How I got into Ham Radio

I have had a long interest in radio in general which started when I was in the Air Training Corps.  While I was with the ATC, I took most of the communications related exams, attended both the standard and advanced radio cources and ultimately became an instructor.  I then went on to dabble with a bit of CB but I could never work up the courage to make a contact.

I didn't discover Amateur Radio until I bought a scanner early in 2010 and heard what sounded like ordinary people just having a chin wag and the occasional bit of morse code on 145.6625MHz.  A quick Google revealed that I had stumbeled across the local 2M repeater, GB3SH, and I spent a bit of time listening to what was going on and found out a bit about Amateur Radio.  I then went to the Vintage Computer Fair at Bletchly Park in June 2010 and found out about MKARS and that they ran foundation courses - unfortunately their next course coincided with me going back to University so my ambitions to become a licensed ham went on the back burner. 

I went back to University and turned on the scanner that I got hooked on the idea again and, having finally found the RSGB instructor list, I E-Mailed  a few of the locally listed instructors and either received no reply or a bounce back and this, coupled with my university studies, pushed it all back on the back burner again however I was still listening to GB3SH regularly. At the start of 2011, two other members of SOWN, Chris O and Rebecca, were around at mine while I had the scanner on and they became interested in Amateur Radio as well.  This prompeted me to restart my efforts to try and obtain a licesne and I discovered that the Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society were running a course at the end of February and I promptly booked the three of us in.  Shortly before attending the course we found that there was another person who attended SOWN with an interest in Amateur Radio - Phil, M0DNY - and this sparked the revival of the University's Amateur Radio activities.  We all passed the foundation course with flying colours and I ended up with a callsign of M6GMB while the other two became M6CSO and M6BRA.

Shortly after the course I finally put a face to one of the voices I had heard on the repeater by meeting M0IED at the Bournmouth Rally and he persuaded me to come along to the Itchen Valley Amateur Radio Club.  I found out that they were able to offer and intermediate exam for the middle of May, which tied in nicely with my return to University from the Easter break and this resulted in me gaining an intermediate callsign of 2E0GBL.  I was also able to persuade another SOWN member, Chris M, to take the plunge and sit the foundation exam and he ended up as M6YAC.

Because of the need for more full license holders in the University Club I was determined to gain a full license before the start of the next Accademic year in October.  Christchurch Amateur Radio Society were incredibly helpful and were able to provide an exam venue where I took (and passed) the full exam on the 16th of June 2011.

I went from having no license to having a full licesnse in under four months and I am currently in the process of applying to become an instructor and persuading other members of the society to site exams.