February 26, 2010

363 words 2 mins read

Ham'ing it up, KJ6FQN style

As I have previously noted, on last Friday I passed the test for Amateur Radio Technician level. Ever since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting my new callsign. The Volunteer Examiners said it would take about a week to a week and a half, but that didn’t stop me from logging into the FCC every 6 hours or so to see if it was up yet. A very frustrating wait… until last night.

I found out very quickly that the FCC system was down every night from 12:00 am to 02:00 am (Or 2100 to 2300 PST). Last night at just after 2300 I decided to login, and voila! KJ6FQN was listed in the system. I quickly and nervously got out my radio, tuned into the local repeater, and introduced myself. It didn’t work initially, seems I had forgotten the PL code setting, I got that fixed, and tried again. A minute later, response! My first contact!

Oh, it was quite exciting. Even though it was late at night within a few minutes there were a few other people commenting in and out. I had been listening to this particular repeater for several weeks and it was nice to finally be able to interact with the people. There were more than a few times over the last few weeks that I really wanted to break in and put my 2 cents worth, but couldn’t because I didn’t have a license. Regardless, I spent about an hour online which went much faster than I expected, which was quite troubling since I was supposed to be asleep by then. The group was very nice and complimented me on my ease of radio’ing (it is nice to make the newbie feel like he’s not an idiot and doing it all wrong), they also said I had social skills (Editor’s note — obviously they don’t know him very well).

Just for the record, us IT people don’t like people to think we have social skills. In fact we prefer it if you think we are terribly anti-social, and too abrasive to even deal with in the first place. That way you’re less likely to ask for a “favor”.