Ham Radio – a hobby that is enjoyed by many – and endured by their family, friends and neighbours.
I got my Ham “ticket” in 2001 after passing what was then known as the City & Guilds RAE plus the 12wpm Morse test to get the old Class A (or “Full”) licence. Over the years, my interests have moved from VHF “square-chasing” to operating across HF and using CW a fair bit.
Although chasing the DX makes my logbook stats look pretty, I’m happy to have a chat if conditions allow – if I’m on CW, I usually call at around 18wpm but will QRS if asked.
- 80m End-Fed Halfwave – presents a low SWR on most bands
- 80m Doublet @ 30ft – can be switched to a 160m “Tee” fed against some ground radials
- 20m Loop @ 15ft – Runs around the roof of the Shack/Workshop
- 160m Inverted-L (seasonal) – 9m up, ~30m long with 20 or so buried radials varying 10-20m each
- VHF/UHF “White-Stick” – for the local riff-raff
In recent years, I’ve enjoyed operating portable in order to make the most of a better location. I’ll typically use a 40m Doublet for HF, a home-made Slim-Jim on 2m FM, a 5ele yagi for SSB, plus simple dipoles for 4m+6m. Portable logging via my own tabLog Android app.
How are the bands? I often use the NOAA website to see how HF is looking – if there’s a colourful “splodge” (what I like to call a Jackson Pollock) on the map then things may not be good. The Solar Levels here also give a good indication as to conditions.