My amateur radio history started around the age of 10, back in the mid-1980’s. Before the internet, and before cell phones where widely available. My father was incessantly listening to morse code practice cassette tapes in the car… after dinner… in the morning. And going to evening classes sponsored by the local ham club, at the local high school. My dad got his license… KA8ZFG…. a novice complete with successful part 1 code test. While his license went the way of the Mohicans and other great civilizations… it took a few more years for me to catch on.
About two and a half decades later, I dropped into a local testing session and successfully completed the no-code technician license exam. It was on a complete whim, during a rainy July weekend. I did not study much. Perhaps a few hours of review the night before, but I think all that information from 25+ years prior stuck with me. To my surprise, I left as a licensed technician class amateur radio operator – awaiting my call to be assigned which became KD8OOQ.
At the time I was living in the city. I wasn’t interested in long range contacts, or even regular bravo sierra aka ‘rag chew,’ as it’s called. I was interested in emergency local communication. After the famous northeast blackout in 2003, it became apparent out fragile our infrastructure really was. After licensed, I quickly ordered my Yaesu FT-60R hand held dual band radio, and off I was as a new ham. (Really, I was always a ‘ham’.)
About a year ago I ran across a ham participating in SOTA. K2JB. He renewed my interest in remote and long distance communications. Things take awhile these days.. I recently replaced my old and non-working batteries on that handheld Yaesu, and picked up a great deal on a 50w mobile to be used as base station. From the mountain, I’ve expanded my non-infrastructure communication range, using repeaters, from Knoxville to Charlotte, Kingsport to Augusta – about 100+ mile radius.
And that it my ham radio history.