All my life I wanted to have a radio base station. The Dukes of Hazard county had their CB's and remember Alf? The character who was the family's father had a base station.
Fast forward to adulthood and I was envisioning a base station in my camper, and handhelds for my hikes. Sitting at camp one day with my dad, I told him my plans, but he wasn't interested. In fact related a story about radio from the late 70's when CB was the rage. He had hopped on the band wagon and then received a phone call from my grandpa to tell him he was going to call him on the radio later. That was a total turn-off for my dad, how idiotic was it to call someone on the phone to tell him he was going to call him on the radio?
Roughly 14 years later, I was surprised to hear my dad tell me that he was getting into ham radio. In fact, he was a technician class operator, and he was asking me if I would be interested in it. He explained to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was pushing members to become amateur radio operators for emergency purposes and that's the reason he was now interested in it.
Well, I purchased a Baofeng handheld transceiver on June 27 of last year and have been monitoring the Malad link of the Intermountain Intertie ever since. It's actually down right now, and has been for going on 3 months now, at least I think it is since I haven't heard a peep from it since the beginning of December.
Originally, I was dead set against getting a call sign, since I'm a natural born American citizen and cannot be legally or lawfully compelled to license or register myself or my property. I took several months to study the United Stated code (U.S.C.) and the code of federal regulations (C.F.R.) concerning amateur radio. What I found would probably shock and maybe anger all amateur radio operators. I won't go into any detail about that at this time, as it suffices me to say that I decided to go ahead and get a call sign.
I made the decision to get my call sign about 1 week before Thanksgiving 2014 and purchased the 3 American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.) training manuals along with their "Operating Manual". They arrived the first week of December and I put all my normal activities on hold while I dedicated two full months to study for the three exams.
My study method was three fold: The first thing I did was record me reading the question pool and correct answers; I would listen to that first thing every day and while I was working; And finally, I used the manuals exactly as they were intended. It's a miracle that I wasn't dreaming about the exams, or the study material. :-D
I did get really stressed out as the exam date got closer and I purchased Gordon West's amateur extra CD course. It arrived about a week or two before the exam date. It was fun to listen too, but since it was designed to go with his own textbook, which I did not get, I don't think it really helped me. I ended up sending them to my dad who is going for his extra class status this week.
The exam session was 50 miles away, and I didn't want the hassle of returning later so not only did I take all three exams when the day came, I took enough money for 2 make-up exam. I was prepared to fail at least one exam and thought it would be the general class exam. That was unnecessary as I passed all three exams first and only try. :-D
And, now that I am an amateur radio operator, I need to move out of my house because the owner of the house I rent does not want me to put up an antenna. :-( I was hoping to spend this month building a high frequency (HF) transceiver, but now I'm sorting through possessions and packing and throwing things out, and looking for a now place to live, which I haven't found yet.
My plans for the hobby is to make my own radios and antennas and collecting QSL cards. I have no interests in the least bit of emergency communications.
My first radio build is going to be the Minima and after that, my goal is to build everything in the book Crystal Sets to Sideband. The author of Crystal Sets to Sideband, Frank W. Harris, KØIYE, recommends buying an A.R.R.L. handbook from the 1980s. I found a 1986 version on eBay, and purchased it. I love it. I cannot wait to get started making some of the devices in it, like the antenna analyzer and other testing equipment.