Getting Started: My path to becoming a Ham

 2021 … a year of trying new things. Amidst the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic I found myself transitioning into some new interests. One of my major decisions was to sell our club airplane as the 2 other members were leaving the area and I wasn’t up for recruiting new people after a year of lots of maintenance downtime. I took the opportunity to re-purpose the money to learn a new flying activity, paramotoring. As part of the gear up I was required to purchase a 2M Handheld radio for communications during training exercises. Thus begun my interest in amateur radio.  

Initially I didn’t really think too much about the usage of the radio outside of the training and so I purchased the cheapest Baofeng I could find. The USHPA  has a set of frequencies allocated in the 2M band for member use such that members aren’t required to have a license. This is convenient for training but beyond that is useless unless you join the organization, which I didn’t plan to do so I threw the radio aside after my training. Unfortunately, a health issue kept me grounded the remainder of the year so I didn’t’ get much flying in anyway.

Later in the year, I pulled out that Baofeng and decided I should program it and learn how to use it for when I am able to start flying next spring. I youtube’d “how to program Baofeng” and the world of Ham radio opened up before me. I found with the Ham Radio Crash Course Channel and within a couple of weeks I began studying for the Technical License using HamStudy

The more I learned about various ham operators do the more I became engrossed and quickly found videos about Parks On the Air and Summits on the Air. Both piqued my curiosity and I realize quickly that I would need a General class license to participate effectively so 2 weeks after passing the Technical exam I sat and passed the General during a 1 day “Get Licensed” crash course the local ARRL affiliate club was delivering. I purchased an ICOM-705 portable station and a Buddipole antenna setup and have been playing radio for a couple of months now.

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