Amateur Radio


I had an interest in amateur radio as a teenager in the 1960s. I even got as far as passing the RAE and getting a G8 call sign. I know it was G8 as I could not get my head to learn Morse and so never got a full G3 license. As I never had any kit of my own, I used the school's rig and, once I left school, I also left the hobby. I took a much greater interest in TV as my first job was a TV repair man.

45 years pass.
So in March 2013, I went to the local Amateur Radio Club, on the recommendation of a friend. Just to see what they were like you understand. There was a talk on that night about "old time electronics" using things called valves. Well I remember them and was surprised by how much I did remember. I went along the following week and signed up for the foundation course. I got my foundation license in April 2013 (M6CSQ) and immediately paid my subs to the club and signed up for the intermediate course which I passed in July 2013 (2E0NFY). After a bit of difficulty finding an exam centre I got a full license in October 2013 (M0NFY). That would have been so much better if my middle initial was E :-)

In August 2013 I got my first rig (Baofeng UV-5R). Well OK it's not a rig just a hand held but it does all the things needed to get on air on 2m and 70cms. The thing is I set myself the challenge to not to actually press the PTT button until I had the full license. I know many of the other radio amateurs do not understand this but it was a personal challenge I set for myself.

Just before getting my full license I got a used Yaesu FT-450D
FT450D
click on the image for a bigger pic.
and picked up a multi band antenna from an RSGB event.
You can see it on the table in a pic below.

Also at a NARC (Norwich Amateur Radio Club) table top sale I got this Yaesu FT-2700RH
FT2700
It needed a bit of work to make it all nice and shiny like new abut I am very happy with it.

I guess I had better get organised, build a shack and get on air.

And no sooner said than it was done.

desk pic and already the shelves are full and I need more! desk pic and true to form more space is made and it fills up right away.
antenna pic and finally my current antennas. I hope to get higher one day.

Now here's a funny thing. As the NARC has been so good to me in helping me get my license I thought it would be a nice thing to return the favour by helping out here and there.

Nothing too much like hard work you understand. Just a bit of printing, a few hours of time helping out with training etc. I have the time and, well hey, it's fun to do.

So you could have knocked me over with a feather when, at the 2014 AGM, I was given an award "for most active newcomer".
I was very embarrassed, partly as I didn't think I'd done anything to deserve it but more because I hadn't bothered to put a shirt on that night as I had been in a bit of a rush. Yes they did take my photo for the rouge's gallery.

The award itself is this plaque award pic and to be custodian of this rather nice plate plate for the year.

It's taken me a while to get this one sorted out but I have now got CAT control over my HF rig. From two different computers.
I can't say it's as reliable as I would like it but it does work quite well enabling me to work CW and PSK31 & 63 on most bands.
The biggest problem I have is the automatic audio gain on the PC sound card. I can not disable this which is a real pain as I need to store very different configurations for the different modes.
Still it's good fun and some quite distant contacts have been heard. One day I'm going to start replying to them. :-)

31st July, 2014. And for my next trick!
Each year the Norwich ARC runs a Trophy Fox Hunt, where a couple of guys (last year's winners) go and hide somewhere and make regular but brief transmissions.
We, the hounds as it were, use DF kit to hunt them down. (Can you see where this is going yet)?
As I have never done any DF work I thought I'd give it a go, and yes I was first to find them.
Although I came 3rd overall as distance travelled is the main determining factor.
I have to say I did feel rather smug with myself for doing so well first time out.

Nov 2014.
My latest toy. ft-897 pic
I bought up all the gear from someone who has left the hobby as well as this FT-987 I also got my hands on a PSU, an antenna analyser, a TNC and an ATU.

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention both me and the XYL (M6POI) are learning Morse thanks to Malc (G0EGA) running a GB2CW course at the weekends.

More may appear here as time goes by.



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