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Ham Radio

How I Became A Licensed Radio Ham

A little story about how I became a licensed radio ham and issued with a license to transmit on the amateur radio frequencies.

I became interested in amateur radio back in the early 90s, I’d recently moved house and the chap opposite had a large aerial in his garden. It turned out that he was a CB radio operator and that the aerial was a half wave vertical.

I popped over to see him sometimes and started chatting to people on the radio. It wasn’t long before I’d bought my own CB radio.

How I became A Radio Ham - Andy : G7MJV

One of the chaps that I started speaking with lived close by and invited me round for coffee one day.

He happened to mention that his brother was a licensed radio amateur ( I think he held a G8 callsign) and that some radio hams could use the HF bands (Shortwave) if they’d passed the morse code* test.

This sounded much more interesting than CB and I wondered how I could listen to radio hams in other countries.

Very soon afterwards, I bought myself a Sony world band radio (ICF-SW7600) and started tuning around the HF amateur radio bands.

I’d already found out what the ham frequencies were and that they mostly used single side band, either upper (USB) or lower (LSB)..

Within a short space of time I was listening to 2 American hams on 20 meters 🙂

Some time later I bought a radio scanner from Nevada Communications and discovered the local amateurs on 2M and 70cms. I often used to listen to a semi-local repeater in Portsmouth on 145.775 MHz called GB3PC.

*UK radio amateurs have not had to learn Morse code to obtain their licence since July 2003.

How I Became A licensed Radio Ham and Was Issued with a Callsign

Now that I’d become so interested in ham radio radio, the 2 of us went to evening classes at Southampton Technical College to learn about radio and study for the RAE (Radio Amateurs’ Examination)..

We sat a 2 part exam. Part 1 (Licence conditions and transmitter interference), and Part 2 (Operating procedures, practice and theory).

When we sat our exams, in the early 90s, the RAE was run by the City & Guilds.

Towards the end of the 90s, it was taken over by the RSBG ( Radio Society of Great Britain). They introduced the Foundation, Intermediate and Full radio license.

We both passed the RAE

I’m pleased to say that, after a long wait for the postie, we both passed the RAE first time 🙂

I seem to remember that I had to send off my certificate to Ofcom and wait for a letter.

Within a short space of time, I heard back from them and was allocated a ‘B-class’ callsign. I became G7MJV while my friend was allocated G7MLS. We were now licensed radio hams 🙂

Not long after this, I bought a second hand Alinco DR-112 for the 2 meter band and a Diamond X-300 aerial. I was finally on air and enjoying amateur radio.

I’ve recently started early retirement so this is a great hobby to keep me busy.

That is how I became a licensed radio ham and granted the callsign of G7MJV.

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