Ham Radio
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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 so good.

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.

Most Excellent Ham Links



  • AC6V - Massive Ham Links site
  • ARRL - American Radio Relay League

  • FCC Forms - License Renewal, Vanity Calls, etc.

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