Celebrate accomplishments

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK6FLAB, Oct 19, 2018.

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  1. VK6FLAB

    VK6FLAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    Celebrate accomplishments

    Mistakes are common in all aspects of life. Sometimes they are only known to you, other times they are public knowledge and open to ridicule and lambasting. Getting on air for the first time is an accomplishment and often the initial source of mistakes, mishaps and great frustration. Once you've made it on air, the reception to this feat is often underwhelming, people around you don't appear to appreciate the amount of effort you went to in order to key your microphone and for others to be able to hear that.

    If you've been in this community for a while it's easy to forget what is involved to make that first contact and to dismiss those around you who've managed to obtain their license, acquire their equipment, install and configure it just so and to actually achieve the first visible milestone in their amateur radio journey, though technically it's audible.

    If you've never done this, or if you have but have delegated it to the historical backwaters of your mind, here's an outline of some steps and mistakes along the path of making your first contact.

    The first question you're likely to ask is, which radio followed quickly by, from where? Then, if you're like me and many other starting amateurs, you'll have set up your radio for operation on the local 2m or 70cm repeater, you're likely to have some kind of vertical antenna with the microphone gain and squelch set just so and have your radio set for FM. I'm skipping over power, the electrical type, but that in itself can be a feat of endurance.

    After hunting around for a list of relevant frequencies, you might also have set up something like CTCSS to ensure that your signal actually gets acknowledged by the repeater.

    If that's not enough, you'll also have made your radio use an offset which makes it receive using one frequency and transmit using another.

    There's possibly more things you've had to do to make this work and not be subjected to the ire of the local repeater troll who appears to delight in telling you off when they feel you've done something wrong, like leave the roger beep activated or some other infraction.

    If you did manage to achieve all these things and actually made your first contact on the repeater, congratulations and welcome to the hobby! Take a breath, you did well.

    After a while you're likely to become more familiar with your radio and start exploring the local bands. You might program another repeater into your radio and even experiment with local simplex frequencies.

    Each of these activities brings a new experience and new mistakes. For example, not all repeaters use the same offset, or even an offset in the same direction. Not all repeaters have the same CTCSS requirements.

    If you're using a simplex frequency, remember to turn off the squelch - don't ask me how I know - so you have a chance to actually hear the other stations, even if you are using FM as the mode.

    The process of getting on air as a first time user can be daunting, with many different points of failure along the way.

    Ignore the trolls, try your best and ask for help if you get stuck and celebrate your accomplishment when you manage to make a contact.

    My point is that achieving all this isn't trivial and it would be helpful if that's remembered from time to time. It's easy to dismiss an achievement made by another, but much more rewarding to celebrate it.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB

    To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/ and scroll to the bottom for the latest episode. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB.

    All podcast transcipts 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.

    Foundations of Amateur Radio Volume 7 is out now - with chapters on digital modes, coax connector loss, waterfalls, station performance and more.

    Feel free to get in touch directly via email: onno@itmaze.com.au, or follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (http://twitter.com/vk6flab/)

    If you'd like to join a weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at http://ftroop.vk6.net, 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.

    Attached Files:

    N6ITE likes this.
  2. KD2GIY

    KD2GIY Ham Member QRZ Page

    If your a new ham, Just don't pay no mind to the old grumpy ham that makes you feel stupid. Seven tree :)
    MM0XXW, W4POT and (deleted member) like this.
  3. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    VK6NO likes this.
  4. KG7VTO

    KG7VTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll never forget my first contact. A 40 meter, CW QSO. Sending, receiving and procedural mistakes were many. My contact chose to disregard my errors. He treated me with respect and consideration, and I was left with a feeling of great accomplishment. Thank you Bill, VA5CW. You are a class act.
    G0NMY, WN1MB and (deleted member) like this.
  5. N6ITE

    N6ITE Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first contact was by hooking my computer up to my HT, having the HT talk to my local repeater to link up to a different repeater in Australia over Echolink. Gentleman was as nice as could be. He seemed very surprised that he was my very first contact.
  6. W4CDD

    W4CDD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Had my first HF contact today. New York qso party. Didn’t talk long because I knew he was trying to get as many contacts as he could but he was very nice.
    NA4RA and NU4R like this.
  7. NU4R

    NU4R XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Email me sir! Let's set up a sked & rag chew!

    73 and have a great weekend!

    Greg NU4R
  8. VK6NO

    VK6NO Ham Member QRZ Page


    After driving a train for 12 hours I walked into my radio shack with only one thing on my mind.


    Opening a nice cold beer, lighting a smoke to calm the nerves I glanced at the equipment on the bench. Not much a little Kenwood TS120V and that beautiful high mound Morse key glaring at me.

    Oh well here goes I said, rotating the beam I heard Europe pouring in. Oh! The excitement so I starting beating on that poor key at around 15 WPM maybe faster. Back came an answer but much too fast for me. Slow down I asked, please slow down, and again and again I begged this request.

    What a moment when my brain could finally understand the station on the other end.

    Following this contact I found years later while researching my call sign the following friendly comments about my first CW contact.

    For G2ADZ, though,

    the biggest kick was in working

    VK6NLH, so keen at less than 5 wpm

    and the QSO lasting over an hour; for

    a first QSO that VK will reckon it the

    biggest thrill of his life. It was 1540

    here when the QSO started, so it must

    have been around three in the morning

    over there.


    73 VK6NO Lindsay

    Attached Files:

    MM0XXW, VK6APZ, N4NYK and 3 others like this.
  9. VK6NSB

    VK6NSB Ham Member QRZ Page

    As a "F" call 1 of only 2 VK's all weekend to make contact to special call run by Wakefield Radio Club in England. All running ONLY 10w
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
    VK6APZ and VK6NO like this.
  10. VK6APZ

    VK6APZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Only three things that i am proud to have on my shack wall, i worked very hard to get these as did many older VK hams.

    Attached Files:

    VK6NSB, WN1MB, VK6NO and 1 other person like this.

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