Ham Radio / Amateurfunk is definitely my lifetime hobby.
When I was 15 years old I checked out what weird wires a neighbour was pulling through his garden. We got in touch and I started listening to his ham radio morse code conversatoins with his friends all over the world.
Together with another friend of mine I started learning morse code. As we had a line of sight between our locations we started communicating with torches in the evening from house to house.
I got my ham radio license from the former Deutsche Bundespost at the age of 16 with a special permit of my highschool confiming that my performance at school would not suffer from my ham radio activity.
How questionble was that. I guess in many aspects my performance at school improved as I became interested in so many things and even realized what it is good for to learn foreign languages.
Based on the curiosity about maxwells equations I studied physics, got my Phd in physics and later spend most of my career in automotive biz.
Ham Radio has always been part of my life. Even at phases were I had no chance to put up antennas of missed some equipment there was always somebody to help.
Whereever I were in the world either by foreign assignment or just traveling. Most likely I met some hams and made friendships in the world.
Ham Radio makes people talk to each other and get them to know each other.
There´s no better way to connect people no matter what ethnic group, nationality, education or social status the come from. Everybody is sharing the same passion!
Ham radio is extremely versatile. There are incredibly many variants:
- home brewing: build your own transmitters or accessories (yes! in most countries licensed ham radio operators my build there own transmitters and use them)
- build your own antennas: though commercial solutions are available. Developing or adapting antennas to optimize the local environment is a interesting aspect of ham radio
- program microcomputers and interface them with your radio station: home brewing in the modern world has changed. When I started I build vacuum tube radio amplifiers, now I use solid state amps an program microcomputers to controll my antenna rotator or complex antenna and filter swithings system. Ham Radio is always a modern hobby!
- chase countries, islands or whatever: if you are not the tinkerer or builder you can try to contact as many countries in the world. Currently there are about 340 countries counted in the ham radio world. Apply for some awards confirming that you alread contacted 100 or 200 of them and put it on your bucket list to contact all of them. You learn a lot about geograhpy, languages and people. 3Y is the international prefix for radio stations from Bouvet island. Any idea where that is? Ham Radio operators will know!
- participate internation competions / contest: on certain weekends the international radio comunity make appointments to compete in a contest. The challenge might be to contact as many counties, hams radio stations during a fixed 24h or 48 h period and exchange control numbers. Doesn´t sound interesting to you? Maybe – but the real thrill is to design build up a station for contacting hundrets of station on another continent during a day. Staying concentrated for 48 h hours with no or little sleep. Having your station working reliably over 48 h with no breaks. Believe the freaks are in touch competion with each other but as soon as they meet in person somewhere the start discussing details and exchanging ideas in deep friendship no matter which nation they come from. What a wunderfull hobby
- Operate or join the developers team of ham radio satellites! Satellites – yes! There are tons of ham radio satellites in space. All developed by hams! The latest big thing was the geo-first stational satellite in orbit called AO-100. It could be launched by generous support of the state of Katar to ham radio community and enables 24/7 communication with just a 60cm dish antenna like the one for your satellite tv. Isn´t that cool that you as a brasilian just talk to your friend in india via a ham radio satellite.
- and there´s so much more out there: activate mountain summits, island, grid fields, do digital communication, morse code or voice communication, develope protocols for digital communications or voice codecs optimized for short wave propagation, study the suns activity and the earth geomagnetic field as these two have the most impact on radio propagation. Become an expert in radio communications just by following your interest
If got interested check my pages or contact the radio club in your country!