My Amateur Radio Hobby
A large amount of people know me for my sense of humor and for my caring approach towards other people, many people know that I spend a large amount of my time working at a computer screen designing web pages and managing web sites for people but only a small number of people know that I’m a licensed Radio Amateur also known as a Ham for those of you in the US.
I gained my license in 2002 after completing just over 9 months of training and sitting a City & Guilds written examination in Advanced Communications, the training consisted of 12 key areas which we have to train in and be competent in these are
- Receivers and Receiving Techniques
- Components, Applications and Units
- Propagation and Antennas
- Transmitters and Transmitting Techniques
- Operating Techniques
- Station Layout
- Licencing Conditions
- Electronic Theory and Analysing
- Continuous Wave Transmitting and Receiving at 5 WPM
Candidates also have to complete a mandatory 45 hours of On Air training in Q-Code and Emergency Procedures (In 2007 it was made no longer a requirement to pass a 5 WPM Morse code test as well as the mandatory 45 hours of On Air training).
With a very large amount of Assistance from Local Radio Amateurs I completed my training and took my NRAE examination at the Leicester Radio Society. 2 months later I gained my first Amateur Radio Call sign issued by the Office of Communications (OFCOM) the call sign I choose was 2E1-IHR.
The Novice Amateur Radio Licence in 2002 was a two grade system my new call sign was regarded as a Class B licence meaning at the time I was unable to transmit on nothing else other than local bands this meant a large amount of restrictions but it was nice to be able to chat to other Radio Amateurs and to gain knowledge and pass the time of day with people to whom I had never met but all had the same common interest in Radio Communications as me, Amateur Radio is the only hobby that I know of that once you make a friend they are your friends for life, should you require help of assistance a fellow radio amateur will always come to your rescue regardless of whether there have met you before or not, the matter that you have spent a substantial amount of time qualifying in a specialist hobby is all you need.
Once completing my Class B license I became addicted to the hobby building radios and chatting daily to fellow amateur in my area and other amateur when I travelled on holiday to the East Coast with my family, Mum and Dad where able to socialise with people they had never met before but to whom had a hobby which I was a part of, whenever I would call over the airwaves into a local radio repeater someone would always return to may radio call I would tell them where I was off to or returning from I tell them who was with me and what radio equipment I was using I would get a signal report and just have a general chat and the weather or road conditions, locals would tell us about places we could visit or ask me to come visit them and say hello. Something so simple meant I had friends all over the united kingdom just from chatting and exchanging my radio callsign with them for about 30 minutes wonderful.
It was a change meeting with two fellow hams that changed my outlook on the hobby in a massive way, One evening I sat listening to two radio amateur known locally as G3HOY “Stan” and G3LTT “Arthur” both of which where have a “Rag Chew” on the 2m band about us “Novice” radio amateurs, as I had access to my radio in my room I tuned into their radio frequency and got the courage to call the would “BREAK” Arthur G3LTT heard me and answer “YES BREAK STATION, YOUR CALLSIGN PLEASE” I answered “TWO, ECHO, ZERO, INDIA, HOTEL, RADIO” The names Glynn! Silent filled the band for what felt like ages then the call I wanted returned “Glynn this is G3LTT – GOLF, THREE, LEMA, TANGO, TANGO, Also known as Little Tommy Tucker, the name is Arthur Welcome to Amateur Radio, I’d made my first real contact to the older fraternity of the amateur radio hobby.
My dad had heard me make the call and had come up stairs to investigate what I was up to as I smile at him to tell him I have my first contact he sat on my bed and said “I know that voice, its Arthur – never thought he was still going” curious to this I asked for more information and dad told me that himself and my mum used to visit Arthur regularly before I was born as Jean Arthur’s Wife used to was with my mum, with this info I returned back to Arthur to tell him what I’d just been told… A few moments later he returned with “ARE YOU GEORGE AND VALERIE’S SON?” I returned with YES Roger on that?? Arthur asked me to send a qsl card to him via the bureau (QSL is a postcard which confirms a contact and is acknowledgment that you have spoken to a fallow amateur) From that one evening of chat we became forever friends, I was invited to Arthur’s home with my mum and dad, Arthur would spend hours teaching me radio stuff and getting me involved in radio contests and competitions that was in 2001 and within just a few months I was on the airwave practicing sending and receiving of Morse code at 12 words per minute.
In September 2001 I attended Beaumanor Hall in Leicestershire to take a 5 WPM Morse code exam. 2 hours later I came out with a pass certificate in Morse Code, and a letter to the Office of Communications advising them that 2E1IHR is now a Class A Licence holder and therefore requires and Class A Call sign, Gaining my current radio Call sign of “TWO, ECHO, ZERO, TANGO PAPPA, PAPPA, two weeks later I got nicknamed “the pied piper” of the Airwaves because all other ham would hear is my call sign over and over again, Morse code because a major part of my hobby and my QSL card changed to suit my new radio call sign.
From 2001 until 2011 My family and i would visit Arthur & Jean his wife at their home in Leicester where I would spend every satuday afternoon playing radio with Arthur in the Back room of his home and my mum and dad would chat to jean.
Sadly on the Wednesday 31st August 2011 at 4.00am Arthur Henry Gray affectionately known as “G3LTT – Little Tommy Tucker” passed away at the The Grey friars Nursing Home after suffering a Stroke some months before.
Arthur My Amateur Radio Friend for so so many years is now a silent key in the Amateur Radio World but his legacy and some of his knowledge and skills live on in what he taught me over the 11 years that i knew him, I miss him very very much he meant so much to me he gave me a reason to be part of this hobby and his encouragement when my health became bad meant that my radio hobby got me through.
These days the radio bands around Leicestershire are so quiet without his voice booming out that I sometimes wonder if life will ever be the same for me, As a tribute to me friend i try hard to operate on the HF radio at least a few times a week my favourite band being 20m (14.000 -14.350) SSB.
IF YOU HEAR ME!!! ANSWER MY CQ CALL AND TELL ME YOU HAVE VISITED THIS WEBSITE, CQ CQ CQ DE 2E0TPP CALLING CQ AND BY.
73 AND 88s
Glynn 2e0tpp AKA the pied piper
A Little added Note
My skills as a Radio Amateur are unquire and specialist, most Amateur Radio Operators tend to keep their hobby quiet and say nothing to those around them our skills mean we are available at a minutes notice to offer our Advanced Communications training or to deploy emergency communications equipment which operator to our local Authorities or emergency planning departments. At our homes we hold an Official Wireless Teleography Act Licence issues by The Secretary of State to which all UK Radio Amateur’s are directly answerable to.
We act in a responsible many at all times and our knowledge is normally the best, we all have to comply with the 200 page Wireless telegraphy Act 2006 which defines what we can and can’t do it also defines what frequencies we can operator on safely and what amount of power we can transmit with. Contrey to what people assume when they hear the Words Radio Amateur we are not Licensed to use the CB Radio bands and it is illegal for us to even have such radios in our possession.
Some Amateur Radio Operators prefer to keep Amateur Radio as a Hobby and then again some don’t i use radio where ever i can as its far more reliable than a mobile phone and don’t need as much power to make a contact, the only drawback with this is that we can only talk to other licenced Radio Amateur who hold a callsign.
Radio is fun and interesting and secure as well as very cheap to run, have you ever tried to send a radio text message as fast as you can send that same message via a radio, you will never ever beat radio it was the starting block of communications as it is today and just thing what would YOU do if your phone stopped working. SUGGEST YOU ASK THAT QUESTION TO A AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR
Please watch a selection of youtube videos below that tell you more about our hobby and show you all the things we can do
I like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg03Dm4y1ao
The Video below is taken from The Bittern Dxers Group Special Events station which celebrated the 300 years of the Great Fire of Holt located in Norfolk in 2008 If you look carefully you might see me on this video somewhere in the background.