Saturday, 20 November, 2004

Ham radio license upgrade

I spent every night this past week studying to upgrade my ham radio license from Technician to General.  Upon getting home from work, I'd spend an hour reviewing FCC rules, basic circuits, operating procedures, and other such things that I'd be tested on.  Then I'd spend 30 or 60 minutes listening to sample conversations in Morse Code.  It made for some long nights, trying to get the studying in and also finish up a few articles that I'd committed to.

Today I passed both the Morse Code test and the General theory test, which means that now I am a General Class amateur radio operator, with privileges to operate on the high frequency (HF) bands that make it possible to talk long distances:  all the way around the world if I have the proper equipment and conditions are good. 

And there's the problem.  I don't have a working HF transmitter.  I have a receiver and an antenna, but I'm missing the transmitter and a few other critical pieces of equipment.  I have a non-working transmitter, my grandfather's old Hallicrafters HT-37, but it needs some work before I can put it on the air.  I'm asking around to see if anybody has a loaner, but no luck so far.  I'm hoping that I'll find a new radio under the tree next month.  Until then, I'm like a little kid waiting for that Christmas that seems like it'll never get here.