During their livestream yesterday, NASA had a little bit about ham radio and HamSci’s work, and it was pretty cool. I grabbed it in case anyone missed it:

The actual official first post of my leetle ham radio progress blog

Okay, finally making a post! One that actually belongs on this blog (see error below, lol). I’m notorious for setting up a new blogging space and never writing in it, or making three posts and then dropping it like a hot potato (does anyone still use that phrase or did I just out myself as a Gen Xer?). I can already feel that voice niggling at me: I can’t write anything yet! I don’t even have my radio set up! I don’t remember anything! I haven’t re-read the Technician’s license manual, etc. All the reasons why I can’t just write something in my own little space. Let’s just slide those feelings to one side, give them a snack to keep them busy, and move on.

I’ve had my license over a decade, which I only know because I just had to renew it. I got my license in Seattle in 2013 thanks to the fine folks in the Puget Sound Repeater Group, especially K7LWA, who sadly passed away a few years later (such a great guy!). I was inspired by having taken a CERT class and learning about emergency communications, and I’m sure my love for the movie Contact helped as well (I read the book as a kid and loved it).

I got my Technician first, and immediately got a Baofeng handheld (a common path) and stumbled my way through setting that up, mostly to listen to the PSRG repeater. I got a nicer whip antenna for it but never built anything. I started a small group called The Juliets for local women hams - we met at my house for a couple years and that was really fun. I still miss that group a lot!

A few months later, my dad, Richard, wanted to get his license too. He knew a lot more about radio than I did, and was hoping to take both tests in one day so he could get his Technician’s license, and then his General’s, at the same time. I made idle threats about going for my General as well, but I had never set up a “real” radio (or even called out “CQ” over the airwaves), and wasn’t sure I could pass the test. That’s when LW stepped in, he kept telling me I should just memorize as much as I could and “just see if you pass,” and sure enough, I did!

I wanted a vanity call sign, and as I’d just taken sailing lessons and Dad’s side of the family are all sailors, I wanted JIB as my suffix (for a jib sail, the foresail on a boat). I also loved the sound of “Juliet India Bravo”. Dad really liked this, and I said well, we could each use the suffix, wouldn’t it be cool to have similar calls? He thought that was a great idea, and I noted that both K and W were available. He said, “Whiskey is mine!” And that’s how we became K7JIB and W7JIB.

After that, I expected to really get going in radio, but instead I got really busy with other things - namely raising two small kids with my husband, and dealing with an increasingly difficult chronic illness (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome). I did buy an ICOM ID-51A handheld as an upgrade, (Dad got one too), and listened to the PSRG repeater and participated in nets on a near-daily basis, but I never did move on from the handheld. And eventually the illness became so difficult that I dropped off that habit, and we even moved to a quieter, less stressful locale in Eugene, Oregon, and well…that was in 2019 and I’ve barely picked up my radio since.

So here we are in April, 2024, and I sure miss being on the radio. I miss knowing how to use my handheld, and I miss slowly gathering the knowledge that would eventually enable me to get an HF rig. I want a rig in my car, and I want a ham shack at home, but I’ve forgotten practically everything and I feel very much back to square one. I’m going to start studying again and see how much comes back to me. I sometimes wonder if this happens to other hams, or if there are beginners who are wondering how one gets into this hobby and what it’s like, and that’s what inspired me to start writing about it.

Greg sitting next to me reading, and he just burst out laughing, and says, “There’s a character in this book who has a cat, and the cat’s name is “Lady Catryn de Purrgh.” 😂

Edit: Oops. And here’s my first lesson in making sure to check which blog I’m posting in - that was supposed to go in eilloh.net.