Amateur Extra in the books

My amateur radio license in the FCC ULS database changed from General to Amateur Extra this afternoon, so now it’s really official!

I put in the application for a vanity call sign, so in a few weeks I should be getting on the air with a shiny new and cool call sign.


Still looking at radios and deciding what I want to get.

Adventures in electronics

Finally found some time to sit down with all the bits and assemble a second Morse code key using the supplied schematic. At first it didn’t seem to work, but after checking through everything I found one of the speaker wires wasn’t fully inserted (short lead). After I fixed that, it buzzed at me when I clicked the button! The button is the clicky kind, so it’s not that well suited for doing Morse code, but it works! The buzzer was also a lot louder than the kit, which I later discovered was due to me forgetting a resistor between the final capacitor and speaker.

The next step was to make it light up in addition to buzzing. Spent some time looking at the schematic for a place to insert an LED that I didn’t think would make it go poof or fry anything. Put in a red LED and connected it to ground, pushed the button and it lit up! Then I decided to try a second green LED in series with the red, and they both lit up! Success!

A variable resistor instead of the fixed resistor in front of the speaker I think should give me some volume control, so I’ll try that next. I need to get one first.

Amateur Extra, now what?

Now that I’m an Extra class ham, thoughts have turned towards thinking about what kind of HF radio I want, where to put it, where to locate the antenna and other fun things like that.

The past week or so I’ve been surfing the Ham Radio category on ebay just to see what kind of equipment people put up for sale there. I’m a bit of a sucker for older/vintage equipment, so while there are lots of shiny new radios available, my attention tends to get drawn to the older stuff. I don’t know how practical it would be for me to own and use older gear, but they do look pretty cool. Maybe by the end of the year or early 2013 I’ll have my own rig set up.

There are BarcampCHS sessions to prepare for, a garage to clean out (to make room for more workbench space) and ham shack space to think about. Thanksgiving will bring the #WATwitter (Worked All Twitter) QSO Party where I’ll be getting on the air with Connie/NR4CB to get Twitter/ham contacts. Work us on HF and you’ll get a 2-for-1 QSO!


After a couple of weeks of intensive study, I successfully upgraded my amateur radio license fromĀ General to Amateur Extra!

Once it shows up in the FCC database in about a week or so, I’ll apply to for a vanity call sign which I’m told takes about 3 weeks and then I can get an amateur radio license plate and work at becoming a VE and be able to give exams to others.

I’m especially pleased that Connie/NR4CB was able to be one of the VEs at today’s test and signed on my paperwork again. She was there when I got my General and signed my paperwork back then and did the same for me today.

I guess I have to see about getting an HF radio now and start surfing the bands.

“I know Morse code”

“Show me”

This has been running through my head a lot lately as I’m learning more letters. I’m up to 10 letters plus the numbers now.




I need to get some practice hearing and then translating.