After 25 Years

Last February I celebrated 25 years in Amateur Radio. Unlike many who were licensed at a  young age, I didn't get my ticket until I was 32 years old. In fact I recieved my license the same day that my then 12 year old son,Michael received his. We had consecutive calls, KB5ILS and KB5ILT. We subsequently upgraded to extra and received AB5EA and AB5EB. My son kept the later call but I recieved the vanity call AD5A in 1996.

As a teenager my cousin exposed me to shortwave listening. As many of us will say, it was magic to be able to sit in my bedroom and hear signals from around the world. I was mesmerized. I couldn't wait for the mailman each day to see if a QSL card might arrive. However, there were no local hams, learning morse code seemed impossilble, so I never pursued my ham license until years later, when I came across a Gordon West course in the local Radio Shack. The course cover proclaimed that a novice license was good for 10 years and you could talk on 10 meters. I bought the course, my 12 year son listened along as I did, we learned the code together.

So fast forward 25 years, what has changed? I supposed in many ways things have changed a lot. Things like:

- Internet
- Email
- Enhanced Digital Modes
- Online Confirmations
- Equipment functionality

I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but the efficient access to information is much easier now. QSL routes used to be one of the great mysteries of the world, in fact, INDEXA used to have a net on 14.236 that dipensed the lastest QSL route news. Setting schedules required weeks/months of letter writing. Increasing your DXCC count meant turning the dial, find the pile-ups and then back down to figure out the split, find which DX station might be on and then jumping into the fray . Logging was manual and data mining your log for forgotten contacts was a laborious task, but just as rewarding. DXing news came in weekly newletters not daily emails.

But there are some things that haven't changed:

- The concern over how to fund expensive expeditions
- Frequency cops
- QRMer's
- Complaining about the cost of getting a real QSL card
- The thrill of receiving that QSL card
- The excitement of a new one
- The magic of wirelessly communicating around the world
- Dayton, Friedrichshafen, DXCC, IOTA, WABA, etc....

Like some many things, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here is a toast to the next 25 years, God willing.



Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “After 25 Years”

  • Peter kg5wy:

    Yup.

  • Mark W4MMR:

    Congratulations, Mike. I got my license at age 31 and it will be 3 years for me to be quarter century. I am hoping my son goes for his license soon.

    Mark

  • Scott W9VHE:

    Got mine at 30, after 20 years interest. Even had a 1975 ARRL Handbook that kept my interest even after boy scouts.

    Scott

  • k4toj:

    I had a similar journey. My brother was the one who introduced me to SWLing. How cool it was to listen to people in different countries talking in the various languages of the world! Did a lot of listening to the broadcast stations as well and found at a young age that news about our country from the perspective of other countries was interesting. I tried to make the time to learn the code so I could get licensed to transmit, but never really took to it. Even after my brother made me a key and oscillator. I still have the ARRL handbooks given as gifts!

    It wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally took the plunge and got licensed. About 30 years later. It’s been a fun ride so far and I look forward to what ham radio will be for me in 22!

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