The big project this summer has been advancing my skills in amateur radio. After my Christmas visit to my family last year, I caught Dad’s amateur radio bug (fortunately, I didn’t catch any COVID bug). I obtained my general license in February and was able to pick up a used Kenwood TS-570S radio. After drilling a few holes in my office wall and tossing fishing line into nearby trees, I was up and running with an antenna that will tune to all the amateur bands (more or less).
I’ve already documented some of my early summer adventures like building a key for Morse code operation and having fun sending QSL cards. I finished off the summer with a trip back to my parents and an opportunity to do some combo work.
HAMs come up with all sorts of reasons to make contacts in the form of awards. You can get an award for working combos (family members using the same radio), portable operation, and stations working out of the state capital. My Dad and I wanted to try the latter, so he bought a mobile antenna that would mount on his truck and we figured out how to power his radio from the trucks battery. Then we headed over to Roger Williams Park and Zoo to set up shop for an hour. During that time, we made a bunch of contacts.
During my time in RI, I was able to make 31 contacts. The closest was a few clicks up the street in Cumberland and the farthest was Navarro, TX (while in my Dad’s shack. In the state capital, our farthest contact was 1100 miles to Florida.
Back home in Brockport, I’ve had a few fun long distance contacts, a couple of which are out of the country. My first contact in Mexico was also one of my first CW (Morse code) contacts, which was quite a blast. My farthest was 2200 miles to a ham working in a park in British Columbia.
So, as I wrap up the summer, I’ll have to manage my amateur radio time a bit more. I don’t need yet another hobby to help me procrastinate from grading.