Thursday, September 30, 2010

50 Years In Amateur Radio

I don’t remember if it was before or after I was running my illegal radio station out of my parents’ cellar, but it was a great time for me and radio in general.

You see, the radio station was flea-power and probably never got out very far. At least, the feds never came knocking on my door and my parents never knew it was agin’ the law. Or if they did, it mattered not. Mom used to flash a light (button in the kitchen, light over my console) if she wanted to hear music on the radio upstairs.

I was a dedicated shortwave listener and was deeply involved in knowing what was happening in countries all over the world. And I listened to radio stations nationwide.

Then I got my Amateur Radio license, Sept 29, 1960. This time, I could actually talk to people all over the place: locally, nationwide and worldwide. The amount of power I could run with a beginner’s license was small, but if I chose the right spot on the amateur bands, I could operate without much interference. I ran about a lightbulb’s worth of juice.

The hot issue in later years was “Incentive Licensing,” bigger than the Red Scare. Simply, half the Amateur frequencies were taken away and given to the amateurs who upgraded their licenses. Many people complained; I upgraded to the top and it was a lot of work going through the next two license classes.

My current license expires in 2017. Don’t let your license expire before you do.


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