Foundations of Amateur Radio What are you proud of? Often we forget the things we've done or achieved and every now and then it seems like a solid use of time to reflect a little on what went before and what that did. Recently I asked various amateurs what they were proud of having done or achieved in the past year, their little personal victory, their thrill to keep coming back to the hobby. For me it was the research and production behind "Is man-made noise really vertical?". It took several weeks to research and produce and received only a handful of responses on social media or via email, even though it was downloaded and read about 10,000 times or so. For me it gives me a thrill to have spent time digging into the Who, What, Why, When, Where and How of a topic that seems steeped in myth and often remains unexplained or unexplored. One amateur shared that they'd made their first HF contact from Perth to Romania, one had gotten their license this year after procrastinating for 30 years, another came back to the hobby after being away for a decade. There was an amateur who managed to set-up a rotatable Yagi on 6m. There were a couple of amateurs who have each been building a repeater network, another who built a 6m Yagi antenna and pre-amplifier, another who erected their tower after 5 years, another who managed to get an article published in the national amateur radio magazine, another who set-up their G5RV and connected it to an Air Spy to make WSPR spots after only a year and a half in the hobby. One amateur got their license upgrade and is looking forward to learning CW next year, another got their station fully set-up and returned to being an active radio amateur. There was an amateur who managed to get through a 20m SSB pile-up. A friend told me that their achievement of the year was to listen, both to others and themselves. There was an amateur who used 10 Watts to make a contact between Massachusetts and New Zealand, one who worked the SO-50 satellite with a Baofeng radio and a rubber duck antenna. One amateur managed to work AO-92 with the same type of gear, made two contacts and even has a recording from one of them. One amateur celebrated the arrival of their Bengali key, considering it Christmas before Christmas. One amateur who made their first contact between Texas and the Netherlands used a 20m self-built Moxon beam constructed from wire and fishing poles. There was an amateur who got their license and is impatient to get on air, it's been a week of waiting. One person upgraded to the top license class and actually started operating. One aspiring amateur was inspired by how easy it was to get licensed and is planning for their entrance as a licensed ham in the new year, mind you, that did't stop him from listening and decoding a NOAA satellite image using an RTL dongle. One amateur decided that he just couldn't wait for his license, studied three days and passed his test. He's now building his first radio, looking forward to making a contact. There's an amateur who joined the ranks and is now looking forward to going for an upgrade to his license next year. One ham has been licensed for 10 months and is already having a blast, erected his first real tower and now has a VHF antenna at 60ft, that's 20m up in the air. There's one amateur who has been learning about what a cheap RTL-SDR dongle can do with SDR# and he's saving up for an Icom 7300. He's finding it tough to balance between spending his money on high-end audio and saving for his Icom. Take it from me, the radio wins, every time! I've only scratched the surface of the activities undertaken in the past 12 months, but it's clear that being an amateur is a positive experience for many people, getting on air and making noise, learning, having fun, trying things and exploring this wonderful hobby is ingrained in much of the community. Before wrapping up, I'd also like to credit Will VK6UU for independently asking the same question and for the countless amateurs who responded, many of whom I wasn't able to squeeze in this time around. Perhaps I should do this more often. What's your proudest moment in the past 12 months? Let me know. I'm Onno VK6FLAB To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.vk6flab.com/. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB. Full instructions on how to listen are here: https://podcasts.vk6flab.com/about/help All podcast transcripts are collated and edited in an annual volume which you can find by searching for my callsign on your local Amazon store, or visit my author page: http://amazon.com/author/owh. Volume 7 is out now. Feel free to get in touch directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (http://twitter.com/vk6flab/) or check the website for more: http://vk6flab.com/ If you'd like to join a weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at http://ftroop.vk6flab.com/, the net runs every week on Saturday, from 00:00 to 01:00 UTC on Echolink, IRLP, AllStar Link and 2m FM via various repeaters.