Friday, 5 August 2016

Two Decades of M1AVV

Tomorrow will be the 20th anniversary of me having an amateur radio licence. The date on my licence was 6th August 1996 but it wasn't till 18 days later I knew my callsign. Partly because I was on holiday and the licence was on the doormat when I got home, but stuff just took so much longer before we all had internet access. 

I got the licence aged 15, so I'm "only" 35 now.
My first amateur transceiver was a Rexon RL102 144MHz handheld, and at the time was the cheapest proper handie (it was just under £100 but there were very low power radios for a bit less). Nowadays something of that spec would be about £20 from Baofeng, but it was pretty good at the time.
Things have changed a bit in the last 20 years, there were digital modes but most packet was through bulletin boards rather than the unconnected APRS messaging used now. I think repeater use has gone down (at least on the analogue ones), with simplex FM use maybe increasing in some areas with people coming off CB. There were a lot more people on repeaters actually mobile driving to/from work.
Back in '96 you didn't have to worry about what CTCSS tone to use (1750hz toneburst always worked), narrow deviation (nobody used the 12.5khz channels) and definitely no talkgroups. But even now I'm not keen on asking people to go to a 12.5khz offset channel on 145MHz simplex, I still don't bother programming them as memories, so feel free to talk about me on 145.5875 or something.
In the 20 years, I've probably had a contact with someone at least once in every single month, and the longest I've gone without having a radio switched on receiving amateur frequencies will be about a week (well it was our honeymoon!). I always think I can make more of an effort in answering or making calls though.
I was M3ICQ for 2 years (did the Foundation morse test to get on HF as an M3 in 2002) and also KC0PUZ for 10 years (did the US exam at Harrogate rally in 2003, licences expire after 10 years and never renewed it).

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