Mga Imbak na Marka: amateur radio

84th PARA Anniversary experience

di na ako gaanong nakakalabas-labas tuwing weekends. usually, it’s about doing chores and staying at home or preparing for the coming week. R&R sa mall is actually no R&R for me. magbabantay pa ng bata, gagastos sa pagkain sa labas. and kung sa malayo-layong lugar naman, traffic tires me out. buti sana kung maluwag ang kalsada. masaya ang joyride… kung walang traffic.

last sunday, i gave myself a treat and went out to the PARA Anniversary in Marikina. i told A that i was going and she generously let me.

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actually, my purpose was just to take a little peep as i have never attended one. photos during the event seemed to show that it was a hell lot of fun. another reason was to register my radio during the amnesty granted by the NTC at the event. sayang ang matitipid.

i went straight to the amnesty booth to get my radio registered and while waiting, i met people from DX3C. a pity i didn’t remember their callsigns but i’d really love to hear them when i stay in DU3 during the christmas break.

i digress. so after registration, i was told to claim my modified license on thursday. so off i went to look at the booths in the event. and GRABE… i was drooling over all the little things i saw. parang batang nasa candy store ang feeling!!! batang walang pera. huhuhuhu

i heard may raffle during the event sa mga nagregister. umasa naman ako manalo. sabi ko baka may awa ang Diyos sa akin na walang kwarta. but alas, dumating ang alas-5, umuwi akong luhaan.

di naman nasayang ang paghihintay ko, though. during the afternoon, a session was set for morse code or “CW” in ham speak. novices were taught 10 letters and asked to transcribe at around 8 letters per minute. the proficient-level hams had a contest and they were transcribing at 25 words per minute! what does that sound like? watch here:

amazing diba? i think i’m making this a life goal… i actually implicitly put this in my 100 Dreams list because to be a Class A ham, you need to pass the 5 wpm exam.

during the last moments of the event, i chanced upon Sherwin, a “batchmate” at the PARA seminar and passed the exams as DY1ZBV! i was so relieved to have met someone i knew in the event. he went with his clubmates from DX1CI (COMPASS Inc.) and that’s when i realized what i was missing: the camaraderie. i was a “lone wolf” and ham radio wasn’t as much fun when you keep to yourself and just listen. you have to learn how to interact with other people… and THAT is what i have to learn too.

so maybe now that my son is a bit older, i can be more active in the hobby and perhaps join a club. (DX1M seems to be quite inactive and its members too spread out) we’ll see.

ham frustration

please note, despite being a foodie, seeing the word “ham” on this blog may mean two things: that cured meat we all love to eat during the Holiday season (and beyond), and then there’s my recent interest which is amateur radio.

well, here’s the thing: i think i may have chosen poorly in pursuing this ‘hobby’ for the following reasons:

  1. you need to dedicate time for it
  2. you need a pretty big pool of resources
  3. you probably need a lot of mentoring on it. or perhaps, you don’t go into it if you’re going solo.

these three things all mix together in my situation. i don’t have time at home because we don’t have anyone to do chores or look after our son so we do them when we get home and on weekends. i have time at work and during my commute to and from it but here’s where number 2 kicks in: to be able to reliably talk to other hams, you need good equipment. yes, chinese-made stuff are cheap but from my current experience, it’s best that you keep them just for emergencies.

besides the acquisition of equipment, another resource you need (if you’re serious about ham radio) is real estate: horizontally and vertically for your mast, cables, and antenna. living in small 50-square meter home in a densely-populated part of the city that has a mix of large apartment buildings and small houses isn’t helpful. specially if you’re one of the bungalow-type right beside a 6-storey building. *sigh*

since QSOs are hard to come by, even meet-ups for training because of reason #1, i don’t feel i’ve progressed despite having my license for almost 6 months now. maybe it doesn’t help that i’m an introvert as well. *deeper sigh*

i think this new hobby is a double-edged sword, so far, in my short-lived experience with it. it piqued my interest and yet generates this whole lot of frustration. i want to enjoy it but so far, it’s not happening. and in the few times i’ve made contact with others, they always invite me to meet but i always have to decline. maybe it’s not the right time for me to take up this hobby? i registered my license for 3 years and hopefully before i renew it, i feel like i can and live-up to the name of being an amateur radio operator.

what do you think?

i want to be an amateur

not a professional. just an amateur…

i often equate being an amateur to being a novice. but i realize that it is a misunderstanding of the word “amateur”. last saturday, i found out (and realized) that amateur is derived from French which pertains to a person who is a “lover of” something. whereas a novice is just a noob.

what am i a ‘lover of’ nowadays? food. yes. but that’s not it… i’m actually not yet a lover of it, just interested in being an amateur. i want to be an amateur radio operator. notice i put “being a ham” in my 100 Dreams list. now, i already took the first step. i attended the PARA Orientation Seminar for Amateur Radio at NTC, a requirement for an amateur radio license.

my certificate of attendance and handbook

what for? aside from the potential use in emergencies and disasters (a.k.a. prepping), it’s something i just wanted to learn about. it’s an interest that could probably easily become a new hobby. but we’ll see… right now, i’m still waiting for the November 27 examinations. I’m not sure how I’ll pass but i really want to get licensed just so everything’s legal.

ever wanted to become a radio amateur?