First Contact

Well, I’ve been on the air a few times since the last entry. Monday morning as I went out for a morning smoke I jumped in on a conversation between to gentlemen, one of whom is in the same club as me (DVRA) and heard that I was coming in clearly on the repeater. Not bad for a handheld radio! After heading inside though, my signal dropped off almost into the noise level, so I cut it short and finished my morning routines.

Yesterday on my way to the truck, I called out again and another club member answered me. We chatted for a few minutes as he headed into work, and he suggested I look around hamfests for a used Icom IC-706 for home use (which covers the HF bands, and down to 2 meters, so I could still use it at home to hit repeaters and such). Later on, I heard Gary talking with another ham (Dave) and he mentioned going to the Mercer County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and that there was a drill going on that was kinda interesting. Since I was in my office, I walked outside and thought, “Well, maybe he’s still got his radio on, and maybe I can hit that repeater from here,” so I called to Gary, and he answered. Ended up driving over there and spending an hour around the EOC, even got a tour of the county 911 dispatch center. Met a few new people there, as well as met Dave face-to-face, and we ended up standing outside for almost an hour chatting about radio ideas, mounting in vehicles, and various other things. Then last night as the Mercer County ARES/RACES net was going on, I heard Gary mention that he had a couple visitors to the EOC, including Dave and me (he even remembered my call, not bad since I only talked to him once so far), so I decided to check in to the net. Again I was heard clearly over the noise (though I was outside to make sure). This morning on my way to work, Glenn called me back again as he’d seen an Icom rig for sale in the area and wanted to let me know about it.

I’m sure at some point, the local chatter on repeaters and such will not be as exciting, but more of a routine that I do regularly, but I have to admit that yesterday morning, throwing my callsign out over the air and not knowing what would happen next, my hands were shaking a little. Funny since I used to work in radio for a short while, but at least then you don’t get instant feedback from your listeners since they can’t transmit back to you. But, once I upgrade my license and start off on the HF bands, I’m sure that feeling will return. Kinda like fishing, you throw your callsign out there and don’t quite know where it’s going to end up, or who is going to respond. Only instead of it being someone within 50 miles of the repeater, it could be someone on the other side of the planet.

Now that’s cool.

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