Reinvigoration – Thoughts From A New Ham – New Interests

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The following is from Steve, KL5SL.  His message highlights the fact that our hobby is so very diverse and that interests change over time.  Steve has found something new and interesting to him.  What a wonderful hobby!

I earned my technician license in the spring of 2020 during the height of the initial COVID-19 lockdowns.  I had plenty of time to study and the incoming pandemic motivated me to start thinking of emergency communications.  I researched, studied, and eventually passed the technician test thanks to Ham Study.  

It seemed like forever, but my call sign posted and I fired up my new Yaesu FT-70, tuned in to the local repeaters…and heard nothing!  To be fair, I never went out of my way to key up any of my local repeaters either.  I was living down in the lower 48 at the time.  

I eventually lost interest and found other hobbies to occupy my mind.

Four years later, here I am living in AK (for the second time).  I’m not sure why, but over this last winter I started reading back up on ham radio…and I stumbled across the world of SOTA/POTA.  Something about portable ops really intrigued me.  I made an account on the SOTA database and found plenty of summits in South Central AK that have good line of sight into population centers, and a few of them had already had 2m activations made from them.

When spring finally started to spring, I headed up Lazy Mountain KLA/MC-564 to give SOTA a go…and it was a success!  I made 5 contacts, and ALL the folks that I talked to were awesome.  One of the operators down in the valley was even nice enough to get on the phone to round up additional chasers to ensure that I had a successful activation.

A couple of weeks later I headed up KLA/AN-189 in Eagle River and had another awesome time.  It took a little while longer to make 4 contacts, but I was fortunate to talk to some really nice folks.

After a couple of activations, I got pretty fired up over portable ops, which led me to the AARC’s remote testing services and I earned my general ticket…thanks again Ham Study!  And also a huge thanks to the AARC VEC!  The guys were awesome and the testing process was super smooth.

Now with a general ticket in hand, I have high hopes of running QRP HF rigs from our local summits and have started studying some CW.  I can’t wait to get back up in the mountains this summer!