I was at a church meeting the other night and I happened to have my HT clipped to my belt, although it was somewhat hidden under my shirt. The bottom of it was showing when I sat down on the couch and a friend of mine asked me, “dude, is that a pager??” A pager. Right. I unclipped the radio and showed it to him, and he asked if it was a Ham Radio, to which I said yes. Then he proceeds to ask the standard questions (he knew I was into Ham Radio because of my Facebook posts, so he didn’t guess this on his own)
That small conversation got me to thinking about the fact that most people have heard of Ham Radio, but they know little more than just the term. The main question I am asked when someone sees my HT is “hey, can that thing talk around the world?” Most people don’t understand the difference between HF/VHF/UHF or at least they aren’t aware that Ham Operators can use the higher frequencies.
Ham Radio isn’t one of those hobbies that is chosen by people who wake up one Saturday morning and say,” hey, I think I want a radio license”. Most people are introduced to it by another Ham Operator. My exposure came from an older gentleman who has now gone Silent Key, whom I actually met over the CB Radio. (Yes, I worked CB when I was in high school and college) Had I known what Ham Radio was back then, I would have definitely studied for my license earlier than I did, but as it is now I got my first license at the age of 20.
So this older gentleman, whose name was Nelson, brought up the topic of Ham Radio one day, so I asked him what that was. After he explained it, we decided to study together and take our tests. I got my callsign of KC5HWB in July of 1994, and he got his just a couple of weeks later of KC5JMY. Back then the Denton Club was very active, which I believe it still is, and we worked those machines up in Denton and Lewisville areas. The main repeater I was on during that time was the N5GEJ repeater at the Texas Instruments plant in Lewisville on 145.170MHz.
So how did you hear about Ham Radio? Who do you have to thank for finding this cool hobby for you?