Amateur Radio

June 2016 Update

I contacted the local ham radio club connected with ENMU (my undergrad alma mater) and went to my first meeting, where they almost immediately put me on the air!  I made my first contact (well, checked in to a regional net) and got drafted to work with the club website!  It is exciting to actually act like a ham!

August 2015 Update

I just passed my Element 4 test and am now an Amateur Extra license holder! Of course, I am getting a new callsign (AG5AH) commiserate with my new status. Still don't have a working radio, but I will remedy that one day...

My General (retired) callsign: Kilo Echo Five Yankee Golf Tango

Peter Sellers and Sterling Hayden

Before August 2015, I held General Amateur radio license with the callsign KE5YGT.

"Yankee Golf Tango" is the first half of the Primary Target Reference for the B52 Stratofortress Leper Colony, commanded by Major T. J. "King" Kong (Slim Pickens) from the movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). You can't let go of a callsign with such a wonderful cultural reference - it is just too precious a thing.

Fall 2014 Status

I pulled out the China 2m and couldn't hear a thing. Either this radio doesn't work (it is hard to test it), or I am in another radio black-hole, which seems impossible in a place as big as OKC! Someday, I need to invest in some real equipment!

Summer 2012 Status

Still have only the China 2m and not a QSO even attempted. I have not been camping out with work at all in almost 2 years, so things are a little depressing on all these fronts.

Feb 2011 Status

I have a Chinese 2m handheld that I have never had a QSO with. I have listened to others on the radio when I have been in more populated areas, but they couldn't hear me. Also, no one in my town seems to use 2m, so it is practically useless to me. I may sell it off at some point.

I have, on-and-off, been trying to learn Morse, but I lack resolve. I would need a 20m (preferred) or 40m setup to contact anyone, I think, given my remote location from other operators. I would really like to do something digital as well. My first contact will happen one day...

History

I had always been interested in ham radio, but figured I didn't have the money or connections to pursue it. It was always a toss-up between computers and ham radio, but my access to computers came first and jobs ultimately followed. This doesn't happen so readily in radio.

In 2008, I was very stably in my NMSU System Analyst job and terribly bored. I figured that I could just get my license (only costs about $15) on an odd trip to Albuquerque and that would be that. I bought a few books, studied very little, took all the tests and was four points away from earning an "Extra" Ticket. So, I have a "General" License, which lets you do everything on the all bands, except for a few privileged frequencies. Perfectly adequate for me, especially since I didn't have to learn Morse Code right off the bat.

My first radio was a Small Wonders Labs "Warbler" transceiver that I built from a kit. I finally got everything pulled together, but I live in quite a radio-remote place and I doubt I had everything worked out. Ultimately, I sold it rather unused.

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