Three years a ham

The VE session we hold in August is always kind of special to me, as it always marks my ham radio cake day. The team got together Saturday morning for breakfast at a painfully early 7 a.m., and we proceeded to our testing location to get things started by 9 a.m. We saw a handful of upgrades to Extra, a few new Generals and a smattering of new Techs. We had one individual completely bomb the Tech (an XYL, who was brought to tears with news she hadn’t passed), and a young man who couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11 missed passing the Tech exam by one question. His test was the final one I graded for the day, but since he was so close, enough of us agreed to stay and let him re-test. He passed with a nearly perfect score on the next go-round.

I typically take this session as a time to pause and reflect on what I’ve accomplished in the hobby. There isn’t that much to reflect on this year, but three things do stand out: Achieving the Worked All States Triple Play, operating as W1AW/4, and the recent VHF contest.

These are three very different experiences, but yet they represent the best of the best when it comes to this hobby. The Triple Play is a testament to tenacity, operating skill, patience and perseverance. Operating as W1AW/4 required every skill I have learned to this point. It tested my endurance, speed and ability to keep calm in a hectic situation. Also, it was an historic experience, and I probably won’t host pile-ups like that again for the rest of my life. The VHF contest was notable because it was something neither I nor my companions had done before, and we were successful. We owe that to the planning and determination of KN4QD. Above all, it was just fun and I had a good time hanging out on top of the mountain drinking Coke Zeros and gazing at antennas.

For sale

I’m determined to scale back a bit, so I’m looking to sell my Yaesu FT-847, desk mic and autotuner (plus a few extras). I just haven’t had a need for this one since installing the Elecraft. Contact me for details: kk4dsd@arrl.net.

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4 thoughts on “Three years a ham

  1. Andy –

    My son thanks you and the other VE’s greatly for staying late to allow him to take the test again. We’d been working since early June to get his Tech license. After countless late nights at the local Sonic studying, watching various YouTube videos about radio/propagation/electronics, quizzing, and taking practice tests, it was a great cap for the end of his summer.

    We were actually late to the session because we were up until 3am cramming, and he was doing on-line flash cards at about 10:15a in the driveway until I finally had to sever the WiFi connection and drive away from the house. He told me while we were in the car that if he bombed the first one he’d cough up the money himself to be able to take it again.

    As many times as he admitted he hadn’t studied all the sections I asked him to before I left for work and as his practice scores online were less than stellar I honestly didn’t think he’d make it, but he sure surprised me.

    We was so pumped about passing that the next day he decided he wanted to start studying for his General, (even though he hadn’t even received his call sign yet). Even my daughter has started to show some interest in learning more about radio, and has started to look at some introductory YouTube videos on antenna propagation, and my 5-year-old has learned the Morse code for his name and a few extra letters. We’ll probably have a few more HAMs pass your way before you hang up your mic and VE tags.

    (And don’t worry – I’ll try to keep him on simplex and limit him to a few weekly 2-meter nets before I let him out “into the wild”). 😉

    Thanks again, and 73.
    – Noah, KC7RPX

  2. Noah, it was fun watching your son get his Technician license. That’s certainly a significant accomplishment for anyone, but more especially for a young guy. Move ’em on up to the General and get him on HF!

  3. Give us a little time, we’ve got a five year old who learned to identify his Morse letters, too, this summer! So many Hams in our family, enjoying this good past time, and hanging out together. Thank you so much for being so kind to our preteen and taking your extra time on a Saturday to help boost his self esteem and help him retake the test instead of having to wait another month or two. He could NOT contain his excitement when he got home. He’s been calling and telling all of his friends and grandparents and is just _so_ thrilled. It’s been a great thing to see him working so hard on something this summer, and learning so much. A great way for him to be busy, way better than computer games or goofing off! 😉 Thank you again!

    • We were happy to make that happen on Saturday! This is a great hobby for certain. There are so many niche areas to explore; it’s educational, fun and useful too!

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