Friday, August 1, 2008

I Feel Like a Ham

The more I'm in this hobby, the more I learn and the more I want. Do you ever get that feeling? It all started when I got my technician license back in April of this year. Robin (AJ4IJ) got me my first HAM radio after I got my ticket. It's a Yaesu VX-170 2 meter FM HT (for those non-hams HT means handy talky). It was long after that that we were both itching for a base station at the house. We've been driving dad's (KU4ME) jeep and it is equiped with an Alinco DR150 2 meter FM mobile radio. It wasn't long before we put a Kenwood TM-261A 2 meter FM in the car. This was Robin's old 2 meter rig she used to have in her old Saturn. It wasn't long before we finally got a base station set up. Dad let us have his old Radio Shack HTX-212 2 meter FM transceiver. To add to all that equipment, you might already know that we have a Jetstream JTB-1 2 meter/440 antenna put up in the air in the back yard. You can check out the post Hoisting the 2meter Vertical for more info on that. Robin has a Kenwood TH-22AT 2 meter FM HT radio, and our daughter Ashby (KJ4EGJ) was presented with an Alinco DJ-V17 2 meter FM HT upon getting her Ham ticket.

So we've been having fun rag chewin on 2 meters with our different radios. We check in to various nets around our area here in East Tennessee. We rag chew late into the night, and recently, as you may well know, we steal moments over at mom (KI4SSI) and dads to chase some DX and play on dad's HF radio (Icom IC-756 Pro). We've worked on his existing antennas, we've put up an inverted V cut for 75 meters (aka 80 meters), and we built a mutliband HF dipole for field day, which we now have up in the air over at mom and dad's as it gets out a bit better than his gap verticle.

The next thing we have to work on, is to hook up the Alinco DR430 70cm FM transceiver radio that dad has lent us to play with. We also have to help dad ground mom's radio and antenna, she has a Ten-Tech 526. This was dad's radio (I guess it still is) but he's set it up for mom to use. So as you can see I'm well into the Ham world since I started back in April. I've since earned my General back in May, and then my Extra ticket in June.

However, I think the thing that has made me really feel like a HAM is that I got my first ever issue of QST magazine. That's right folks, Robin signed us up for a family membership to ARRL earlier this week. Today I got my membership card and my first issue of QST magazine. I thumbed through it almost immediately when I got home from work. I drooled over all the HAM gear that was in it (well I didn't really drool by my eyes were as big as a kid's at Christmas when they first walk into the room and see all the presents under the tree). I read a few little columns and letters, and started to read a really interesting article on grounding your station (which I need to finish).

Anyway, between all the gear, catalogs, the ARRL memberships, and much more (like working toward earning the Worked All States, aka WAS, award) I can honestly and happily admit that I am a HAM.

Good DX everyone.

73 de AJ4JD

P.S. I promise I'll get some station pics, antenna pics, and rig pics of our stuff up here soon.

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