A Life in HAM Radio, by Peter, G4VUN

On Wednesday 19th June, CRDARS hosted a talk by Peter, G4VUN, on his experiences in amateur radio.

Peter brought along a variety of classic radio equipment, including second hand and ex-military transceivers and ATUs that had been repurposed for use on the amateur bands. He was keen to point out that he’s had many successful contacts with people all over the world, using cheap equipment and simple wire antennas, fed with ladder line. There’s plenty of older but perfectly serviceable equipment in circulation, and getting started with amateur radio doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Peter was also keen to discuss the challenges facing amateur radio in 2019, from weak propagation and high levels of noise to the lack of apparent activity on many of the amateur bands.

All present were encouraged to get on the air and operate as much as possible. Whether by calling CQ, or coming back to other people’s calls, any activity on the bands is welcome, and the more people we have making even basic, boilerplate contacts, the better.

When it comes to HF, Peter recommends taking the time to check whether the higher frequency bands, such as 21 or 28MHz are open, as propagation may be possible even if the band appears to be dead. When it comes to the 28MHz band, Peter suggests tuning down and listening for Citizens Band signals around 27MHz, as if the CB users’ signals are propagating, there’s a good chance that the 28MHz amateur band is also open.

Regardless of our individual opinions on amateur radio, the evening was certainly thought provoking, and prompted some interesting discussion. On behalf of our members, we’d like to extend our thanks to Peter for coming to visit, and for his perspective on our hobby.