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Published Friday, May 21, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Ham Radio

Last Saturday I drove down to the Saratoga Fire Station and took the FCC amateur radio license exam. Well, actually I took two of them; one for the Technician class, and another for the General class. On Wednesday, I got my call sign, KJ6HZC.

I’m still surprised at how fast it went. I first got interested in ham radio in 2008, on a whim. I bought the ARRL Technician class exam study book and read the first two chapters, but then put it down when life took a couple of left turns. It wasn’t until April of this year that I picked it back up and decided I really wanted to study and get my license. Within a few weeks I was comfortable enough with the Technician and General material to schedule my exam session, and just four days after the exam, my call sign was in the FCC database. Remarkable! I understand that in the “Good Old Days,” when exams were given at FCC field offices by disinterested bureaucrats, it could take three months or more to get a license after the exam. That’s right, it may be hard to believe, but apparently the Government is actually more efficient now, at least at the FCC.

I’m just dipping my toes in the water at this point. My only radio is a Yaesu VX-6r handheld (or HT, for “Handy-Talky”) with a Diamond SRH77CA 2m/440 antenna, so I’m not going to be doing any DX’ing any time soon. But I do hope to pop up on some of the local 2m and 440 repeaters and talk nets from time to time.