboard box with my dad – a box in a large tent – full of morse keys. Later I realised that my family had visited drayton manor park just on the day the radio rally was held
4) I went to Uni and the radio club there during ‘freshers week’ all walked around with handbag like radios (TS2200 and 3200) and I was hooked.
I guess my father was the first one to get me interested in electronics, though not by his choice. In 1950 my father decided to take electronics training in radio/tv repair through the first home training course sponsored by RCA. I watched as he studied and completed the course, building our first tv, a 5″round crt with only the chassis it sat on, no cabinet or enclosure. The first movie on it was “invader from mars” the tv sitting on the kitchen table. I asked my father to teach me about electronics, but he refused, saying “finish school first”. He never budged from that position. We never had the money for me to take a course or pursue being a ham. I studied every book the libraries had on electronics, and had to be satisfied with that.
Later, life got in the way, marriage, 20 years in military service, another marriage, etc. Never had the time or money to pursue being a ham, as my marriage and earning a living came first. I have a hearing problem and cannot tell the difference between a dit or dah sound, so couldn’t pass the code test. I have worked as a radio/tv repairman in various places through the years. Design and build my own test equipment and devices, or anything else I was interested in. I have taken courses on my own also to further my knowledge. When younger I asked help from hams I met in Dayton, Huntington and in Cleveland. But having no money to get equipment or parts to build any, their answers were pretty much the same,”learn the code, study electronics, then they would think about helping me”. Things I already was trying to do, I already knew code frontwards and backwards, but no one wanted to hear about my hearing. my family could not afford to have a doctor look at my hearing problem. Not trying to degrade or blame anyone for their attitudes, just the way things were in the 40’s and 50’s for a kid from a poor family. That’s my sob story, today, I do have my license, extra, and enjoy being a ham. Not too active on the air, but spend most of my time designing and building various types of equipment, mostly to satisfy my own curiosity.
It’s so interesting to me how *difficult* it can be to get into ham radio! In some ways it’s a good thing, because almost every ham that you meet is smart and somewhat motivated (you’ve got to be motivated!), and also generally ‘curious’.