Getting On the Air

Ready, Set, Key Up

Finding the right activities was key to me keying up and getting on the air.  It was helpful that the first event I participated in that involved amateur radio operators I was without a radio and not licensed.  I spent a lot of time hoofing it across the county fairgrounds in between radio operators to get information on where I was needed next.  It was a fun day, but those with HT radios definitely were more effective….and their feet were less sore!

Find a Buddy. I am luck to be an XYL because I have a built-in elmer and a buddy at all the first events I attended.  My husband gets paired with me at most events and that allowed me to be in my comfort zone while getting outside my comfort zone.

Event Communication

Event communication is a great way to key up with a small group of hams to accomplish something for the community.  In addition to helping as a non-ham, I got to do event communication once I was licensed for a local parade in our village.  Lots of lining cars up but it is still loads of fun to see the end result.   And way easier with a radio!

Event Communication at the County Fairgrounds – that’s my XYM!

Emergency Communication

To be honest my interest in E-comm drove my desire to get licensed.  Before I was a licensed ham I took the National Weather Service SKYWARN training.  But storm spotting and giving ground truth reports were less fun when only my XYM could check-in reports on the SKYWARN nets.  I could call a phone number or send an email to National Weather Service, but radio was easier.

The excitement of a SKYWARN net always has me break out the HT.  I also tagged along with the XYM during a fall Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) simulated emergency training (SET).  I actually had a bunch of my nieces and nephews with me that day and when they heard the mock disaster on the radio, they got excited and we all piled in the car to follow the XYM to his deployed location, listening on the HT the whole way.  It was fun!

I also got on the air this January for the Ohio ARES Simplex Contest.  It was my first contest and it was so much fun working different bands.  We worked as a fixed station part of the day, and later in the day we work as a mobile station in a neighboring county.

Find a Local Contest or Net.  DXing always makes me nervous because I am a slow listener when it comes to callsigns, and knowing my Q code lingo.  So  regional contesting or a local net is a nice way to get on the air with a little less pressure.

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