This weekend (September 15/16) there was a big Ham Fest (for Ham Radio enthusiasts) at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. This morning, I was one of about 40 people who gathered in an upper room sitting for a Ham Radio licensing test.
The majority of those 40 people were taking a test for the Technician License, which is the first of the three licenses in Ham Radio. (The three levels are, “Tech, General and Extra.”)
In March 2011, I obtained my Technician’s License.
Today, I successfully passed a 35-question test and I’m now the proud owner of my “General License.”
And better yet, of the 35 questions on the test, I got 34 right!! 🙂
With this new license, I’m now legally empowered to fiddle around on HF frequencies, which opens up a whole new world.
VHF and UHF frequencies are principally line of sight, but on HF, short radio waves can skip thousands of miles, reflecting (and bouncing) between the mirror-like ionosphere and the earth’s surface. Radios producing as little as five watts (which is very, very low power) take advantage of this “propagation” (as it’s called) and can send signals from Norfolk to London (and beyond!).
Now, with my Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) in hand, I’m free to cruise the radio bands of HF. There’s just one last little obstacle: Lucre.
After the test today, I descended to the main hall of the Convention Center and attended the Ham Fest, which is a massive display of vendors of radio equipment. Based on what I’ve learned, I’ll need to gather up several hundred dollars to buy a new radio that complements my new radio privileges.
Until then, I’m still having a lot of fun playing around on what’s known as the “2-meter band” (VHF). Thanks to my beautiful eight-foot Diamond X-200A, a dual-band vertical antenna (standing at about 30′ high outside my brick ranch), I’ve successfully tuned in stations up to 158 miles from my home in Norfolk.
Who knew Ham Radio could be so much fun?
To read more about my experiences with Ham Radio, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of this series.
Click here to take a look at the General Test. As someone with no background in electrical components, I found it a bit challenging!
To learn about RASON, click here.
To read Part I of this blog, click here.
To learn about the many pretty Sears Homes here in Norfolk, click here.
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WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for a fun day at a ham fest.