Amateur Radio Biography
|My interest in amateur radio was awakened when I
worked with a guy who had been associated with the local 2m repeater group. He loaned me a converted Pye Cambridge
I think it was, which was crystalled up for the local repeater and S20 plus one or two other channels.
Following that another friend started dating a young lady who already had a B class licence and from then on, with a shared interest, Dave and I went to the local college to do the City and Guilds radio amateurs course and then took and passed the relevant exams.
Having gained my B class call sign, G6JSU, in June 1982 I very quickly purchased my first 2m rig. It was a Yaesu FT 290 and my log book shows my first contact to have been via the local repeater on 27 June of that year. At that time I had no external antenna and it wasn't until we bought our first house in 83 that I had the space to erect a 9 element yagi for 2m. I joined the local radio club, Guildford and District Radio Society (GDRS) at about the same time.
I worked on my Morse skills until I was able to pass the 12 wpm Morse test which I took at the British Telecom radio station in Southampton getting my A class call sign, G0ADA, in November 84.
I was reasonably active on 2m and took part in many of the GDRS activities, field days etc. but only on the VHF bands.
My few experiences on the HF bands consisted of very short QSOs with mostly Russian stations. You probably know what I mean: "You are 5 and 9 Nigel my friend. Please QSL via Box 88" and that would be it. I am a self confessed rag chewer. There has to be some point to a contact other than exchanging fictitious signal reports and exchanging QSL cards! For contests ok but not in the normal run of things :) Anyway the net result was that I never did buy an HF rig
I finally grew tired of the CB type communication that 2m became and my interest in amateur radio waned. My log book shows my last QSO on 2m dated August 89. I sold the FT 290 and finally stopped attending GDRS meetings and events.
In February 2000 I was given, on long term loan, an old KW2000A HF transceiver. I had no antenna system, no ATU and, more to the point, no idea of how to go about driving the thing! I had kept in touch with a friend from the GDRS, Lew G4BHQ, a long time radio amateur and wise in the ways of these things. With his help I was soon finding my way through the mysteries of tuning a valve driven rig and, with the erection of a half 5RV and the purchase of an ATU, I was at last back on the air and on HF too!
Enough to say that to date I have rejoined the GDRS renewing acquaintances with old friends and making some new ones. I am still a rag chewer but do reply to the odd call in a contest. I have no great ambition yet to work all the best DX or chase after awards but space restrictions at home have awakened an interest in antennas for small spaces. I am also looking in the direction of mobile HF working which may shape up into a project to equip a suitable vehicle :)
I was never a particularly competent guy with the technical aspects of radio and a lack of patience meant that homebrew projects were doomed to failure. However, in the long absence from radio I seem to have acquired the patience I never had and I now also have more time so I am looking to get stuck into re-learning all the technical stuff I have long since forgotten and starting work on one or two homebrew projects.