A bit about myself, I have been licenced since 1984. I never went to a RAE course, I just read up a few books on the subject like the Radio Communications Handbook http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Technical_6.html#a1426 armed with this info I walked into Cannock Chase technical college, and came out with 2 passes after nervously waiting for a few months for the results.. Not bad I thought? Of course I had been interested in radio since the mid 70s when I built crystal sets, and worked in the local television shop on a Friday after school and all day Saturdays. Along with the school radio club, backstage lighting productions and the local drama club Rugeley players, I carried the knowledge forward and got some sort of career out of it and worked in the trade at Thorn EMI Automation's Test dept for 14 years or so..
Since 1984 my main Amateur interests have been largely around VHF/UHF and some 50MHz operation, using a Yaesu FT-736R. Nowadays it is small HF QRP projects (when I can find the time to construct). Some may remember me from the AX25 Mailbox (GB7RUG) I ran for over 5 years, I built it myself from converted ex CT2 units for the TNCs, and Pye PMR M & MX series radios for the radio ports, along with a 386 PC running DOS and FBB mailbox software on top of a G8BPQ node switch package. It certainly was full of fun and stress with 60 users at its peak, mail forwarding South to GB7COV via a 70cm link & North via a 4m link to GB7NOT. Fully operational 24/7 Serving Mid Staffordshire Radio Hams, it never failed once! I retired the BBS at the end of 2001, I felt it had run its course with the Internet now in full steam..