Sometime I feel a need to explore something or another. I am not sure if I am trying to relive events in my past, or just try things out for fun. A long time ago I was a communications technician in the Royal Air Force and though my life was filled with, well, life I suppose, I never got around to exploring Amateur Radio.
I knew of HAMs, and completely understood the technology and equipment they used, the way the ionosphere worked to enable them to get great distances with their Morse code, the mechanics of their equipment, transmitters and receivers, but never found the need to actually get the license and try it.
Now I am retired, I have a reasonable computer system and a spare room. Here in this room I play my days away, tinkering, writing, messing about with wires, servo’s, camera parts, thing-a-ma-jigs and doo-hickies. I discovered that I can explore the radio spectrum using a long wire to a nearby tree, a radio receiver dongle that plugs into a USB socket on my PC and some free software known as HDSDR.
A ‘HAM’ would have a high quality Receiver, a well balanced antenna system, excellent recording equipment, and a relationship with lots of other HAMs with whom they would communicate as and when the heavens, time and weather allowed them.
I have not taken the exam, therefore have no call-sign as they are allocated post exam, so I am not a part of the club. Yes, I hear Morse code, and decode it to read that SP4DNX had a strong signal at 11:04Hrs, but I cannot share that with him as I am unable to transmit, or even get his details from the net to let him know I heard his contact.
I hear RTTY (Radioteletype (RTTY) is a telecommunications system consisting originally of two or more electromechanical teleprinters in different…) as well, and decoding that I hear people as far away as Italy, Moscow, Scandinavia are broadcasting in the hopes of learning how far their signals carry, but I hear them and cannot let them know.
I am starting to find other things on the radio waves too, things the ordinary listener maybe never hears and that for me is intriguing. I hope to share some of those things here soon.