Outward appearance may suggests my blog is about my bikes. This is not the case at all. I have many interests and endeavors that I hope to document in blog form. Life would be pretty dull without hobbies to fill the little spaces left over after job and family obligations. I try to cram the most into the recreational sliver of my daily pie chart of life.
Most evenings after dinner I can be found at the operating position at KD8JHJ my amateur radio station pictured above. I have been interested in radio since I was a young boy but never got around to getting an amateur license until the summer of 2008. Since that time I have acomplished many goals. I taught myself the International Morse Code and now use it as my primary mode of communication on the ham radio bands. I enjoy experimenting with antennas and implemented my laptop into my radio operations by using different digital modes to communicate keyboard to keyboard with hams around the world. All without any internet access using only the laptop, transmitter and an antenna outside. Pretty amazing stuff.
In the old days (up until a few years ago) one had to pass a Morse Code test to obtain an amateur radio license. Now only a simple multiple choice test on radio theory and basic rules and procedures is all that stands in the way of a person wishing to get their ham ticket. Over the years Morse Code has slowly been fazed out of commercial and military use first by the railroads in the 50's and 60's then lastly by the maritime services once satellite communication became established and widespread in the 80's and 90's. Because of this the amateur service followed suit and no longer is proof of Morse Code proficiency a requirement. Amateur radio is now the last service to continue to use radiotelegraphy or CW (continuous wave) as we call it. So we hams are the "keepers of the flame" so to speak, using and preserving the very first method of electronic communication. I am interested in history so I was naturally drawn to the code. Yes it does takes some effort to learn as it really is like another language but I think well worth it. Neat to have a conversation with someone a thousand miles away by simply beeping out dots and dashes.
Here's a list of the states and countries that I have made contact with over the last 16 months I have been an amateur radio operator.
U.S. States: IN IL MD NJ MI OH WV VA ME RI PA MA NY NH VT CT DE TN KY MO FL NC SC GA AL MS LA AR SD ND NE CO OK WY TX CA KS NM AZ MT WA MN WI IA OR AK HI
Canadian Provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia
Peurto Rico, Cuba, Guatamala, Uraguay, Columbia, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Russia.
My longest distance covered by radio to this date is 5009 miles to Orel, Russia. This past Saturday I made contact with Vladimir a 17 year old ham who lives in Orel about 200 miles south of Moscow.