Monday 21 June 2010

30 Years

It’s been 30 years since I was licensed. It was 1980 and I wrote the theory and did the code and got my license somewhere around this date, June 21st. My first transmission was on July 9th, 1980 at 0200 with KA1FIQ on 80 meters using CW. I was using another ham’s station, VE3LAE Serge Arpin who is now VE2BO. He let me borrow a Heathkit set, the Apache and Mohawk receiver and transmitter. I had to stay well away from the band edges as the transmitter and receiver were not well calibrated.

I worked CW for the first two years until I passed my Advanced license in 1982. I gained voice privileges on 10 meters  and 160 meters after the first 6 months – there’s a stamp in my log from the DOC inspector, Ken Duncan who perused my log for accuracy and number of contacts. A note in my log said that the Heathkit set put out 40 watts and I was using an end fed wire from a homebrewed tuner. These were the days before plasma TVs and all of the other noise pollution we have today – one could still hear signals in downtown Ottawa.

In August of 1980 I switched off the Heathkits and switched on a brand new Kenwood TS-520SE. For a couple of years or so I started and net controlled the Canadian Top Band Net (160 meters) and used that long end fed wire for most of the other HF bands too. The wire was about 150 feet or so and rested atop some 60 foot trees running 3 properties down from my location. In those days there were TVI complaints but I did get most of them sorted out. A new home a few doors down had a spiffy intercom system installed that broadcast my signals right through to every room – never did get that one fixed.

I worked a bit of VHF SSB from my location downtown. I had an 11 element 2 meter yagi up on the roof, on a tripod. I was using a Kenwood TR-9000 10 watt all mode transceiver. I picked up an 80 watt amplifier at the Rochester Hamfest and managed to work into South Carolina with that set up.

Digging out those old log books sure brings back memories – for some reason those old Heathkits were always “hot” with RF. My logs were filled with contacts from hams all over the world.

© VE3MPG_spring2010-2064_sm No doubt you’ve noticed the postings here have been few and far between. Spring and summer are very busy times out here in the country – there’s a large organic garden to sow and look after and 2 acres of lawn and flower beds to care for. We’re just wrapping up a pretty good asparagus season and other vegetables are soon to follow. The garden went in a full month ahead of last years’ schedule. A few frosty nights in May caused a bit of concern but we covered the seedlings with plastic and all seemed fine.