Wednesday, 17 October 2012


In 1984 I was in 6th form, studying for my A-levels.  Technical Design & Graphic Communication, Biology and Physics.  I was also an avid CBer, and living on a farm I had space to play with when it came to antenna possibilities, and regularly built my own, including wire dipoles, a 4 element yagi beam (mounted on a pole dropped inside a sawn off grain silo leg, tethered with a piece of string for direction control) and a 5/8 omni made from a snapped off GP27 ½ wave antenna, 15 feet of 3 core copper wire and an aluminium shower curtain rail.  With a Ham Multimode 11 and a Stalker 9 I had contacts all over Europe, central America and the USA. 

On the back of this, along with a pal, Tom Cox, I went two nights a week to Bangor technical college to study for the City & Guilds Radio Amateur exam.  We did the work, and we both passed.  And we both forgot about it.  I haven’t seen Tom in over 20 years and I have no idea if he ever got a licence….. maybe once I’m on the air I’ll find him…..

Next step was naturally enough ebay where I found a job lot of CB kit.  I bought it and sold on the other bits and ended up with a few bits left over…….  Then I bought a 5/8 silver rod antenna…… and cobbled together a power supply from a PC………  and since I was there, CB is now u8nlicenced, so I’m free to go play!!


While rummaging in the roof space looking for a platter for a school function I found an envelope with a bunch of certificates, including my RAE cert.  well, I thought…. I wonder…… so a bit of googling and I find that it’s still valid and I can cash it in against a full Ham licence!  So off it goes in the post..........

Time for another wander into eBay land because back in the 80s, the untimate object of desire in radio terms was the Yaesu 101ZD.  EVERYONE wanted one, but they were serious money, and I was a school kid, and therefore skint!

NOW I see that 101s of various suffix are going for under £200.  I already have a guitar on ebay to sell, which will hopefully fund a purchase in this direction!  I never had much interest in VHF because there was little or no skip involved, but I see now that used sets are as cheap as used CBs…….. Hmmmmmmmmm…..

 then I spot the buzz about a tiny little handset from China called the Baofeng UV-5R.  covering 2m and 70cm as well as a whole lot of other stuff besides.......

delivered new with an extra big battery for £42.........

wouldn't it be great if there was a radio ready to use when my callsign arrives?


so, yesterday, the Baofeng arrives.  it's about 1/4 the size I was expecting it to be, and I spent the afternoon listening to a 2m net through the Belfast GB3NI repeater   and even a little listen into the folks chasing shoplifters in Belfast up on 453.775......

sounds great but I want on air!!!!!

so today I phoned OFCOM and a very pleasant lady there told me that my callsign had been issued and should have already arrived.  she'd resend it, but in the meantime......

MI∅OIM is all mine!!!

now to get some antennas built!!!!! 

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