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My path to ham radio

Why Ham Radio?


My interest in ham radio started in my early teens.  Initially, it was a quest to build a radio receiver.  After a few iterations

List of countries worked in a 3-day periodList of countries worked in a 3-day period

 I managed to get something working that I could use to listen to AM radio.  One evening a station blasted through that clearly was not your regular AM radio and my curiosity was immediately sparked.  After asking around a bit, I realized that I had heard a radio amateur or "ham" and then the idea of being able to transmit became a goal.

A local ham offered a course that would allow me to pass the exam and become licensed.  I later realized that this ham (OZ2KP) was the one I heard that night I listened to my simple homebrewed receiver.  In those days, the course had two parts:  Morse code and electronics theory.  Morse code was still used extensively then (1963), so it was actually a useful thing to learn and I made many contacts using CW.

So why after all this time do I still find ham radio fascinating?  Look at the picture on the left.  It was generated by a web site that analyzed my log of stations I worked over a 3-day period in October 2020.

It is a thrill to communicate with stations around the World - still.  The table shows the callsign prefix, the national flag, the "country" name and the number of stations I worked from that country in the 3 days.

The term "country" in ham radio incudes some distant territories.  For instance Alaska and Hawaii are considered different countries than the USA.  There are about 336 ham "countries"

I am often asked what we talk about on radio.  Well, my interest is mainly chasing distant stations or "DX", so most of my radio activity is mostly exchanging signal reports and location.  Other hams have other interests.  Some spend more time exchanging personal information, some are exchanging pictures or even small videos.  Some use satellites to reach other hams - a number of ham radio satellites are floating around the Earth with built-in transponders or "repeaters".  Even the International Space Station has ham radios on board.  This is why I will probably never get tired of ham radio:  there is always something new to try.