These pages are really for my own use. I find my memory is probably not as good as it used to be, although I could be misremembering that. Also when I start a new project, like most other people, I check about on Google; I thought perhaps I could give something back - or at least that all those hours spent tinkering might not be wasted. So here are my notes.

I have always been interested in radio. I think some people are more suited to radio than others. I have a theory about people who use their ears more than their eyes, but it is nothing more than a theory. In any event from my earliest days I always had two prize possessions: a torch and a radio. I was a child in the '70s, there were no games' consoles back then.
To this day, if I am at home, I have a radio on, in the car the radio is on, and if I am walking I try not to listen to a radio, lest I get run over, but even here if there is a test match underway I will have one earphone 'tuned into' TMS. My first experiment is one I can remember clearly and I can even give the time and date - approx 16.45 on Saturday 1st June 1974. Not because I am a meticulous recorder of details, rather because it turned out (coincidentally) to have been during a major event.

I was on holiday at my granddad's house up in the Peak District. He had an FM receiver which could be tuned above the broadcast band. In those days the police transmitted here and it was simplex and duplex unencrypted FM as I remember. So it was not unknown for people to casually listen to activity in the local neighbourhood as experienced by the law. I believe this is still the case in some states of USA where they have ideas about citizens' rights to monitor. Here I suspect I was breaking some law or other. Being quite young I did not know, or care. I just wondered what would happen if I connected the TV antenna to the input of my granddad's FM receiver. I did so and that was the moment I suspect I became a radio amateur.

At, more or less, the moment I connected the TV antenna to the radio (correlation does not imply causation as my philosophy tutor used to say) a massive explosion took place some tens of miles away. It meant that police forces from many counties were called out to the emergency. This in turn meant lots of radio activity. I do not know if the TV antenna brought in a stronger signal, I suspect it was likely the braid of the coax as much as anything else thinking about it - my granddad's house was about 1000ft ASL - as I cannot remember the connection details, or the type of TV antenna etc. What I do know is I soon had an audience of my grandparents and parents all listening to the unfolding disaster. This was in the days before Internet, or 24 hour rolling news. Flixborough became infamous in the days after, yet it was some hours before it made the evening news.

As a boy it was an awesome thing to have known about such an event long before anyone else. Of course I had no understanding of the horror unfolding on that day - the day I became a radio 'ham'.

Since then I eventually took my RAE followed by CW Test and gained the callsign G0MJI. I did not choose the callsign it was the one issued at the time I applied. Neither have I thought about changing it for one more exotic as I believe is the trend at the moment. It isn't the most elegant in CW either --. ----- -- .--- ..  but it is mine.

I believed when I took the test that it was a gateway to radio experimentation and self-education. I love building antennas and finding out what propagation will do with them. Perhaps it goes back to that fateful day. Whatever, with the new data modes there has never been a better time for an amateur experimenter - or 'Gentleman Scientist' as I jokingly tell my kids, who only like 'gaming' and cannot see the point. I have a small plot, many neighbours, lots of local RF noise, yet still I get to try new things. That for me is what Amateur Radio is about. And these pages record some of the things I have tried.

Bri, G0MJI, October 2017