View Full Version : Poll: How long have you been a licensed Amateur Radio Operator?

08-24-2014, 05:05 PM
How long have you been a licensed Amateur Radio Operator?

08-24-2014, 07:13 PM
Since before Horatio Nelson lost his eye. Well, 57 years anyway (summer 1957).

08-24-2014, 10:53 PM
Licensed as a Novice for 2 years 1968 - 1970. Then QRT until relicensing in 2009. So about 7 years altogether (I selected "10" instead of "5" in the poll). Loving it more as each year goes by. So many modes to try. So many different antennas. So many different types of rigs. Collecting (and USING!) Boat-Anchor rigs is also fun for me :D.

And by end of next year, a motorhome of some sort with another mobile / portable station to create.

Fun-fun-fun :jitter:

08-25-2014, 08:55 AM
Got my first license in 1961.

08-25-2014, 01:26 PM
Got my Novice spring of 1968, Tech, about this time same year, General, Dayton 2006, Extra, Thanksgiving same year. And that is as far as I can go.

You know.. that's a long time in the hobby.

08-29-2014, 04:27 AM
1974 as WB4MMX Charleston, SC I was serving in the US Navy Submarine Force.

08-29-2014, 02:39 PM
Got my 1st Class Radiotelephone at the Atlanta FCC field office in May, 1979. On my Sweet Wife's birthday. Only missed 2 questions. No, they don't tell you your score, but I could see the top of the young lady's pencil while she scored my test.

"Only missed 2, didn't I?" to which she only smiled.

Then in 1981, again at the Atlanta FCC office, I passed the Technician on the 2nd try. You see a CW operator I am not. Then a few months later took home the Advanced, but kept the tech call of N4FIG. By the mid 90's I was tired of it, and the FCC issued me KU4OJ.

I was never a Novice and never a General. Morse Code went away and I passed the Extra at a VE session. Kept the 2x2 Advanced call because they weren't being issued anymore and it marks a place in history.

09-02-2014, 02:27 PM
My original license and tickets are packed away. To the best of my feelble mind it was in the early 70's.

09-02-2014, 04:34 PM
Looks like the 40+ crowd has the lead by 2 to 1 over all the other groups.

What do you expect on a forum about RVs and Ham Radio?

Now for the look alike contest... any takers?

09-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Novice in 1957 (finally). General and 1st Phone w/radar in 1958. Had the interest but had C-O-D-E trouble in early to mid 50's and no Novice, as I recall, at that time. Finally learned some C-O-D-E (minimal) while I was in a US Navy technical school. Radio Chief for my squadron found out I was sneaking into the base ham station (KH6AHQ) and shanghaied me into a flight crew as a radio operator. Turned to be good job and had some fun too. Ran many a phone patch from KM6BI (Midway Island)on my off duty hours. Heard California on CB and even WOAI (San Antonio, Tx) one morning. Man was propagation good in those days! Been a long, good and interesting ride!

Mr. Ham
09-07-2014, 07:16 PM
I became involved in RADIO in 1969, I did not have the resources or an Elmer to get an Amateur Radio License.

Dad built a couple of Knight Kit CB radios back in the early 60's and was involved in Civil Defense.

Had dad not been involved in Civil Defense - he probably would have been called back to the military in 64 or 65 when tensions flared in Vietnam.

Dad had an old Hammarlund Super Pro 10 and a Viking transmitter - by the time I found it, the tuner was rusted fast.

It was probably a good thing, else I probably would have tried to put it on the air and would have caused even more problems.

I confined my hobby to the listening side of the hobby.

A friend got me interested in Amateur Radio in 1978, but I couldn't get a seat in the schools' amateur radio club - hence no opportunity to get my license once again.

There were no open VE test sessions in my area and I had no wheels.

I always knew just enough about radio to make myself dangerous.

I started building long wire antenna's in 1986 and started to listen to AM broadcast radio - day and night.

I had a decent High End Sanyo receiver, and could hear commercial AM stations 50 miles away in the daytime that only had 1 thousand watts from a short stick and lot's of noise.
Their service contour range was only 25 miles....

I got involved in Polka music at an early age and spent a considerable amount of time working on old Gibson, Fender tube type amplifiers and Thomas organs.

Thomas organs were made by Heathkit at one time.

Hunting, Girls, stock car racing, kids, work, drinking and music all came first for a number of years.

The bottom fell out after the family sold our hunting camp and we had to become mobile.

It all came full circle when we tried to get organized and found that 11 meters was not suitable for local communications in the woods.

The antenna was too long, the band was too noisy and there were no quiet places to talk.

We bought a couple of the first Motorola GMRS / FRS radios that became available.

They used batteries and were bulky and were very expensive.

The newer models were rechargeable and a little better, but not much.

When the newer / more powerful Talkabout models came out we switched to them, by then it was time to get a license.

The amateurs and the amateur radio clubs eluded me for many years - due to the code restriction and the glass barrier - the cost and status involved in being a ham radio operator.

When the barriers were dropped, and the code was dropped, and the questions were published and available, I was able to find the time to study and get my license.

I started listening to what I could hear - which was not much on 2 meters and 70 cm.
It was a virtual wasteland of nothing.

I took the plunge and visited the local amateur radio club - when the internet became available and the clubs started making web sites and I was able to learn where it was and who was involved.

I visited a special event station - Groundhogs Day and operated for about 5 hours.

I quickly learned that no one from the club wanted to operate the radio and that I was pretty good at it.
Two weeks later, I found a club 50 miles away that had a VE test session and I took the license exam and passed.

I cannot tell you how many questions I got right or wrong, since the only thing that counts is that you passed!
It doesn't make you any better of a ham if you get all of the questions right or miss all 9 and still pass.
What matters is what you do after you get your license.

I didn't bother buying a transceiver right off, since I still had all my listening equipment at home..

I did put up better antenna's and listened as much as I could.

The license application got lost somewhere between the head VE and the VEC and 6 weeks later, I got two of the most important telephone calls of my life.

The first was from the ARRL apologizing to me for loosing my application - the guy was in Florida.
The second call was from the FCC - telling me that my call sign was KB3 _ _ _. and to go ahead and start talking - even though it was not yet in the database.

3 days later my call sign appeared in the data base...

I picked up the telephone and called Ham Radio Outlet in Deleware and put in a $1000 order for equipment the very next day
3 days later the stuff was on my doorstep.

The coax however was the wrong length.

I had some coax at dad's house and a old high band vhf scanner antenna that matched up pretty well on 2 meters and started talking.

That was the very same week that the local repeater was linked to a wide area network.

I practically burned up the local repeater talking to people.

I talked 10 hours straight for two days.

By that time, I had already passed my General Class Exam and was studying for my Amateur Extra.

Two weeks later, I passed that also.

The first FM radio was a Yaesu FT 8900R and my first HF radio was a Ranger 2950.

By that time I had acquired a very old decrepit Solorcon A99 vertical.

My yard started to look more like The Voice of America.

Poles were placed on every corner of the garage and storage shed and there were wires everywhere.

When the Kenwood TS 590 came out, I ordered one from Ham Radio Outlet and it was the best $1800 I ever spent!

The Ranger was returned to it's rightful owner with a heartfelt thanks - along with a complete alignment and a new Clarifier - for the use of the radio .

Next came the Orion and then the Kenwood TS 990.
I also had loan of a Icom 746 Pro.

I started to collect power supplies about 2 years ago - I now have 6 - all Astrons.
I got the reputation of being the guy that was able to repair Astron's and so I was elected repair person when ever someone had a problem..

I got involved with all the local clubs and became disillusioned with most of them because they had lost their way.

I now operate by myself with the exception of Field Days, or by special request when there is a contest such as the PA QSO party.

I also got a vanity call sign about 2 years ago.

I have been both a LARC and a ARRL VE for the past 3+ years, and have participated in over 20 VE test sessions..

I can usually be found on 2 meters, 6 meters SSB or 10 meters - calling CQ DX when the band conditions allows.

I have participated with the Phone Traffic net, the ARES, the RACES group and also have been net control for most of the local nets.

I operate PANBEMS - digital on Sunday mornings and when there is an emergency.

I am a member of Skywarn and also a amateur radio test instructor and Elmer.

There is a 30' tower on the corner of the garage with 4 antenna's on it, and about 150' of tower on saw horses in the yard - waiting to be put up.

I am the trustee of 2 local repeaters and one repeater -120 road miles away!

We are now equipped with a brand new Yaesu DR 1 repeater, and I have about 100' of tower waiting to be put up for the repeater 120 miles away....

When the operating station there is done, it will have a 40m 4 el beam,
a 20m 5 el triband beam antenna,
a 2 meter and 70cm SSB beam,
several off center fed dipole antenna's, and a Diamond X510 antenna for local communications..

Local being every repeater for 200 miles...

The elevation there is 2800' amsl.....

09-08-2014, 03:05 PM
So you've been licensed since 2007?

09-15-2014, 12:06 PM
Licensed as a Novice in the Fall of 1978. Took a General class offered by the local Ham store and successfully upgraded to General in April of 1979. Got hooked on DX and needed to upgrade to get the added frequencies. I upgraded to Extra in the summer of 1980. Then found out that without a KW amp, and bigger antennas, I wasn't getting thru pile ups with any consistency. My old TET tri-bander just didn’t cut it. I was limit to 45’ as we lived in the city on a small lot. Then I got totally hooked into contesting.

We decided to move out of the city to a larger place with some land. I started with a Rohn 45G @ 50’ with the same tri-bander and no amp. I then started pricing mono-banders and decided I could design and build my own antennas for less. I built many different size antennas during the course of my contesting days.

When we decided to move back to the city, my station consisted of 2 towers. Tower #1 had: 6/6 on 10m @ 110’/80’, 3 elements on 40m @ 100’, 6 elements for 10 @ 50’. Tower #2 had: 5/5 on 15m @ 120’/85’, 4/4 on 20m @ 110’/60’, 6 elements on 10m fixed SE @ 35’. For 80m I had a dipole at 100’ strung between the towers and 2 full ¼ verticals that were steerable. 160m was an inverted V at 110’. Yes I owned quite a few tailtwisters and sidemounted rotation units. I did finally get a SB220 and an Alpha. The one with two 8877’s in it. :jitter:

Now I use my Tarheels II mounted to a copper pipe in the middle of my city sized backyard. All of stuff was sold when I moved including the amps.

Ahh the memories.

Dick Noble
09-20-2014, 06:09 PM
Tech. last century. General in 2010. Studying for Extra right now. Just purchased Yaesu FT 100 (an oldy but a goody) with Hustler MO3 antenna and a LDG Z-11 Pro 11 auto tuner for the 5er. I am determined to try to do HF while we are down south (Tonopah, AZ) this winter.

10-09-2014, 08:50 PM
novice license in 1966
General in 1967
Advanced sometime later.

So, its been around 48 years.

Active on and off over the years, now getting setup for HF while fulltiming.


10-09-2014, 10:29 PM
Had I got licensed when I first studied for it I would have had 52 years by now but I chickened out. My father-in-law was a ham and I studied the handbook (still have it) and practiced code. I could send about 25wpm and receive about 8 and could draw all the possible radio circuits, understood the rules but since the FCC only came to Omaha for 1 day once a quarter the timing didn't work out and I was newly married and had other things on my mind. Finally in 1992 my oldest son had just gotten of the AF after 11 years and went to work for ICOM as a regional sales manager I decided to take the tech test. I let it ride until just after the code requirement was dropped and took the general one month and the extra the next month. So here I am a no code extra that a few old timers still can't get over. I think that has relaxed quite a bit now.

My other hobby took up most of the non ham years, RC airplanes. Been at it for about 60 years now but not very active any more since my best buddy, mentor and guru passed away, lot of stories about that hobby. Built my first 5 channel radio control from a kit. A bag of resistors, a bag of capacitors, a tiny circuit board about 2'' square, made my own coils and when I got through it worked!! A club member worked for the telephone company and we went into a faraday cage and put it on an O scope and checked the alignment and I was off and running, but now it is back to hamming.

I'm working on the code again, slowly. I think the only way to make the tough DX contacts is with CW so maybe in another year I will be ready. Ham radio is kind of in the family, both sons are licensed (both worked avionics in the AF, youngest is still in AF Reserves with 30 years of service and they don't want to let him out, oldest son retired from the Ohio Air Guard), a daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law also licensed.

Met many hams during my working years, and worked with a number of them also. Recently met up with K0CIA (got his license when he was 12) who I worked with and hadn't seen in about 35 years. I remember he had a Drake TR4 and a home brew amp with a 3-500Z that he ran white hot.

When I had my own business I put my call on my business card and when I called on the traffic engineer in Tallahassee he asked what it meant on my card and I told him it was my call sign, then he said OK and put his call on his business card for me, how about that.

Dick Noble
10-11-2014, 04:32 PM
Just passed the Extra Class test! Very excited!

10-11-2014, 05:30 PM
Just passed the Extra Class test! Very excited!

Very good!


10-12-2014, 10:05 AM
Just passed the Extra Class test! Very excited!

Welcome to the bottom 25 KC!

10-12-2014, 11:39 AM
Just passed the Extra Class test! Very excited!
Now you can give your mind a rest and enjoy the hobby even more.

N4MU Papi
11-03-2014, 11:58 AM
Now I really feel old...as if being in the 50+ wasn't bad enough.

11-03-2014, 05:01 PM
Just passed the Extra Class test! Very excited!

Good job!

11-15-2014, 08:56 PM
Sometime back in he 1960's. It has been a while.

11-16-2014, 12:40 PM
Since 1978.