In to Radio, out, back in and back out again! (Part 1 of 2)

My Journey through Amateur Radio

Strange title I know but trust me, this is pretty much my experience when it comes to messing around with radio gear. Its all summed up in that one sentence.

Want to know my reasons for potentially dropping this hobby and never picking it up again? Read on….

Me with some of my gear. 1988
Me with some of my gear. 1988

CB Radio

It all started way back in about 1982ish when a mate down the street got a CB setup for his birthday. I spent quite a few weeks enviously looking at the gear and eventually did a deal. The deal was a straight swap for my small Snooker table and all his radio gear.

The setup consisted of a Bazooka antenna, Power Supply and a Harvard 420M

Harvard 420M
Harvard 420M

After tasking my Father to put the antenna on the chimney, we were finally on air. I decided that swordfish would be my handle and I spent a couple of years chatting on UK FM and of course making a few mates along the way.

11 Meters SSB

Eventually the old FM rig sat in a draw for a couple of years until I decided to fire things up again and have a listen about. This led to my discovery of SSB when a mate demonstrated his ability to work stations overseas. I decided to take the plunge and got myself a Major 588, it was a bit ropey but did the job. Eventually I landed a Hygain 5, a 50W amp and a Mini-Beam, this ended up being my main home setup for a least a couple of years.

HyGain5
HyGain5

Pissing Off the Neighbours

Unfortunately due to the power and bad tuning of my antennas, I began to cause the neighbours some serious TVI problems.

The house joined onto us (to the left of center) complained many times. Their video player would speed up and slow down and one time the guy came around and smashed the back door window in a fit of rage!

The other side to the right of center on one occasion threatened to shoot my antenna down with a rifle!

I had to stop working the radio from home and go mobile!

My house is the one bang in the centre.
My house is the one bang in the centre.

Going Portable

Not being able to work from home anymore due to the issues explained above, I decided to get hold of a better rig and start going mobile. I used to live near to some good hills and it was good to get out and about.

FT707
FT707

These were good times! The DX was great, I met quite a few good mates out and about, I could run power and more importantly not piss anybody off!

Get a Amatuer Radio License

Things were so good in fact that I went and sat my Amatuer Radio License, passed it and got my first VHF rig.

FT290
FT290

I fully embraced Ham Radio and got well into Packet when it was popular. I left 11 Meters behind, my career changed and it was difficult to do it justice anymore anyway.

Eventually due to that career change, I dropped the hobby completely, sold most of my gear and never touched a radio again for the next 16 YEARS!

In the second and final part, I reveal how I got back into radio in a big way and then dropped it once again never to return!!!

Link to part 2:

https://swordfishradio.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/in-to-radio-out-back-in-and-back-out-again-part-2-of-2/

 

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