Recently I decided to take the ham radio exam. It was not hard to pass since there are more than a few online study resources. Mostly common sense rules anyway. My call sign is KK6RKW. Yeah I know we now have the tech to talk to folks around the world on cell phone or Skype, but this hobby is cool in a couple of ways.
For instance, yesterday was a beautiful 72 degree blue sky day here in far northern Ca. Along with a friend (Ron – W6PZA) I did what is known as a summit activation. That’s where you pinpoint a mountaintop, hike up there and set up a ham radio antenna. For power you just use a small 12 volt battery like one from a motorcycle, or some guys just use several AA batteries. It is amazing how far you can communicate on low power when you are up high like that!
The elevation of Knob Peak is approx 4800 ft. It was a fire lookout back in the days before satellite imagery was perfected. I could see for about 100 miles in all directions. That is 14000 ft. Mt. Shasta in the background.
At the end of the day, I had contacted other hams from places like Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Montana, and New Mexico. Radio waves do magical things! My partner scored a contact from San Paulo Brazil! All this fun stuff was totally off grid and clear out of cell range.
This is a great way to get out in the wilderness and up on the air! If you have an interest in sota, here’s a link. www.sota.org.uk