It has been more than two years since I posted anything here. Truth be told, for a while I didn’t miss it. I had to take care of my mother in her last years on this Earth, and I did it gladly. Now, I have a lot of free time on my hands after work, so let’s roll our sleeves up and get ready for re-entry into the wonderful world of amateur radio.
When a person joins the ranks of Amateur “Radioship,” it is because of the sheer enjoyment of learning how to use a radio and being able to install one at home so we can talk to others worldwide. The same thing happened to me, until I found out all the other things amateur radio has to offer.
May 3, 2014, was a happy day for me. Two of my “students” got their licenses. I purposefully wrote the word “student” in quotes because I am talking about my sister and her husband, Cris and Steve.
January 2014, the day arrived when a promise I made my students came through: a Morse code class for them, also called CW for Continuous Wave. Unfortunately, the class was not given with the beginning of the school radio club a couple of years ago, so many of the former students who already graduated and left the city to colleges and universities are not able to take advantage of it.
Mercedes Early College Academy Amateur Radio Club (MECA-ARC) and Repeater now have a new shack. After a year of asking the school principal for a space of our own, she finally caved in and allowed us to use an office that was not being used for quite a while. This new acquisition happened yesterday, the 23rd, and without wasting any time, the members of the club headed by me moved whatever materials we could and made it look pretty before the principal could change her mind.
The summer was an exciting time for family and friends. And now we are back on the grind at Mercedes Early College Academy. All but one of our MECA-ARC operators graduated and left the school, but the prospect of starting over with a new group of students sounds exciting and challenging.
Today I was able to set up the repeater on Echolink. It was probably one of the easiest things to do. I connected the link from my home via a remote link and it is really the easiest thing to do. I hadn’t done it before because I thought it would be difficult, but no. Here is the message I sent to the members of the repeater club. Look us up on Node #831039 or as KR4ZAN-R: » Read more..
It has been a while since I wrote on this blog, but life continues both in my personal life and the school club.
First impressions last. Our school club had its first net meeting on Sunday, September 9, 2012 and it was fun. Everyone was talking out of order, overmodulating each other and having fun. I thought it was going to be a short meeting (which officially was), but after the meeting closed, several hams stayed talking and seemed to be doing it pretty good.
Summer finally came and went and school is back in session. Teachers start work a week before the students so we can prepare. This year, our school district moved us to a new location and so the antenna had to be taken with us. The new building is a sight to behold. Built in 1931, it’s all made of brick, solid construction, and much taller than a modern two-story building. From the ground to the roof we have approximately a 40-foot clearance.
The same night my students passed their exam I thought about a promise I had made them, “If you pass, I will make sure the town has a repeater.” Boy, was I out of my league! I didn’t even know where to start looking for instructions on how to set up a repeater. Forget instructions, I didn’t even know the basic list of equipment to set up a simple repeater. I dove into the internet looking for information and ran into the repeater-builder group on Yahoo. What a lifesaver!
I presented my idea to teach a ham class to the after-school class coordinator. She readily accepted since she was familiar with the concept. The search for students began.
The new school year started and I came back as an Amateur Extra, what a great feeling! Immediately, I started making plans to start a class for my high school students because I noticed that in the small town where I work, there were only four hams, two technicians and two generals. It was time to get the town wired on wireless!
My goal to go the full scale of licenses didn’t die at all. As soon as I received my general class license, I ordered the book to get started on the Amateur Extra class license. I guess this is probably the most difficult subject I have studied in my life. It was a good thing that it was not a matter of life and death and it helped to know that it was not going to be in my permanent record if I didn’t pass.
Not long after I received my tech license, I purchased the second book in the saga of Becoming a Ham. Roughly four weeks after I received my first license, I tested for my General Class exam in Harlingen, TX. I was the only one testing at the time and I was very nervous about it, to say the least.
In January of 2011, I was attending an extremely boring job training. Fortunately, I had brought my laptop with me and started surfing the web, going into Facebook, and checking my email all the while pretending I was listening to the presentation. I don’t remember exactly what webpage I was looking at when one of those Google ads caught my attention, Earn your ham radio operating license the easy way, read the tiny picture of a book.