When my renewal notice came in the mail, I was surprised to learn that I’ve had my ham radio license for just over ten years.
I received my Technician class license in college shortly after my classmate Tony introduced me to the world of amateur radio. I started out playing with TNC‘s and packet radio. Later, with Tony’s help, I built various microwave radios so I could participate in the very active San Diego Microwave Group. Some of my projects included a 10GHz transverter and a simple 24GHz wideband radio that used a surplus gunnplexer as an RF source, the same kind as found in police radar guns and many automatic door openers. (Please excuse my ancient webpages, they were cool ten years ago, ok?)
Here I am with my 10GHz transverter in the summer of 2000 during the ARRL 10GHz and Up Contest.
I also used to be somewhat active on 2m/440 and still have the Kenwood TH-79A radio my Dad bought me after I got my license. I still use it today, but not for voice communications. It has a new life now as part of my APRS Tracker project.
After seeing how many hams there were at NOTACON earlier this year, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my license to General class. This will give me more operating privileges on the HF bands, the traditional low frequency / long distance communication bands that are most commonly associated with amateur radio. My goal is to set up an HF station at home and maybe start playing with a Software Defined Radio system such as GNU Radio with custom homebrew hardware.
Before my trip to HAR I picked up a copy of the ARRL General Class License Manual and printed out a list of VE sessions in the Bay Area over the next couple of months. Now that I’m back, it’s time to start studying!