Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, engineering leader, nerd


Ham Radio Licensed : Technician + General Class = Yay!

When I was 10 years old, my Dad bought me a used ham radio. It was consisted of two large stereo console sized boxes, one being a receiver and the other a transmitter. I used to love listening to the conversations in far off places on the HF bands. I never did get to use the transmitter, as I never learned Morse code or took the Ham test.

Half a decade later I read an article in Phrack about the Yaesu FT-50R, and I knew I had to get one. Once again I used it for listening, as without a license, transmitting was illegal.

Last week I was at my Father-in-law's house installing some skid plates on my FJ Cruiser. He was showing off some cool electron tubes to me and offhandedly mentioned that he would probably never fire up the radios in his ham shack again. I didn't tell him about it, but this inspired me to get my license. I looked up the next testing location and found one last Saturday at the Northrop Grumman complex in Redondo Beach, which also happens to have an awesome electronics swap meet which I need to go back and photograph.

After studying the material for a few days and taking a bunch of practice exams, I felt I was ready for the test. I passed the Tech Class test on the first try, and since I had already paid my $14, I went ahead and took the General Class test as well. I ended up failing the General by 1 question.

After failing the General Class test, I made myself a study guide, and learned all the material. Last night I went to a Ham test in Torrance and this time I passed the General Class! It takes up to 10 days for the FCC to assign you a call-sign and put you in their license database, and I'm still not showing up yet.

I can't wait to work the HF bands, I'm planning on picking up my first HF radio in a few days. I really want the ICOM IC-7000, it's an amazing radio in a compact package. The IC-7000 fits what once filled a whole work bench into a tiny package roughly 6.5" x 2.25" x 7" and has a removable faceplate for remote mounting in a vehicle. Now if only I can convince Yay, my lovely, beautiful, wonderful, hardworking, intelligent, sweet wife to let is letting me drop $1500 on this amazing radio! Maybe if I remind her that And it could save our lives in an emergency.

UPDATE: My callsign now shows up in the FCC's database: KI6LZK.

UPDATE 2 Yay, my wife has given me the go-ahead to go and purchase the IC-7000... I'm excited. Heading to pick it up in a bit and then off to the Mojave to hang out with my father-in-law.