Amateur Radio

Erin suggested I take up Amateur Radio as a hobby after watching an episode of Last Man Standing in which Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) operates a ham radio station. A couple of weeks later I was a licensed ham. I earned both the Technician and General class licenses on the same day, and an Amateur Extra class license two weeks later.1


Amateur radio has provided me a focus and purpose. In recent years my interests have been varied: astronomy, photography, physics, software development, and others. And, while these remain interests, they aren’t compelling. I am not willing to move out of my comfort zone to engage with these interests.

Ham radio is different. I have earned the highest amateur license, joined and attended four separate amateur radio clubs, and attended meetings and events for each. All within a four week period. I am outside of my comfort zone.

I am not an astronomer, a physicist, or a photographer. But, I am an engineer by training and vocation. Given that ham radio is highly technical, and many aspects are in fact disciplines of engineering, I am able contribute to the ham radio community and advance the state of the art. And that is exciting.

  1. With my engineering background the technical aspects of amateur radio were well known to me. And, my general aviation experience made the FCC regulations easy to understand. Earning my licenses was largely a matter of test preparation, and re-familiarization of engineering principles learned in college, but unused in my daily life.