Saturday, December 27, 2008

Welcome to Standing Waves

Welcome to Standing Waves, the ham radio blog of David Palm, W9HQ.

Ham radio has been a long-time hobby for me, but there are stretches during which I have not been very active. I was first licensed as a Novice in the mid '70s. Unfortunately, that foray into ham radio never came to much. There was a long (for a kid) stretch of time between when I got my license and when I got a rig and antenna, so my ability to copy CW had deteriorated. You always hear about the kid who gets his license and has his first QSO with some exotic locale, but my first "contact" on 40 meters ended up being with a guy just across town. And in fact as the stream of dits and dahs came pouring out of the receiver, I was so flustered and bewildered by my inability to copy the code that I actually just turned off the rig in the middle of the QSO. Ouch! Can you spell anticlimactic? After that I never did much more, so the license expired. I don't even remember that Novice call sign and the FCC no longer has record of it.

Then in the late '70s my interest in the hobby was rekindled. I got serious about learning Morse code and became quite proficient at it. Finally, when I was ready I rode with my dad to the FCC office in Kansas City, MO and took my 13 wpm code, General written, and Advanced written exam that day. At the time I could have passed the 20 wpm Morse code test, but, alas, the Extra written exam (which was considerably harder then than it is now) was too difficult for me. Now, of course, I regret not having pushed forward and gotten the Extra license then. Still, the Advanced license gave me lots of privileges and I was quite active for a few years, as N0CVR. But eventually other interests crowded out ham radio.

A couple of years ago we heard, through homeschool channels, that there was a class being conducted locally for kids interested in getting licensed as hams. I asked my oldest child, Christopher, if he was interested and he was. So he took the course and ended up licensed as KC9JTL. When Christopher got his license I upgraded to Extra and changed my call sign from N0CVR to W9HQ (I'll have more to say about the vanity call sign dilemma in another posting.)

Now my wife is licensed as KC9MRX and my oldest daughter is KC9VEM. In our family, we are using ham radio instead of expensive cellular phone subscriptions. In addition to the use of ham radio for family communications, I'd love to discuss my other ham radio interests, including antenna building, digital modes (especially PSK31), CW, weather spotting, and others.

If any of this is interesting to you then I invite you to subscribe to the blog. And by all means, feel free to leave comment.

73 DE W9HQ