Amateur Radio Station M0TMD Mike Zero Tango Mike Delta
If you already know all about amateur radio you can go straight to my page on qrz.com. If not, here's a brief description, courtesy of the Radio Society of Great Britain: "Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for non- commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications. Amateur Radio is the only hobby governed by international treaty." Nothing to do with broadcasting! It's an incredibly diverse hobby which can include, amongst many other things: contacting people all over the world, competing in international competitions, technical experimentation, communication through amateur space satellites and providing communications at times of emergencies. Earning a licence Licences are issued by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, to those who take courses and pass exams. In the UK there are three levels of licence - Foundation, Intermediate and Full. This is how I progressed: Foundation - M6HMK - October 2016 Intermediate - 2E0VMD - October 2017 Full - M0TMD - July 2018 Why me? I was ready for a challenge. After 5+ years of a frustratingly foggy brain due to medical treatment, I decided that learning something new was in order to help sort out the little grey cells. My husband has been fully licensed since his teens, and is a radio astronomy professional. Our son is also licensed, so this, along with having been brought up not to shy away from trying new things, made me think I might have a go too. Having passed my Foundation exam and enjoyed the process, I very quickly got the bug for operating and suddenly understood what the "magic" was about - sending electromagnetic waves into the atmosphere via a bit of wire in the back garden, in a field or up a hill and making contact with other amateurs, potentially on the other side of the world, is just amazing! And not always easy. No two days are the same. Having found my feet with lots of operating with my Foundation Licence, I very much enjoyed the practicality of the Intermediate course and exam, building and testing circuits and completing a project. When I started out I didn't dream I would get my Full Licence. A seed was sown by another YL (Young Lady as opposed to OM, Old Man - there aren't that many of us!) who asked, as soon as I gained my Intermediate Licence, whether I was going to go for my Full Licence. It took me aback, but, with encouragement at home and a bit of forward planning, I enrolled on the excellent Bath Based Advanced Distance Learning Course in January 2018 and studied very hard for six months. Although I have a captive expert at home who was extremely helpful when I needed him (of course!), the study was very much my own - it would be me sitting the two hour exam after all! Much more a test of my understanding of radio and electronics theory, I'm delighted that I passed my Advanced exam with merit, exceeding the score I was aiming for. I now have the privileges of a Full Licence for life and will be able to operate from many foreign countries in future, this being one of my motivations. So what do I do? I operate (speak to other amateurs) from home, mostly using frequencies for long distance contacts. The geography of where we live is not conducive to working short distances. For that I go out portable, up a hill, and frequently take part in friendly contests. For these contests I often use antennas that I have built myself. I am the Contest Manager for the British Young Ladies Amateur Radio Association - a real privilege and a great group of people to be involved with. There are many organised ways of making contacts and gaining awards. Some of my favourites are Summits On The Air  (my husband is a member of the management for this scheme and is a very active mountain operator), World Wide Flora and Fauna where people operate from nature reserves and national parks all over the world and Worked All Britain which encourages contacts to be made in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Who knows what I'll get up to next, but it's such an amazing hobby there is always something new to learn and try out! 73 (Best wishes!) Helen M0TMD
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