HAM Radio

I’m preparing for a test. A test that I, at 35 years old, will voluntarily take on this coming Wednesday. A test that I have about a 70% chance of passing.

That’s right: I’m trying for an amateur radio license here in Germany.

It’s unfortunate that the test also happens to be in German, but, my German is pretty good. The weak link in all of this preparation is my discipline. After all, I should be doing practice tests right now, not writing this.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been walking around with little note cards. On them have been everything from Ohm’s law (“E = I * R”, but in German “U = I * R”) to the frequencies of the 3cm-band in Germany (10 – 10.5GHz).

I’m not even super motivated to get on the radio and start collecting QSL cards, though I’m sure it’s something I will do. So, why am I doing this?

Well, for a couple of reasons. My father is a Ham back in the U.S., and it seems to be what he’s best able to talk about, so I’d like to have a bit more conversation with him, even if it’s about antennas. Further, it seems like a chance to get an in with technically minded people. I’d like to do various Arduino and electronics projects, and for that, I’d like to have some people I can bounce ideas off of in real life. In the local amateur radio club, I’ve found a group of people who don’t seem to get tired talking about soldering.

And that’s valuable.

Lastly — and maybe this is the real reason –. I don’t want to believe that I’m finished learning. More than being a Ham, my father was aways an inspiration to me in the fact that he never stopped learning. I’d like my own kids to see me doing that, and I’d like to chuck up my own confidence a bit that I’m up to learning things even at this ‘advanced age.’

So, as Wednesday comes closer, think of me, and watch for me to start ending my posts here with 73.*

* I’m not going to do that! It’s how conversations in Morse code are ended and how many Hams — not just my father, but the ones I’ve had email communication with here in Germany — end their emails as well.

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