Amateur Radio And Me
KC2RGW - How It All Got Started
This is my call sign, issued by the FCC as an affirmation that I have in fact passed elements 2 and 3 of the amateur radio test pool. These call signs are unique. There isn’t another operator with the same call sign as mine. In more plain terms, I am a ‘general class’ ham radio operator and have been licensed since April of 2007.
Try to explain why I am a ham gets to be fairly interesting as my basic theory is, if someone doesn’t have an instinctual fascination with radio, there isn’t a lot I can say to rationalize the hobby to them.
I have had an almost innate fascination with anything to do with radios since I was a child. I could lock myself in a room and occupy myself tuning up and down a radio dial for hours. What I was listening to over the air has often been a secondary reason for the operation, almost a side effect. It was the tinkering around with the equipment and the wonder of what might pop up over the airwaves that was always the main attraction for me.
Since my family wasn’t a group of engineers and had nobody with any prior ham radio background, I was aware of the hobby for years, but really didn’t know how to get involved or make the extended effort to find out. Pre-internet days, it was much more of a word of mouth hobby. A casual interest and a google search now can land you days and days worth of information on the hobby and how to get started. As recently as maybe 15yrs ago, you really had to know people involved in the hobby to get any direction at all.
Also, going back just a few years, in order to become licensed on the lower bands, one had to pass a Morse code exam. Learning the code can be trivially easy for some and for others like me, it’s quite painful. I can master many things that most people could never get their heads around, but the code is still an ongoing process for me to learn. In 2007 the requirement for Morse code was finally lifted and as soon as I found that out, I was in an exam session about two weeks after the effective date.
I have been enjoying the hobby immensely since my license was issued. I primarily work ‘phone’ on SSB i.e. talking to people around town, the county, or the world, with my voice. However I have explored many other modes of operation and frequently work the many sound card driven, computer based ‘digital’ modes like psk31, mfsk16, Olivia, slow scan TV and packet radio.
One of the great things about the hobby is the sheer variety and vastness to it. It is an experimenters’ playground and I try my best to make as much use of it as I can.