Monday, November 3, 2014


N3CN is my amateur radio call sign. I've been a "ham" for a long time. It started when I was in Junior High School - back when there were Junior High Schools and not Middle Schools! They had a program called the "Learning Enrichment Program" and one of the things we could do was get an amateur radio license and use the radio station at the school. So I did. I learned morse code and some radio theory and got what was then called my "novice" license with the call sign WB3EXE (which is you know morse code is a really cool call sign to tap out). That must've been back around 1981.

Of course, Junior Highers are very competitive, so once we got our first licenses, we wanted to advance. At that time there were 5 classes of licenses you could get, so we tried to move up - and did! I went to General (level 3), to Advanced, and then got the top license, Extra. When you get that, you can get a special, shortened call sign as a perk, and I did: N3CN. I was active for a while and bought a nice radio for my home. But once I went to college, I was less and less active. Then I moved into an apartment and couldn't have an antenna up. Then I sent to seminary, then to New York and my first church, and then in Virginia the Home Owner Association where I lived didn't allow it. And so many years went by without being back on the air.

Now, however, I am starting back in. There is much I have forgotten, of course, but am re-familiarizing myself with it all. What got me going again was being trained in Disaster Relief Response and Ham radio operators are very useful at such times. So I got my old radio out, but since I haven't used it in so long, its not going to work without fixing up. Not too many folks do that anymore, and it has old parts, too - vacuum tubes even! So instead of trying to invest in fixing that up, I decided to save up and try to buy a new radio that would be both more reliable and easier to use.

Then I found someone in Warrenton selling the radio I had identified as a good and not too expensive fit for me. It was in very good condition and he was no longer using it since he had upgraded and was willing to give me a good price. Then I found out that he was selling an antenna also! So now I have the equipment I need to get back on the air. All I need to the time to erect the antenna and hook everything up. That will probably be in another week or so.

So if you're a fellow ham and reading this, let me know and we'll see if we can make contact. Hopefully the antenna will work well where I am going to put it and I don't blow anything up . . . :-)

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