Still Here!

Looking at the date on my last post, it is apparent that it has been over a year since I last posted. I was working on a post about a project that I was working on back in February of ’09, but I lost it when my computer crashed. I kept telling myself that I could stat over, but I haven’t done it. I have also started on a few other projects that I think will be much more interesting to write up.

For a brief overview of what has transpired in the last year, read on.

My first big event with the local club (KB0SSR) was a Tour de Cure bike ride. There where several clubs that came together to provide support for this event. I had the opportunity to meet Hams from other clubs and chat with them about all things radio. I got my first first exposure to SSTV there and saw a lot of mobile setups that gave great ideas for what I want to do with my truck. It was truly a great experience.

I was part of my first Field Day experience in June ’09. I very much enjoyed it, and made my first HF contacts there. If I remember correctly, our club came in 2nd to last in the standings. Which I am told is the highest we have scored in a long time. Since I was the new guy, I think it must have been my contacts that made the difference, hi hi. The reality is that I was still a little nervous operating an HF rig, especially one that was not my own, and didn’t really make very many contacts. Also Field Day is very much a team effort and I wouldn’t seriously claim that any effort on my part made the difference in and of itself.

The next major happening in my HAM life was the purchase of my first HF rig. I bought a Kenwood TS-820s for a friend in the club. I didn’t get an antenna up right away because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to setup and funds were limited. I finally ended up putting up a G5RV with the help of my family and a member of the club who loaned me a balun and much advice to get me running. I spent a few days listening and getting familiar with how to use the manual antenna tuner and other controls. I sure didn’t want to smoke my ‘new’ rig by jumping on the bands before I knew how to properly run my rig. Then I made a contact. He came in so clear that it sounded like he was sitting next to me. I figured that was as good a time as any to make a contact. We had a great QSO going, when I realized I had made a terrible mistake. I was transmitting outside of frequency privileges for my license. I quickly informed him of my mistake and we cordially ended our conversation. My first solo HF contact and it was illegal. That has not happened again.

The next big event was helping organize and working a special event station to Veterans Day. That was an extra special event for me. We got to setup the station next to our All Veterans Memorial in my father’s Veterans Museum that he is putting together. Our town is also the ‘Founding City’ of Veterans Day, so that adds even more specialness to the occasion. Since I was feeling much more confident on the air, I made many contacts.

In January, the club asked me to be the president. After a fair amount of consideration, I accepted. It has been a great experience. I enjoy working with the guys to pull together resources to help with and participate in different events. We provided communications support for a Run/Walk this spring. It was the first event, since I have been in the club, that we did on the planning, logistics and implementation for the communications piece of an event. That event lead to a capabilities test with mobile and handheld units for our ARES guys.

We just came off of our second year helping providing communications support for a bicycle tour. It was an excellent learning experience and a good initiation for a couple club members who had not helped before. Now we are gearing up for Field Day later this month, where we will continue to hone our craft and have fun on the airwaves.