I have been involved with radio communication for most of my life. It all started when I was 7 years old and I got my first set of G.I.-Joe Walkie Talkies. This had sparked an interest in me that would never die. At age 10 I used to visit a neighbor that worked HF voice and code.
This only fueled the fire within me and progressed me further in the hobby. By the age of 12 the CB craze was going strong and I started with an old 23 ch Radio Shack mobile rig. Not soon after the 40 channel radios were put on the market and I took it a step further and bought a SSB unit.
With this I ran mostly SSB and working DX within all the legal limits, unfortunately the chicken band went to hell and I did what most other did to escape the mess and modified the radio myself for "Freeband" use.
I remember making many contacts from Canada to South America, I even made a regular contact with a station in Australia. I still only ran the legal power output of 12 Watts PEP on SSB.
In the 80's the radio was still part of my life as I moved on to business band radios and GMRS, but the computer age was starting to take over the world, so of course I went that way. Still feeling the bug of radio communications I started to gain heavy interest in Ham radio.
I moved to Phoenix in August 1990, by the summer of 1992 I had a small portable TV that scanned channels, while sitting out by the pool watching the football games I stumbled upon a bunch of guys sitting in there shacks playing with radio gear and working on projects.
When I realized what this was I was watching the fire blazed up inside of me like never before, the next day the space shuttle was launched and the re-transmitted video was sent over the Amateur Television Repeater. Now the fires were at inferno status, I just had to get involved with this.
Later that week the Wednesday night net was going on and Norm WV7K gave out his phone number, I wrote it down and gave him a call the next day. Norm became my Elmer and showed me all there was to know about ATV and Ham Radio. 2 months later I took my test and passed, now the wait was on.
The hardest part that hams don't have to face now is when you took your test back then you got your license within 90 days, yes I said 90 DAYS. To make matters worse I took my test 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and of course Christmas was next on the list. So this added 2 additional weeks to my wait.
Finally in February of 1993 I got a letter in the mail, it was time to wipe off the drool from my brand new HT and start talking away. Other then the General ATV folks that I already knew and was part of my first official contact was David N7TWT.
We chatted for 10 min or so on the 146.940 repeater and called it a night, a few days later David was on the air asking for help, he was stranded on his motorcycle on the other side of town. So I grabbed my HT and contacted him and told him that I would be there with my trailer in 20 min. We have been good friends ever since.
Since then I have been an Elmer to dozens of new hams that have far surpassed my abilities and carried on the traditions that were bestowed into me. I have achieved specialist standing in disaster communications and traffic handling. I have worked almost every band there is out there and looking forward to the ones I haven't.
If you have any questions or need a hand in getting started in ham radio, just email me and I will do my best to get you started in a hobby that has endless opportunities!