How I became a licensed Radio Ham, By John Allsopp G4YDM G6CHB
Hello, I am John Allsopp; I hold a class A Amateur Radio transmitting license.
Ham radio is a fascinating unique hobby; Ham Radio permits you to talk to people all over the world, after you get your transmitting license. My Ham Radio interest began many years ago; it was triggered by several Radio related connections.
I had always been interested in how things worked, the only way to do that is to pull them apart, which I did, sometimes to the shock and horror of my elder sister, and she did not take too kindly to her brother investigating some of her electrical toys.
From Bulbs, wires and batteries, a book which sold in their millions in the United Kingdom, I progressed from simple circuits that turned a light bulb on and off, to building my first Radio, a crystal set, or a cat’s whisker which it was commonly known by.
Soon I had a full working crystal set, made from a toilet role inner tube, that I used to build a coil, some very inexpensive tuning capacitors, which were recycled from an old A.M. Radio, a pair of Brown headphones, they came from a friend’s father, single core wire obtained from the local do it yourself store, and a diode to detect the audio signal within the radio wave.
My first A.M. Radio, A.M. stands for Amplitude Modulation.
The set would tune a portion of the Medium Wave band, from 600 Kilohertz thought to 900 Kilohertz. Soon I discovered modifications to the Crystal set, which I found out by reading books on the subject. My Medium Wave receiver was altered with the aid of more and less wire on the coil, and a tuning capacitor with a bigger tuning ratio. I was now able to pick up the local Marine Weather transmissions, on frequencies a little higher than the Medium Wave band.
My father was a member of the local Retained Fire Service, we had a large bell at the bottom of our stairs, which would ring when an alarm call was made, and a siren on the top of the Fire Station was sounded at the same time. During the night the bell sounded only, which was a relief to all those, who were sleeping.
By now I knew that the Fire Engine was fitted with a Radio Transmitter.
My endless curiosity which has survived till now was to figure out how to listen to the Radio Messages made By the Fire Appliance, and the Fire control. My knowledge taught me to know that an aerial used on the Fire Appliance was around one quarter of a wavelength long. I measured the aerial one day, my results indicated the frequency was in the 80 megahertz part of the Radio spectrum.
Before long, with help from article published in Practical Wireless, I had my own home brew Radio receiver which was capable of picking up Radio Transmissions from the Fire Engine, another receiver was made to listen to the Fire Control. The control frequency was higher up the V.H.F. band; V.H.F. stands for Very High Frequency.
Soon after the Control receiver was constructed, I found out about how to alter the receiver, to pick up transmissions on the two meter Amateur band. Listening to Hams using all sorts of home brewed receivers and transmitters were another mile stone in myself training in the art of Radio construction. By now I was well into the City & Guilds Book, how to be a Radio Amateur. My license followed, together with a certificate which allowed me to use the Morse code.
From these early beginnings I progressed with my physics studies and eventually gained a Higher National Diploma in Communication studies. This qualification gained me a post as a Radio Engineer working on Transceivers used by local taxi companies, Utility services and the Emergency Services. I then moved from analogue transmission to digital transmission and eventually became involved in commissioning G.S.M. equipment. G.S.M stands for Global System Mobile, the popular cell phone or mobile phone technology.
I'm a keen Amateur Artist working only in oil on linen canvas, here you can see examples of some of my work:-