It all started a few years ago. I was struggling to get up the courage to apply for highly technical college programs. The design aspects of the programs I was looking forward to, but not the hardware aspects. Hardware has never been a strong suit of mine. Fortunately, somewhere, a long time ago, I heard that Amateur Radio was a great way to learn electrical engineering. So I kept it in my head to pursue it.
Well, my step-dad’s cousin (I call him Uncle) is a HAM (Amateur Radio Operator), and I mentioned to him that I was thinking about pursuing the license. And, as you can imagine, he got very excited. Ham operators love sharing their hobby. He even purchased a study guide for me as a birthday gift.
Well, I studied, and studied, and took practice tests, and studied. But the material would not stick in my head. As you remember my interested in Amateur Radio came because I had a LOT to learn, not because it was easy. Fortunately, a class in a local city was offered. I couldn’t attend the first time, but they offered it a second time and I jumped at the opportunity. The classes were awesome. I got to learn lots of electronics. Theory only – we didn’t do any real hands on beyond passing components around show and tell like. But it was enough that the terms started to stick. And a good little intro. And at the end of ten weeks, I passed the FCC exam! I barely passed, but I passed.
Now, I’m out there, talking to people on the radio, and even attending a Field Day Competition with my uncle. (Field Day is where clubs set up emergency stations in public places (usually elementary school fields) and practice reaching as many people as they can on the radio. It’s good practice because they get to set up as they would if they were called upon in a city wide emergency to assist emergency communication traffic). And the best thing? The best thing is that my step dad, who never taught me much in the way of electronics growing up, is now helping me make an antenna! So my goal of leaning hardware and electronics is coming to fruition.
That is why I am a Ham.