August 8, 2009

Baked Ham

I have been involved in amateur radio off and on since 1960 and continuously licensed for over 30 years. I currently hold an Extra lass license that I got when I passed the examination and 20-wpm Morse code test in 1996. I am particularly proud of that last fact because, now you see, the Federal Communications Commission has eliminated the requirement that hams be able to send and receive Morse code.

While not an avid devotee of CW ("Continuous Wave", as Morse code is called), I plug along at about 15-20 wpm depending n the state of mind, the ears, and the amount of time I can devote to it. But it is, as I said, a source of pride that I got my ticket before the qualifications were watered down. So, just call me an old "code warrior".

The one aspect of the hobby I am unabashedly fervent about is building and operating QRP radios. These are radios that emit 5 watts (or less) of power and, when atmospheric conditions are good, can be used to contact other hams half way across the globe. Also, these radios can be made very small and therefore operated off batteries and from exotic locations - like from your camp site in the mountains.

Talking with foreign or far-flung amateurs is called "DX" (short for "distance") and, while difficult with radios operating at 100 watts or 1,000 watts of output power, at 5 watts it requires a good deal of luck and skill.

I have a lot of the former, and a smattering of the latter.

1 comment:

  1. I did field day this year too. 1D MI. CW only. Not long after that, my antenna came down and broke in two. Anyhow, I'll get it back up, sooner or later.

    73 de Pat K8CPA