I’m a radio amateur based in Chelmsford, Essex. Radio Amateur’ing is a communications and technical hobby enjoyed by many and endured by the rest. Making contacts by radio – either direct, via repeaters, through satellites or bouncing signals off the moon is what we do. Sometimes, we even meet-up and talk to each other face-to-face.
In the Shack, I use a Kenwood TS-590SG with an 80m Doublet, 20/15/10m Fan-Dipole and a 40m/30m 1/4-wave vertical. VHF/UHF is taken care of with a 6m 3ele yagi and a V-2000. When the weather is good, I like to operate portable with either an Elecraft KX3 or an FT-857. I typically use a 10m fishing-pole to support a Linked Dipole in an Inverted-V configuration.
At home, I favour CW and datamodes such as JT/PSK/RTTY. When out /P, it’s a mixture of of CW+SSB – With the 857 I’ll be running 100w SSB and/or 50w CW, but with the KX3 it’s 10w QRP CW. I usually call at 17wpm, but will adjust (up or down) if needed.
I have written a few logging programs: If you’re looking for an all-in-one logging and digimode application, you can download PZTLog (free) plus the more advanced PZTLog Pro. A more basic solution is uLog and there’s support for Android tablets by way of tabLog – this is used for my /P activities and can import into most other logging apps via ADIF. These applications are being used by more and more Hams: Easy to configure, easy to use and practically free – just the way a simple Ham likes things.
My interest in amateur radio started when I was 12 with lots of listening on HF+2m along with learning CW – and managing to catch the peak of solar-cycle 22. Originally intending to take the RAE in 1994, it wasn’t until I turned 20 that I got my “ticket” after passing what was then known as the City & Guilds RAE and the Morse test to get the old Class A licence – and taking the PZT suffix from my Father, who was G6PZT.
Between 2004 and 2008, I was pretty much “QRT” from the hobby save for the occasional repeater QSO. Things changed when I decided that HF deserved a better look after having not bothered with it during the first few years of being licensed… an FT-817ND was purchased – bigger/better radios followed which, traditionally, have all been Yaesu but the main Shack radio now is a TS-590SG with the latest /P purchase the infamous Elecraft KX3.
I don’t belong to any “traditional” radio club – I don’t think it’s a requirement to succeed within the hobby (unless yours has it’s head screwed-on and facing the right direction)… After joining and having a spell on the committee of mine, I decided not to renew my membership as there was no appetite for progress, no desire to do any operating events and, despite a few exceptions, those running it were so stuck in the past I felt it best to let them carry on with their more “traditional” attitudes. It’s depressing to see clubs not “sell” the hobby (and themselves) properly: Whether it’s a poorly maintained website or complete disregard for new entrants – those that refuse to adapt will die – taking this hobby with it!