You can thank the
Daimler-Chrysler Corporation for my interest in ham radio. I was
one of the first ones to purchase the Jeep Grand Cherokee when they came
out in 1993. After a couple of shake down weekends, the family
pitched the camping gear in the back and we headed way out to the
boonies in north east Arizona. It was a good time until we went to leave
and the car wouldn't start. There was no cell phone service
in that area. (I didn't have one of those yet anyway.) The
emergency CB radio couldn't raise anyone in that location either. I had
heard from some ham friends that Arizona has an excellent mountain top
network of 2M and 70cm repeaters that pretty much blankets the
state. Unfortunately I wasn't a ham. However, the nasty experience
of getting back to civilization and getting the car out of there pushed
me to do something about it. Six weeks later I had passed the new
No Code Technician test and soon I was installing a 2M/70cm radio in
that Grand Cherokee.
It seems to be a habit with
me that once I get interested in a hobby I jump in with both feet!
Soon I had passed the General and Advanced written exams as well.
(Actually I passed these while waiting for the arrival of my No Code
Technician license.) Later I passed the 5wpm Morse Code test to become a
Technician Plus. With that in hand I also purchased an HF rig and a
couple of antennas to string up on the roof. Alas the sunspot cycle was
at its minimum and there were long stretches of total silence on the
airwaves. However, at the current time the sunspot cycle is heading back
toward maximum and life on the airwaves is good. Most afternoons 10m is
wide open from coast to coast.
Unfortunately I have never
gotten that Morse code up to 13wpm - mostly for lack of trying - so the
time limit on my General and Advanced written tests expired. I remain at
the Tech Plus level. My move 1 1/2 years ago from Mesa, AZ to
Dayton, MD also slowed down the hobby.
After losing my wire antenna
during a severe ice storm last winter I've finally got my Cushcraft R-7
erected. I poured a 1,000lb concrete slab in the side yard and bolted a
sturdy tripod to it. Then I mounted a 10' length of 1 1/2" EMT conduit in the tripod and bolted the R-7 on top. Naturally a spring
thunderstorm knocked a tree down and grazed it. I had to take it down,
dismantle it. bend everything back straight, and give it a good tune up. So far
If you're interested in
Amateur Radio (and the internet isn't taking up all your time!) check
out the links below. There aren't many because these have so many of
their own links that you can probably hit most every ham web page in the
world. Also try out the Amateur Radio WebRing located at the
bottom of the page.
Update: I passed
Element 4 and finally make it to Extra! To celebrate I have
replaced the old ICOM 737 with a Kenwood TS-2000 and have added a Cushcraft MA5B mini-beam. I also added an Ameritron AL811 600W linear. CQ you on the air!
Good luck and 73,
P.S. It was a bad ignition
coil and Chrysler eventually did a major recall.