Thank you for looking me up. Maybe you just heard me in the bands, or we have just completed a nice QSO?
After almost forty years of interest in HF radio, I finally got my radio amateur license in March 2011. Since 11 May 2011, I have been on the air as LA6VQ. Below you will find an account of who and what brought me into ham radio.
My radio interest was spurred when I was just a kid, growing up in Bremanger, an island on the northern coast of Western Norway, 160 km/100 miles north of Bergen, the biggest city in Western Norway. Admittedly, I was more than average interested in the big wide world out there, and deeply fascinated about the short wave radio signals coming in from all over the world. My older brother was a navigator in the Norwegian merchant marine, and many other relatives and neighbours were also seamen. They sent us postcards and told fascinating stories of their experiences from all over the world, which certainly didn't reduce my curiousity of the world outside our island.
But more than anything I was spurred by my uncle (the original LA6VQ Mr Trygve Hauge), who got his license in September 1971. He suffered from a muscle disease, and needed some help writing logs and QSL cards, antenna work, etc. In return for my help, he let me tune the bands and listen to stations around the world, and sometimes make contacts as his second operator. For a 13 years old boy, listening and talking to stations in Pakistan, Antarctica, US Virgin Islands, Israel, Brazil, and other distant places, was indeed memorable experiences! No doubt I would take that license one day!
But, then there was school, military service as radio operator in the Royal Norwegian Navy, business school, work, family, you know the story! Studying and working in Bergen more or less continuously since 1980, I joined the license classes of the Bergen Group of NRRL several times in the 1980-ies, but always something else took priority over ham radio. I always had the interest, but didn't have (or rather, to be honest, take) the time to take the license and get on the air. My uncle died in 2003, having enjoyed ham radio for more than 30 years.
Out of the blue, one day in January 2011, I noticed on the web that a new license course would be started soon. I signed up for the course, held by and under the experienced auspices of LA1TNA and LB0K, and 9 weeks later I passed the license test. After so many years, I was a real radio amateur!
By application to the Post and Telecommunications Authority, I was lucky enough to be awarded my late uncle's call sign, which makes me both proud and humble. I will try to honour his memory by living up to his reputation as a gentleman on the air, and elsewhere.
When I checked with the Norwegian amateur radio organization, Norsk Radio Relæ Liga (NRRL), they told me I had been a member since September 1977. That is more than 2/3 of my life! I guess I rank high on the list of "time of membership without a transmitting license".
Living in the central parts of Bergen, my antenna conditions are similar to many city-dwelling hams, with limited space for antennas, zoning ordinances, etc. And some of the beautiful seven mountains surrounding the city, having earned Bergen it's name, create some challenges between northeast and south. However, my Kenwood TS-590 barefoot and an inverted V with its apex at 9 meters above the ground, work fairly well. And my ICOM IC-7000 mobile rig and Moonraker AMPRO whips for various bands, produce quite good results in pile-ups competing with considerably better antennas and PAs, particluarly when I am able to park near the sea.
I also have a second QTH in my childhood home in Bremanger, where the space for antennas is better. Bremanger is in the IOTA EU-055 group (with its formal IOTA name being Bremangerlandet). When I am in Bremanger I try to be as active as family life and social commitments permit, in order to make EU-055 available for island chasers. Being an islander by breed, heart and mind, I feel confident that contacting island hams will be an important part of my hobby.
I have put up an FD-4 Windom antenna there. Together with the ICOM IC-7000 and an LDG AT100 Pro II tuner, the FD-4 works well on all HF bands. The QTH is situated 15 meters from the sea in locator JP21LU (enter locator in the search field to see the location), and apparently produces fairly good take-off for the signals.
The relatively poor working conditions in Bergen still enabled me to work all continents within my first five weeks of operation. By December 2013, I have worked 149 DXCC entities in 2800 QSOs, but then there are the confirmations. With the DXCC Award in place, 140 entities verified/confirmed (and counting), I am quite satisfied with the response rate this far.
QSL - LoTW
Having started my ham career as a "QSL manager" 40 years ago, I fully understand that QSL-ing is also an important part of the hobby. And I certainly think that a QSL card is the final courtesy of a first QSO on a new band, mode or QTH. To my knowledge there is still no way of confirmation that makes QSL cards obsolete.
In addition to paper QSL cards, I have found Logbook of the World to be a most useful and fast tool, which I recommend to anybody who have not tried it. Remember, though, that LoTW is only valid for the ARRL awards, recently also progressing into CQ WPX. Later some of the other CQ awards may be included. For many other awards you will still need the good old QSL card. Remember also that QSL cards will qualify you for all awards, while LoTW will not. Consequently, LoTW is not a replacement for QSL cards, just a convenient and fast addition for some of the very popular awards.
LoTW also fits my style of operation from several QTHs, while eQSL.cc is regrettably useless in that respect. If you follow the LoTW instructions and upload your log, chances are good that soon you will have several new verified entities.
Some fellow hams told me that LoTW was so complicated, and even more so in a foreign language. Well, it is not! Consequently, I took the opportunity of translating the LoTW instructions into a set of LoTW instructions in Norwegian. And as most logging software can offer direct upload and download of LoTW, it becomes even easier to use. And after a while, when you receive the return QSL card, you have both LoTW verification and paper QSL confirmation, usable for many awards.
In 2012 I was honoured to be elected to the board of the Bergen Group of NRRL. I find the board service most interesting, capitalizing on my business experience and my beginner's enthusiasm as a new ham. The new board has taken some new initiatives and received good responses from the members, which is encouraging for further initiatives. I look forward to continuing the initiatives.
Like most hams I have antenna dreams and plans that will take some time and domestic and public approvals to realize. I am working on both of them. I like that our hobby have so many different aspects, with open doors for rag chewers, contesters, DX-ers in all bands and modes, satelliters, elmers, communication technology avantgardist and historians/"archaeologists", expeditioners, antenna builders, software developers, and many other ways of enjoying radio. And like most hams, I enjoy many sides of the hobby.
On the Air
I like to talk with people, so if you hear me, please call me. As you will gather from the above, DX-ing and IOTA is close to my heart. And I like the challenge in a pile-up, so if 6 seconds and an exchange of call sign and signal report is all that is available, that is OK, too.
I support the ideas expressed in the DX Code of Conduct and the Ethics and Procedures for Radio Amateurs. They make ham radio better for everybody. If at any time you hear me getting anywhere near challenging any of them, please let me know - not through policing on the air, but by an e-mail to the address in my QRZ.com listing.
Remember, this call sign used to belong to a gentleman. I will strive to keep it that way.
Thanks for reading. Hope we meet in the bands soon.
Last modified: 2013-12-06 13:05:57, 10534 bytes cached
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