Jack, KD9LCB recently joined the club. I’ve been working with him to get a VHF/UHF station up and running. After he made a few on-air contacts I asked him for some thoughts his experience so far with ham radio
What got you interested in ham radio?
I got interested in ham radio by watching my son operate his radio and seeing all the new people that he made contact with and all the different areas of the United States and the world that he connected with. I realize that with some nice equipment and the knowledge and skill for operating it the opportunities seemed boundless to make connections with people all over the world.
What did you use to study for the exam?
I used the book I called Now You’re Talking [from the ARRL]. I read the book cover to cover and then I started to use the practice exams online I studied for about 6 weeks, an hour or two hours a day and took practice exams and when I got to the point where I was getting 30 or more correct on a regular basis I took the test. This was somewhat difficult for me because I have no electronics background, being in corporate media sales for 25 years, but it was fun. I’m retired now and I had the time to do it.
What did you find interesting at the first meeting you attended?
I was very impressed by my first meeting at the Schaumburg radio club. It was very well organized and everyone seemed to contribute something in a positive manner. The members I chatted with were extremely nice. I found the presentation about the emergency Weather Service [Skywarn] very interesting. And the upcoming events showed that this is a club that not only talks but takes action by being involved in community service and other activities.
From the meeting, or from contacts you’ve had on air: Is there anything that you heard about that you’d like to learn more about in the hobby?
I have tons of stuff to learn. I want to make contacts in every state of the union and one day go international if the sunspots and the ionosphere cooperate.
Tell us about your first contact. What repeater did you use? Was the ham you contacted helpful, welcoming, etc? What radio did you use and how did it work?
My first contact was through the Bolingbrook repeater [K9BAR]. I talked to a ham in Naperville. This was right after I set my up my station in a spare bedroom. I tried not to embarrass myself as I told him I was new and he was kind enough to provide a signal check. I was hooked 10 minutes after my son set up my equipment I was on the air with a halfway decent connection!
I was using a 50 watt power source with a mobile Icom 207 transceiver and a mobile antenna located on the top shelf of my desk.
Do you think the material you covered for the exam helped you make your first contacts?
I think that the material covered in the exam did help me establish some first connections but some of the material was redundant. I don’t think I’ll ever use it but who knows. Knowledge is power regardless of what you’re doing.
What parts of the hobby do you plan to continue exploring?
As mentioned before I plan on broadening my horizons with long-distance communications and community service.