It’s been 27 years since I could last call myself a ham. I got my Novice licence in 1969 (WN8EGB) and quickly upgraded to General class amateur radio operator WB8EGB. Back then you had to travel to an FCC Field Office for testing, where first you were administered a Morse code test, 5 words per minute for Novice and 13 WPM for General. I think the 20 WPM requirement for Extra class kept me away from “going all the way.”
I was very active in the early 70’s, my high school years and into college. But then came a time to get a job. . . .and get married. . . . and have kids. . . and forget about all the fun I had with electronics and ham radio. Although I was inactive in the early 80’s I should have at least kept my license active when renewal time came around in 1985.
But no I didn’t. Besides a whole new play toy was coming around. . . .PCs. Computer technology took over my career as well as hobby and I never really thought about ham radio again. Let’s move to 2012.
I’m cleaning and making room in a closet for more storage boxes, when I knock over a cardboard bankers box and out comes an old logbook and dozens if not hundreds of QSL cards. Oh my! I don’t remember how many hours passed while I looked at the cards, paging through the logbook and reminiscing about a Heathkit HW-16 and SB-401 and a Yaesu FT101 that I remember having years ago. Kapow! The radio itch started again and I had to scratch it.
So I started Googling! The first thing that hit me was that transceivers were a lot more expensive than I remember. Then I thought with my small city lot I’ll never be able to put up a 40 foot tower with a Mosley tri-band beam antenna. But I didn’t get discouraged. I bought a $50 dollar Baofeng 2m handheld to listen on the airways and study for a Technician’s license.
So I got Gordo’s Technician Class book and read through it. . . .with much of it feeling eerily familiar. Took some practice tests at HamTestOnline and felt I was ready. So today I went to a local amateur radio club and took my Tech exam and passed. The VE (Voluntary Examiner) then said for no extra money I can try the General exam. Oh boy, now I started getting jittery, but no cash out of my pocket I went along. Yep, you guessed it, I passed!
Feeling I was on a roll, I then went for the Extra class exam. It was longer with 40% more questions than either the Tech or General, and I needed to correctly answer 37 of 50 questions. I knew soon into it, my luck or more specifically my knowledge had run out! Yes, I failed that one, but walked out with my General Class license, although I have to wait for the FCC to assign me a call sign.
But still the feeling is a good one. Hope to be on the air soon.