Things have been moving quite quickly with Ham radio here. In March, I upgraded my amateur license from Technician to General class. General class is your entry into the HF bands.  Next, one of my radio buddies promptly twisted my arm and convinced me to get a vanity callsign – the new callsign is WG5ENE  and it’s pretty obvious who it belongs to My old callsign of KI5LQF has since been retired.

Having done all this, of course I needed to purchase an HF radio to keep my UHF/VHF radios company – that and let me play on HF…  I managed to find someone local that was selling a used ICOM IC-7300 – and it was a great deal at $799. That done, I had to get a power supply for it, and an HF capable antenna too. Installing the antenna took some bit of work – it needed to be up about 40 feet in the air and I couldn’t afford a tower. I purchased a guyed push-up pole and used that. I sunk concrete anchors for it so it is a semi-permanent installation. I immediately proceeded to do digital modes on HF such as FT8, and check my propagation using WSPR. At this time, I have over 5000 contacts (QSO’s)  all over the world in 107 countries, I’ve worked all 50 US states, and more than 500 US counties. This is quite busy for the 10 months that I’ve had my General class license.

To top all of that – Today I went and took the test for the Extra class License and I managed to ace it!  This is the top amateur license class you can get – there’s none higher. This gives me all the amateur radio privileges there are. Supercool! I’ll probably have a swollen head for a few days and then I’ll get back to normal. Of course, my history as a Software Engineer and Electronic Technician helped tremendously. I hope to mentor others that want to get into amateur radio (and GMRS radio too). This is something you can do – If I can manage it,, you can too.

You can find me on QRZ.com, which is a worldwide directory of amateur radio operators.

 

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