It has been way too long since my last Post. I mean well, but time goes by so quickly. Anyway, on February 12th I took and passed my element 2 exam commonly known as “technician”. The exam was hosted by the Billerica Ham Radio Club. You couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of people. My thanks go out to them for taking the time from their busy schedules to administer the tests. For anyone interested, The VE-exams are held the second Wednesday of each month at 7pm in the second floor conference room at the Billerica Public Library. I hope to go back and take the general class exam next month.
I went to my first ham flea market last weekend. I have always thought of astronomy as an expensive hobby. It appears that ham radio gives astronomy a good run for the money. So many toys, so little cash. I was told after the exam that ham radio was like a boat that is a hole in the water into which you throw money. After shopping around, I think I liken it to a telescope which is a vacuum nozzle that sucks your money out of your pocket throwing it deeply into the center of a black hole never to be seen again.
I had actually bought my first piece of ham equipment before I took the test. It is a HT handheld, a Yaesu FT-60r. For those unfamiliar, it is a dual band handheld radio operating in the 2 meter and 70cm bands with a max output of 5 watts, and is capable of receiving a wide range of bands. I was lucky enough at the flea market to find my first “treasure”, a Mirage BD-35 dual band amplifier that is capable of 45/35 watt output from a 5 watt input. It should work well with my FT-60. For an antenna, I am looking at a dual band J pole antenna off of ebay. I hear good things about it, and it is light and inexpensive. Where I’ll put it is another matter.
They say it takes 7-10 days for your name and call sign get listed on the ULS website. It has been 6 days since I took the test, that includes a weekend and a national holiday. I suspect that it will be next week before I can broadcast my first message. What should it be? My call sign of course 🙂 Looks like I have a new piece to the puzzle that is me.