I would like to announce that I am a radio ham and that I hold a foundation amateur radio licence issued by Ofcom on behalf of the Radio Society of Great Britain. My call sign is Mike Three Victor X-Ray Yankee or M3VXY, and every radio ham has to hold one by attending a theoretical and practical course with a written exam at the end, this is to make sure you understand the basics in amateur radio before letting you live on the air. The RSGB explain further:
The entry Level is the Foundation licence. The Foundation licence is designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible. But before you are allowed to transmit 'live' it is important that you know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours or your parents (if you are a young person) and the rules and regulations of holding a radio transmitting licence.
With all the different and easily accessible communication technologies available today from Voip to Twitter, why would someone want to take all the time and money to own an amateur radio licence and the equipment in order to talk to someone, when it can easily be done over the phone or the Internet?
I can't really answer that question fully. Perhaps part of the answer lies in my geeky background and interests in anything technical. Maybe the other part of the answer is that using a radio to talk to friends, family and other hams is something more personal and back-to-basics than poking someone on Facebook. There's no fancy GUI, mouse or keyboard, just a simple device with a couple of LCD displays, some knobs, a speaker, microphone and button I press when I want to talk. I love it.
However, It is all the computers and modern life that has kept me away from ham radio for almost a year now and that's something I need to rectify. It was my grandad who got me interested in ham radio and who donated some basic equipment once I got my licence, and I feel I owe it to him to keep up the hobby from time to time.
His call-sign is G4JKO and he is a very good tutor who has introduced me to other radio hams such as G0UXA, G6CRV, 2E1EER and 2E0EDX. If any of you are reading this, I apologize for not being on the air and I promise to be back soon. I'm taking a weeks holiday for my birthday starting on the 13th of October and so I have no excuse.
I enjoy sitting in front of a radio listening to other hams and engaging in conversation and I now feel it's time to get back on the air. I'll may be a little rusty, so go easy on me, but I'm going to make the effort to help keep the bands active.