I was in grad school in computer science a bunch of years ago and one of the professors was into amateur radio (AKA Ham radio). I went into his office early one morning to talk with him about how to get started in the hobby. We were doing a bunch of electronics projects and some pretty cool stuff in his class so amateur radio seemed like a pretty natural step. He pretty much said I shouldn’t bother…get a cell phone and forget about it.
Well I showed him! Last weekend I went to a cram course for the technician class ham radio license and I passed! I am now a licensed ham operator! I do have a cell phone so it may seem pretty weird why I bothered getting into amateur radio too. I think the best answer is because I can. I also like the idea of being able to communicate with people all over apart from the cellular network. I also still like the challenge of building electronic circuits and learning new stuff like I did in Professor CellPhone’s class.
My father-in-law also wanted to become a licensed ham operator since he was a kid and he is also licensed now too! I figure we will probably talk to each other a lot at first as we try to learn how this whole process works. There really is a lot to amateur radio and apparently the FCC takes a lot of it very seriously…I’ll have to be careful not to have an audio Janet-Jackson-in-the-Super-Bowl moment on air!
There is a lot to learn so I am in search of an Elmer – a ham willing to help a newbie learn the ropes. Much like beekeeping, it seems that the number of people entering the hobbies are declining. I do not fully understand why but I hope to do my part to keep both hobbies middle-age friendly!