Saturday, November 2, 2019

What was your magnet to Amateur radio?

My first CB radio 
All of us have a story regarding the steps that moved us toward our adventure in Amateur radio. When I was growing up CB radio was in its hay day and everyone had a citizen band radio either in their car or home or both. At a young age, I was around adults that had CB radios and thus it exposed me to the magic of radio. The solar cycle was peaking and the bands were alive and this, even more, sparked my interest. I thought it was so cool that you could talk to someone over the airwaves as opposed to a phone and not a cell phone as they were not even around then. I was almost a teenager and I picked up a Johnson Messenger 6 channel AM CB radio and way back then you needed a license to operate a citizen band radio. Eventually, I did apply for a licence and was given the call XM4240.  When I was young I lived in an apartment building in Toronto but was on the ground floor and that was not good for CB radio. My mom knew someone on the 8th floor and she agreed to me having an antenna on her balcony. So I ran the coax up to the 8th floor and I was good to go. At this point in time I was not interested in DX but to be honest I didn't even know what it was I was just thrilled to listen CBers chatting and occasionally introducing my voice on the air to see who was there.
My first SSB CB radio 
For about 8 years my CB radio endeavors took a back seat to school and then working for a living. Once married I began to rediscover my radio wonders, I purchased a SSB CB radio for the car. My new wife and I took a vacation from Ontario to the Maritimes with the SSB CB radio installed in the car. During the evenings I was in the car trying my hand at DX and at that time DX was working the U.S. states from Canada. One evening to my thrill I was able to work many states and I even had a pile-up of U.S. states that wanted to work me from the Maritimes!! At this point in time, I was hooked on DX and it began my ham radio adventure.
I now had a full-time job and was working on a family but my Amateur radio thrill was still very much alive. I was able to get a part-time job at an Amateur radio store that just opened up in my town. This was great exposure and allowed me time to study for my exams which I took and passed. My wife and I were renting a house in the country at the time and I was able to put up an R6 vertical antenna and through part time amateur radio job I got a great deal on an Icom 735 radio. I was fascinated with CW after learning it for my basic license, I wanted to keep my learning curve alive
My pre-amp mic 
regarding CW. I figured I worked very very hard to learn it I did not want to lose it and having said that our kids came along and ham radio took a second seat to family life. It was off and one with ham radio as the kids did there growing and maturing. Once the kids were in high school the amateur radio magnetic kicked in again! My CW was very rusty and needed to be brushed up on but I was determined to not lose this great "language" I acquired!!  From this point in time it has been an adventure and has brought me to the point where I am now with radio. It was the magic of CB radio that caught my interest and it started my adventure towards ham radio........what was your trigger toward ham radio......shortwave radio, listening to your dad on his ham radio or share how you received the spark for ham radio?
The Icom 735


  1. Hello Mike, well I have to dig deep! I think what triggered my interest was a small transistorradio I got from my dad. I think I was at the age of 7. I used to listen to radio Luxemburg all the time. I was always looking for walkie talkie info and tried to listen to police radio which was just below 88MHz and sometimes I could hear voices. Still it took 3 more years till I was 10 when I got a set of CB walkie talkies. A new world opened and my interest grew when CB became legal in 1981 or so. But I had no money and actually was too young to have a license. A few years later I finally bought my first CB (22 ch, 500mW). And another world opened.....after some years being locally active I started to hear french and german stations. I heard other stations from my neighbourhood talking to them and I was shure I coul make it as well....and I did. My first encounter with DX. 1987 was a highlight when I made my first QSO on CB with the USA!! After worked over 250 DXCC on CB it took till 1998 before I got my license. I got married as well and was off air for some years. But came back in 2006. And here I am still active and still interested in this beautiful radio hobby. 73, Bas

    1. Good evening Bas, glad that this post had you looking back to see where and how it all happened. That sure was the DX to get into the U.S with just 500mW's. I can relate to starting a family and having ham radio take the back burner for years and years. It seems once the seed is planted in time the hobby is picked back up again. Yes it sure is a beautiful hobby and it's always challenging.