KC8RHC writes "I have been a ham now for about a month. I am not sure how others gained interest in Amateur Radio, mine came when I was about 16. I saw a demonstration in school and I was hooked. I had so many interests that it took me until I was 31 to finally make room in my life for this particular hobby. I bought my first radio last month. An ADI-600 dual band radio. I didn't really have an elmer to help me, so I sat down with the manual and read it cover to cover about 60 times. I still don't have it all worked out, but in the process of working with it, I heard the magic! Somehow I had managed to put the receive frequency into my handheld's memory and I heard it. I didn't answer right then, it must have taken me several hours before I managed to key up. I gave my call sign and released the key. The repeater beeped the courtesy tone, so I got the offset right also. I waited. And waited. I figured that the person that was listening had left so I just monitored for a while. About 20 minutes later, someone else announced that he was listening and the first gentleman responded immediately! After their 15 or so minute QSO was finished I keyed up again and transmitted my call. Dead Air again. I arranged with a friend with a scanner to monitor the input and output frequencies for the repeater and everything is working just fine. Several days later I managed to contact a fellow HAM (and old friend), but have attempted many contacts both by just 'checking in' and answering direct to people who have transmitted there call signs. I am not sure what I am doing wrong! Either I offended someone, or I only manage to propagate a direct path to the repeater and back to my radio alone. How do you welcome your new hams? Do they have to join the 'Good ole Boys Club' before you talk to them? If this is how we do it here, with 'cheap radios' why would anyone want to make a major investment into HF so that we can be blown off by people hundreds of miles away?"