In 1976 My friend and I looked in to getting our Amateur Radio Operator Licence. For a whole variety of reasons, we didn’t take it any further. It all went away until 2016. In between times, the methods of gaining a radio operators licence became a little bit easier. Please don’t think of this as dumbing down in any way it isn’t. There are now three levels of exam, with each level of increasing complexity and greater rights of operating. Achieving the third level give the same rights as someone who passed their exam in 1976.
The three levels are Foundation, Intermediate and Full. Having taken my Foundation exam in 2016, I achieved my intermediate in 2018. I may go for my full, but not just yet.
I just like being able to use the radio, and being an intermediate has not really been a hindrance, it opened more doors, and I can see the benefits of going for a full, but I’m not ready yet.
As hobby, it’s amazingly diversified, there are so many different directions that you can go. I like events, we things that are “On the Air” railways on the air, museums, parks, lighthouses, almost anything. We set up a station, make contacts and talk to the public. Then there is RAYNET.
There is a history to the Radio Amateur Emergency Network that back to 1933, when the suggested instution of an emergency network was suggested and rejected. In 1953 we saw the East Coast Flood over 100 lives were lost. Through circumstances the value of the amateur radio operators was recognised and an early version of RAYNET was formed.
Today, we had a fairly typical event; The Purbrook Ladies Five Mile Run, I was on the water point. It’s my responsibility top pass any messages that the Marshallers may need communicated with my control. You meet people, they ask what you are doing, I love that. Also the feeling of helping is excellent.
Then there are the nets, These are groups of people on the radio have a chat – which doesn’t always have to be about radio stuff. Nets are fun.
There is always the question; with everything that the Internet does, why bother with Radio? The best responses I can give are because right I can, and because it’s fun. There are more serious answers, but you don’t need them.