I started putting this list together last month to note the highlights of my first year as an amateur radio operator. Here are the highlights.
Aug 2007 – Got my tech license and a dual band Kenwood TH-D7A(G) HT. I spent much over half the year just on VHF/UHF.
I attended my first club meeting with Bergen Amateur Radio Association (BARA). Other then getting my license, the smartest thing I did related to amateur radio. From the first person I met to the weekly nets, Tues night “kit nights” where everyone gets together to the monthly meetings, I look forward to each and every time I get together with the members. What I’ve learned from them in just 1 year is something I couldn’t have found anywhere else.
Sept 2007 – My first contest. The Sept VHF/UHF contest was terrific. From putting up the antennas, setting up the equipment, working station after station, my first satellite contact and just absorbing as much as I could. We ended up coming in 7th place in the US. My first bite of the contesting bug.
Oct 2007 – My first hamfest. I also took the General test and passed.
The next few months were spent on VHF playing around with Echolink, SSTV, APRS, etc.
In April 2008 I borrowed a HF radio and G5RV Jr antenna from a friend and got on HF. Since then, other then local nets or tooling around in the car, I’ve spent little time on VHF and all my on air time on HF.
I needed to return the radio to my friend just before field day so I ordered a Kenwood TS-2000. Great radio!! Speaking of field day, it too was a blast. Besides operating at the field day site, I came home for what I thought was a shower and nap, but I got on the air and started making contacts. I was really bitten by the contesting bug and now, almost every weekend, I’m looking to participate, in some way, in a contest that is going on.
QSL cards were designed and ordered and many, many, many have gone out to those that I have contacted.
I also did some smaller RTTY contests and really liked it. Participated in the CQ-WW-RTTY contest and made a good showing for my first time. Learning the terminology, what “assisted” really means, etc. Still learning every time I get on the radio.
So it’s been a heck of a first year and I’m so glad I made the decision to finally get my license. As for the next year, more contests, studying and hopefully passing the Extra exam, more toys to experiment with, CW to learn (maybe not this year), more time with the BARA folks learning and listening to stories, maybe a HF mobile setup, etc. Who knows, maybe even some sort of beam for 2m and 6m to go with my G5RV. All I know is I’m looking forward to seeing what else I learn in the coming months.
Thanks to everyone that provided me hints, tips, suggestions and guidance. And thanks to all the folks that came back to me when I put my call sign out there.