If there is anyone, beside me, reading this you know I’m a new Ham Radio(Amateur Radio) operator. I’m only at the first, of 3, levels in which you can be at in the US. With that said I am still, over all, getting my feet wet in what is out there. There are a 1000+ ways to go at the hobby. I am a hands on kind of guy, so I like building things. Particularly circuits and antennas. Nothing to crazy, but I have built myself a very well tuned ground plain antenna for 2 meters. One of the other things I am doing is trying to be active in the ham community locally. I have attended several functions the club has put on over the past 2 months and also joined the local ARES chapter. One of the functions I took part in was the Pearl Harbor Day radio ops the local club put on.
Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is the club here in town. Several of the members have over many years restored and worked with the USS North Carolina Battleship here in town. These folks have gone in and explored the battleship, restored rigs, and operated on them. Plus all the gear surrounding the radio operations; generators, wiring, etc.. So every year for the past several they have radio events on the battleship. This year I took part in one and it was awesome!
This all went down on the 6th and 7th of December 2011. On the 6th we went in and tested the waters, so to speak. Course the night of the 6th the airwaves were basically silent for us. Three contacts were made and that’s it, no more. Now with that said some guys had met the previous Sunday afternoon to this and managed many contacts, plus they contacted a station at Pearl Harbor and another ship in San Diego, CA. On the 7th we met on at a fine local eating establishment for breakfast and then proceeded to the ship. There are several radio rooms on the ship but for our activities the guys doing CW/morse code worked 4 decks down in Radio II(I believe) and my group worked SSB voice on 20meters in Radio Central(I believe).
Working this day on 20meters was awesome! Probably one of the coolest things I’ve done! I was the 3rd operator to take a 30 minute shift. It was nerve racking and absolutely awesome all at the same time. I have no, nil, nada experience on the HF bands and the etiquette down there is very specific and, for me at least, difficult to grasp that day. There’s all this verbal short hand and jargon, that in passing I’ve heard, but had no clue how to implement it. But with that said the guys in the room were super nice and patience with this noob. I made roughly about thirty contacts. Including 2 from Canadian, 1 UK and even another museum ship, my fav, in Tampa, FL. It was the USS American Victory, W4AVM. During the operation we logged roughly 140 – 150 contacts. To my knowledge we had 5 to 7 countries, 25ish states, and 2 museum ships. During that time we also talk to one ham whose father was on the USS North Carolina during it’s tour and one ham who was a chief engineer in the yard in which the ship was built.
Over all this was a day that I hold high, not only did I get to operate my first HF comms, but I did it to help celebrate the memory of the USS North Carolina and Pearl Harbor Day.