Foundations of Amateur Radio #185:
December 21, 2018
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What are you proud of?
Often we forget the things we've done or
achieved and every now and then it seems like
a solid use of time to reflect a little on
what went before and what that did. Recently
I asked various amateurs what they were proud
of having done or achieved in the past year,
their little personal victory, their thrill
to keep coming back to the hobby.
For me it was the research and production
behind "Is man-made noise really vertical?".
It took several weeks to research and produce
and received only a handful of responses on
social media or via email, even though it was
downloaded and read about 10,000 times or so.
For me it gives me a thrill to have spent
time digging into the Who, What, Why, When,
Where and How of a topic that seems steeped
in myth and often remains unexplained or
One amateur shared that they'd made their
first HF contact from Perth to Romania, one
had gotten their license this year after
procrastinating for 30 years, another came
back to the hobby after being away for a
decade. There was an amateur who managed to
set-up a rotatable Yagi on 6m.
There were a couple of amateurs who have each
been building a repeater network, another who
built a 6m Yagi antenna and pre-amplifier,
another who erected their tower after 5
years, another who managed to get an article
published in the national amateur radio
magazine, another who set-up their G5RV and
connected it to an Air Spy to make WSPR spots
after only a year and a half in the hobby.
One amateur got their license upgrade and is
looking forward to learning CW next year,
another got their station fully set-up and
returned to being an active radio amateur.
There was an amateur who managed to get
through a 20m SSB pile-up.
A friend told me that their achievement of
the year was to listen, both to others and
themselves. There was an amateur who used 10
Watts to make a contact between Massachusetts
and New Zealand, one who worked the SO-50
satellite with a Baofeng radio and a rubber
duck antenna. One amateur managed to work AO-
92 with the same type of gear, made two
contacts and even has a recording from one of
One amateur celebrated the arrival of their
Bengali key, considering it Christmas before
Christmas. One amateur who made their first
contact between Texas and the Netherlands
used a 20m self-built Moxon beam constructed
from wire and fishing poles.
There was an amateur who got their license
and is impatient to get on air, it's been a
week of waiting. One person upgraded to the
top license class and actually started
operating. One aspiring amateur was inspired
by how easy it was to get licensed and is
planning for their entrance as a licensed ham
in the new year, mind you, that did't stop
him from listening and decoding a NOAA
satellite image using an RTL dongle.
One amateur decided that he just couldn't
wait for his license, studied three days and
passed his test. He's now building his first
radio, looking forward to making a contact.
There's an amateur who joined the ranks and
is now looking forward to going for an
upgrade to his license next year. One ham has
been licensed for 10 months and is already
having a blast, erected his first real tower
and now has a VHF antenna at 60ft, that's 20m
up in the air.
There's one amateur who has been learning
about what a cheap RTL-SDR dongle can do with
SDR# and he's saving up for an Icom 7300.
He's finding it tough to balance between
spending his money on high-end audio and
saving for his Icom. Take it from me, the
radio wins, every time!
I've only scratched the surface of the
activities undertaken in the past 12 months,
but it's clear that being an amateur is a
positive experience for many people, getting
on air and making noise, learning, having
fun, trying things and exploring this
wonderful hobby is ingrained in much of the
Before wrapping up, I'd also like to credit
Will VK6UU for independently asking the same
question and for the countless amateurs who
responded, many of whom I wasn't able to
squeeze in this time around. Perhaps I should
do this more often.
What's your proudest moment in the past 12
months? Let me know.
I'm Onno VK6FLAB
To listen to the podcast, visit the website:
http://podcasts.vk6flab.com/. You can also
use your podcast tool of choice and search
for my callsign, VK6FLAB. Full instructions
on how to listen are here:
All podcast transcripts are collated and
edited in an annual volume which you can find
by searching for my callsign on your local
Amazon store, or visit my author page:
http://amazon.com/author/owh. Volume 7 is out
Feel free to get in touch directly via email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, follow on twitter: @vk6flab
(http://twitter.com/vk6flab/) or check the
website for more: http://vk6flab.com/
If you'd like to join a weekly net for new
and returning amateurs, check out the details
at http://ftroop.vk6flab.com/, the net runs
every week on Saturday, from 00:00 to 01:00
UTC on Echolink, IRLP, AllStar Link and 2m FM
via various repeaters.
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