I developed an interest in electronics/electrics around 10 yrs old… dissecting perfectly functioning torches and radios… became a ham at age 26 years and 44 before obtaining an HF licence. Slow learner… huh…
I have two mentors, ZL4OW Stan and W0WOI (ex-W5USM) Bill. Both offered great encouragement and always had time to talk thru my silly questions. My first contact with ham radio came when I visited ZL4OW at his shack at about age 14. He even let me talk to an Aussie. I followed the SW/MW listening version of DXing for almost 30 years. Then fellow MW/SW DXer and correspondent of mine for several year, Bill Smith stayed with us for a week. He convinced me to learn CW and get on HF.
I began practicing the arduous 5 wpm and was in the throes of making a date with the Otago Branch boys to sit the test when word came out that the CW requirement was to be dropped… I thought it would be a shame to waste all that practice so went ahead and passed to test anyway.
First VHF set-up as ZL4TFX was an Icom IC22A and a home-brew 4 element yagi, later progressing to a damn good 5/8 colinear. First HF set-up was a Kenwood TS830S and Supreme (yuk!) 3 element monobander. Now, I have a pretty good set-up, an Icom IC746PRO, 3 element Steppir up 10m and a 12m vertical combined with an SGC coupler.
Future plans are dictated by solar events. An 80 metre long centre-fed dipole from a portable operation sloping down from a convenient clifftop approx 60 m high… I figure that with the sunspot cycle declining, the higher freqs will become deserted so I need to spend more time on the top band etc. The cliff-top operation is a temporary solution and I might get to use it for a week a time at most.
My interest is the challenge of working towards goals, e.g. DXCC, contesting etc but nothing beats when a DX station answers your CQ call… e.g. 7Q7BP calling me on 30m!
I’ve only been seriously hamming for a couple of years and my very tolerant wife hasn’t called in the lawyers… yet. Seriously, the hobby answers my passion for radio and there are many branches an interested hobbyist can go down to find some enjoyment. You can even find something enjoyable related to the hobby without even owning a radio.
My contemporaries are anyone who works DX first and ragchews later… much later…
I have two boys, 13 and 16, and a partner who have no interest whatsoever in ham radio. If I wasn’t into radio, I’d be playing lots of golf… and I guess they prefer I was totally absorbed with the former. At least, with ham radio, I am at home and can be prised away from the set for fatherly/husbandly duties.
73, Paul ZL4PW