When I was about 12 or 13 years old I watched the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. It starts out with the main character calling “CQ” and looking to make long distance contact via radio – it’s something I wanted to explore myself at some point but around the same time we started exploring the internet at home and that stole the show.
Last year I came across a clip on TikTok of a woman in her car, at the coast in Northern Ireland using a radio to make long distance contacts, she was able to reach people in Egypt, India and Europe. I started exploring this a little more and found the more I pulled at the thread, the more interested I became.
📻 Radio Ham? I’m on QRZ here!
I’ll be honest I found it a bit overwhelming at first as there are various channels to the hobby that you can explore and practice, I done some initial research, ordered myself an inexpensive entry level radio (Baofeng UV-5R) and started listening from a local car park that overlooks the area that I live in. I heard some people chatting away and shortly after decided to join the closest radio club to me, Paisley Amateur Radio Club. The members of the radio club were incredibly welcoming, very keen to share their knowledge and answer many questions that I had. I’m very grateful for their support so far and proud to support the club where I can.
Transmitting requires a license
In the previous paragraph I underlined listening, as to talk/transmit you require a license issued by Ofcom which I didn’t have. I enrolled for a course, completed a test (September 2022) and was issued a foundation license, callsign and became a radio ham (MM7DVZ) – all of this was completed online in roughly one month.
As I approached my first anniversary as a licensed operator, I enrolled for the Online Amateur Radio Community (OARC) training course for the intermediate license and passed my intermediate test (September 2023) and now operate as 2M0NZB.
My Equipment & Setup
Here is the equipment that I’m using at the moment at home;
- Yaesu FT-991A HF/VHF/UHF
- LDG Z-100 Plus Tuner
- Diamond X50 Colinear Antenna for VHF & UHF
- Long Wire (Sigma LW-20) HF Bands (Tunes 6M to 80M)
When I’m operating portable, I’m using;
- Xiegu X6100 HF QRP SDR
- Yaesu FT-65E VHF/UHF with Spectrum Communications Slim G
- Sotabeams Tactical 7000hds and Band Hopper II 20/40M Linked Dipole.
- Baofeng UV-5R, Quansheng UV-K5 and Nagoya/Retevis Whips
Interested in amateur radio?
If you’ve read this and think you’d be interested in exploring the hobby yourself, it’ll welcome you with open arms. If there is anything I can help you with you can contact me email email@example.com. To get the ball rolling I’d recommend grabbing a Quansheng UV-K5 and listen for any activity in your area, tune into your local repeater and enrol for the free EssexHam Foundation Online course. I’ve also included a video by the Radio Socity of Great Britan (RSGB) to give you more insight to the hobby.
All the best if you proceed with the hobby!