My interest in ham radio goes back to about age 5 when I would sit with my grandfather and listen to the amateur bands on his shortwave. I picked up on electronics at a young age, and studied all the ARRL books I could find. There were wires everywhere, and I always had a home-built transmitter or radio station of some sort.
After a brief but interesting stint with 11 meters during high school, I moved to Toronto, putting me off the air. Several years later, I returned home to start a photo business which would consume every waking moment. Ham radio stayed on that wish list at the back of my mind for the next 20 years.
Along the way, I earned my Private Pilot licence, and was encouraged to pursue my amateur radio licence by a fellow pilot. Then came marriage and 2 beautiful daughters, which is often accompanied by a lack of time and money for hobbies.
By spring of 2006, I decided to get out of the film developing business since it’s all gone digital now anyway. With some extra time on my hands, I found myself studying my old ham radio material over March break. (This was an experiment to see if I could possibly finish my Bachelor of Science degree from home while parenting 2 kids.) I booked the Basic exam, and got 96%. This encouraged me to try the Advanced exam, which I wrote 3 weeks later with 96%, despite the fact that studying while being a stay-at-home dad is mostly impossible.
I continued on, and became a certified broadcast technician and Society of Broadcast Engineers member just in time for the recession to decimate the broadcast industry.
So now I’m legal to build transmitters and amplifiers on all bands up to 2250 watts. I’m now busy putting together equipment and building antennas. There are over 100 countries in my log, and I have become quite a contester.
As time permits, I’ll be on HF with SSB, SSTV (of course since I’m a photographer) and digital modes. I monitor our local repeater on 2 meters at 147.120+. Occasionally, when time and safety permit, I bring some equipment up in the airplane and try to work contacts from 4000 to 10000 feet. In the spirit of Amateur Radio, I like to keep things interesting, and hopefully contribute some unique and unusual contacts to fellow radio operators world-wide.
Above all, I would encourage everyone to encourage young people who have potential to become amateur radio operators. I wish someone had done that with me. I could be celebrating 25 years on the ai instead.