My Introduction to Amateur Radio

Written on March 13, 2018

The first I ever heard about amateur radio was on Reddit, back in early 2015. A post that featured how it was used for emergency communications reached the front page. It was an interesting article, and piqued my interest. I did some more research, and was interested by all ham radio had to offer.

I talked to my dad about wanting to get licensed, and he (an engineer) also expressed interest in becoming a ham. He also mentioned that one of the adult leaders in my boy scout troop is also a ham, Jim Kohnke (W6VAR). After talking with him, I started studying for my Technician and General licenses and the Radio merit badge.

That June, my father and I took our license exams, both passing Technician and General. I was licensed as KK6VBY, my father as KK6VBZ.

That summer, with the help of W6VAR, I earned the Radio merit badge, learning more in-depth about the history of radio and proper operating practices. Over the next couple years, I operated on HF infrequently, participating in a few contests, including the California QSO Party.

In 2016, I began studying Electrical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. There, I became more active in ham radio, joining their club, W2SZ. In November 2016, I upgraded my license to Amateur Extra. In 2017, I became the president of W2SZ for the 2017-18 school year. I have recently become involved in one of several efforts to involve more college-aged and younger people in ham radio.