Why and How I got started in amateur radio

How and Why

It all started because my husband was keen on radios. Although I had always enjoyed listening to the radio, it was like a magic box with knobs and sometimes it worked well and at other times, made horrible noises. I was introduced to using the radio (RT) when working for a large animal veterinary practice and later, learning to fly required some knowledge as to how to transmit and receive on a particular frequency. I also learned how to send out SOS messages when I took my yachtmaster’s certificate. But it still all seemed like magic as to how I could hear anyone or indeed, how anyone could hear me!

So, when my husband said he wanted to talk to people on the radio, I found our local Amateur Radio Club and took him there in some trepidation as to what to expect. My worries were groundless! We received a very warm welcome and were introduced to Dave (callsign M0GQJ), who explained that in order to use a radio, it was necessary to have a licence which involved some study with a multi-choice examination at the end. A unique callsign was then allocated by OfCom (Office of Communications).

A whole new world opened up to me. I hadn’t realised there were so many people involved in amateur radio and so many different things to do, such as long-distance communication (DXing) with its own language (Q codes), contesting, PC software, and even morse. Then there were all types of radio from relatively cheap handhelds to expensive ‘base’ radios, as well as mobile ones. Not forgetting, of course, aerials, or rather antennae, of which there are a great variety according to the frequency being used. The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) website provides a significant amount of useful information about amateur radio.

I found the theory fascinating but limited so, having passed the foundation course and received my callsign (M7JMK), I wanted to know more about how a radio works. So, I am now going for the next stage which incudes basic electronics plus practical exercises in order to have a better understanding and even build my own radio!