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We live in a world which is more connected, but more isn't necessarily better, it just means you need to filter better. 2020/21 has been a time of finding the new normal, lockdown and tiers have created an era for Hams to reach out to help out, sorry terrible pun, expand their knowledge creating more diverse and equal opportunities across generations to communicate across many different platforms. My adventures started with the dream of HF DX. It is still out there, 'Build it and they will come..'. However it is a challenging pursuit, not least the thorny subject of QRM, planning & housing restrictions and now ICNIRP. I am lucky to have an active local club, Burnham Beaches Radio Club and I also volunteer at GB3RS, the National Radio centre at Bletchley Park, the Government Code and Cypher School needs no introduction. The history of the codebreakers and the work of introducing the interceptors and modern Amateur radio to our visitors is a very neat excuse for experimenting in the true sense of our licence terms, anywhere and everywhere. The magic of contacting another operator somewhere else in a different time zone on our blue planet, never ceases to please. With all the traffic now spread across the spectrum in many modes, reception or interception has never been more complex. In a society where devices are more widely and cheaply available, conventions and agreements selectivley broken by States , Businesses and individuals, it has also never been more important to administrate the spectrum wisely.
Backstory & 'Grumbleweed'
My entry at the age of twelve was CB27/81, I had my Post Office licence and a handle of 'Grumbleweed' I learnt from my piers like 'Mr. Bluesky' cheers good buddy. Ham radio back then a mythological beast guarded by the feared RAE, just ask an 'elmer' to talk of the older tier system of privileges. Now most exam systems are modular and our own RSGB has moved very quickly to offer online exams during our lockdowned struggles through 2020/21 with Covid-19 and it's mutations. My CB days meant I learnt by mistake, studying for my callsign years later gave me the knowledge to get more out of the hobby and kit. It says much about the hobby then and now that it is still at the forefront of technical innovation, experimenting and learning embraced by hams worldwide.
I like most hams find, work and limited space mean I have continued to develop a shack and antennae for different bands within those constraints. 14 mhz is long haul from home and I use 7 mhz in the vehicle, I'll continue to work on a 40m solution at home and due to the inner suburban location have not overly woriied about 144 mhz and higher beyond repeater access for analogue and digital. The 4 * 4 is somewhat loaded as a project vehicle and enjoy the chats whilst rolling across country using all the digital modes, IRN and my current favourite, although well established, Echolink.
I have promised myself an Urban beam and 2021 may be the year to complete that, or maybe not depending on Covidity. I think I must make a concerted effort to use a major piece of mast engineering before maintenance and inevitable decrepitude become obstacles to hobby enjoyment.
I have had an absolutely engaging timeas a volunteer working at Bletchley Park, RSGB National Radio Centre. When you're used to at least 300 visitors and countless QSO's a day working at the N.R.C lockdown can mute the usual colour in life. If nothing else pressing the PTT and calling CQ the original invitation to the world to respond.
If you are an RSGB member, just go to the main website and download a voucher, take your licence if you wish to operate otherwise pop in for a chinwag with the volunteers anyway.
If you haven't visited the park, then you should. A day will not do this historic site justice.