Monday, September 08, 2008

I Passed My Ham Radio Test

Saturday I took my Amateur Radio Technician Test. Missed 1 question, so I took the next level test since it didn't cost me anything, but I didn't study for it, so I only got about half right. I'll have to bone up and attempt to take the test this weekend over in Maumee if the VCE's are there.

I'm also a member of the Toledo Mobile Radio Association - thanks to the group for the free 1 year membership. That's very nice of you guys!

Currently shopping for Radios online as I want to start getting into the local ARES and StormWatch groups and was looking at hand-held units. I like the Tri/Quad Band Yaesu VX-7RB but that costs almost $300. I think it's a smart choice as it does 6, 2, 1.25 meter, and 70cm bands. It's also got Full Spectrum Receive so if I get into ARES I can monitor commercial bands in addition to AM Aircraft Civilian bands (which being an ex-Private Pilot) I still enjoy.

I may wait for the Yaesu VX-8RB to come out, but a price point hasn't been established yet. It's a compact radio and has some neat features like a built in Barometer (but I doubt how accurate that is).

Next I'm going antenna hunting....as that's the most important thing to buy.

Amy keeps asking me, "Why?" Answer - I've always been fascinated by technology for whatever reason. Even today, simple things that you and I take for granted came from Amateur Radio. Broadcast Radio, Faxing, the Internet's TCP/IP reliable messaging protocol, and even more popular now-a-days VOIP (Voice Over the Internet). These are things "hams" have had for decades - yes - decades before the general public had even heard of them.

Almost 10 years back I picked up a Technician-Plus Test booklet, but didn't see the reason for learning CW (morse code for you newbies) so I put the book down and the FCC changed the test by the time I picked it up again....

So I wanted to get back into electronics theory again and ham radio was just the thing to get me going again. I just wish I had done it years ago.

Oh, and for you newbies - Amateur Radio does not mean I'm a newbie - on the contrary. I probably know more than the local Radio Station Engineer....Amateur Radio just means I cannot be paid for my efforts like "professional" radio personnel can.

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