The Beginning

The Early Beginning

One may wonder what got me into this... the electricity, the electronics, tubes transistors, radios, science.... I could probably go back to when as a little boy playing on my own wondering what that funny little slotted thing was on the wall. (AC outlet). (We're talking early 50's here) Poking a butter knife into the slot I managed to get a feel for the tingly stuff, luckily across my hand (bite #1)... Hmmm.. Yes, don't do that again... That's the way kids learned back then. Try things out, experiment, learn the consequences firsthand.

Later I hung out in the basement listening to out family radio (WMCA, WABC etc) and playing old 12 hard platen records... Somehow I discovered a radio home study kit my father never used....the first part of the course... I tried (not so well ) to solder grounding braid to the chassis... The iron was huge (as big as my arm!). But I managed a first experience in electronics construction. (bite #2).  Later on I was to receive a Gilbert Erector Set and Tyco HO Train Set. Those got me deeper into abstraction, 3D thinking and construction. (bite #3)  I wore out that Erector Set, I used every piece hundreds of times over. I created the world.

Then an uncle gave me a shortwave radio he built, a Knight Receiver. He wasn't using it, and seeing I was interested in building things and listening to radio.. I became its owner. Back home I ran a wire around the room and tuned into the world.... The numbers stations, the different countries, the funny sounds (the Woodpecker, radar and navigation signals) (bite #4). My own tube type radio. I listened to the weeee hours of the night. 

By high school I now had to decide what I was going to major in the technical school I was entering. I wanted electronics... but was told my math wasn't good enough for it. (crush #1) (they were right! lol). Instead I decided on my second love, architecture. By the time I graduated and had  landed two architectural jobs, it was time to make a big decision (it was wartime - and Vietnam). I chose to enlist in the Navy. I want electronics in a big way. Everyone was clamoring to get in and waiting 6 months plus to beat the draft. I took a math test and got into the Navy in two weeks, and heading for my goal... Electronics school! I beat the draft and that crush #1... I'm on the trail...

It (the hobby) Really Finally Truthfully Begins

To and from work I listen to podcasts to pass the hour long commute.... I'm so done with CDs, tapes etc.... The radio plays ok..... I'd rather listen to AM but the distance traveled finds many of my favorite stations fade in and out. A number of years back I received a lil iPod (8GB) which was perfect for the purpose.... I found lots in astronomy, model railroading and many other topics. After going through back logs of 2-3 year old podcasts I started looking for other subject. Radio! There's gotta be something... Sure enough I found a few and two of my favorites are Bill Meara's (M0HBR) "Soldersmoke" and the "ICQpodcast" from Colin (M6BOY), Ireland & Martin ( M1MRB), England.

Well there were lots of podcasts to catch up on as each was several years old already when I found them. In listening I gradually wanted more involvement and came to the conclusion I needed my Ham license... But let me define a little here... I'm 66 now. You say Well it's about time!!! Well in my younger days there was a Morse requirement to the license, and that was the limiting factor for me as many other folks. Today of course its different.... A bit easier, even in the questions on the exam. One might want to listen to a few episodes of Jean Shepard's radio broadcasts detailing his milestones and achievements in Ham Radio. Back in the 40s & 50's you had to be quite versant in the eclectic science of electronics BEFORE you got a license. The tests would scare anyone away today....

The test was easy....  In my head I made it hard.... I guess like most folks... I don't like tests! We make things hard...Next the General ticket, Morse code, and the Advanced ticket eventually.

But I do like making things! Hence when I heard the Soldersmoke podcast, my ears perked up. I can make my own, I don't have to buy!? Mind you I'm not looking to blow all my retirement money on expensive radio equipment.. I like the DIY route. I like creating, making, breaking and fixing. Hence my main interest being QRP and computers. But my interest spans DC to daylight. The lower frequencies for Natural Radio, the sounds of the Earth, Nature and the universe. Radio waves of course, all the Ham and Shortwave bands and everything in between. The higher frequencies is Radar, microwaves..... all sorts of scientific applications. Radio Astronomy sprinkled throughout the radio spectrum. And the research, creating the largest optical and radio devices known...not just the observatory of yesteryear, but today, spanning across countries, the Earth and space!

So many things to do... so little time.... all fun.....

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