Archive for the 'Amateur Radio' Category

CQ Field Day

WA7AZ, Field Day 2011

Not many people who read this blog know that one of my hobbies is amateur (“ham”) radio.  I’ve been a ham radio operator for almost 19 years.  My interest in ham radio began when I was a kid.

In 1986, a couple named Marvin and Regina Goodfellow stayed a week with us in our home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During the 1st night of their stay, Marvin asked me and my siblings if we would help him put up a large antenna in our backyard.

Later that night, Marvin (WA2FMD) set up a transceiver radio on our dining room table. He showed us how the radio worked. We listened to him talk to friends across the United States.  He even let us talk on the radio. I remember having a conversation with someone from Los Angeles who worked at Disneyland.

When Marvin turned the dial on the radio, sounds became distorted and new sounds emerged.  I heard people talking in Spanish and English, and I listened in wonder about the “dit” and “dah” sounds coming from the radio.  Marvin told us that the sounds were called Morse code.

He showed us how to say our names in this new language, and we practiced that night on his Morse code key.

I was fascinated with everything having to do with amateur radio.

Six years later in the summer of 1992, I took the Federal Communication Commission written exam and 5 words per-minute Morse code competency test to receive the Novice class Amateur radio license.  My first call sign was KB7QAW. After I upgraded my radio license, I chose the call sign WA7AZ.

Throughout my sophomore, junior, and senior year in high school, I spent hundreds of hours talking and “pounding brass” (sending Morse code) on my radio, which was a Kenwood TS-511s.

While many of my peers spent their free time playing video games, I was on the radio talking to people in the U.S., or places such as Hawaii, Colombia, New Zealand, Sweden, Mexico, and the Island of Aruba.

Today, I dusted off (literally) my Morse code key and brought out the radios to participate in the Amateur Radio Relay League Field Day event.  Field Day is an annual contest where people operate their equipment from batteries charged by a solar panel or a gas generator. Some people simply use the power that comes from the outlets in their homes.

The idea behind the contest is to make contact and exchange information with as many operators within a specified 24 hour period.

At about 2:00 this afternoon, I “fired up” the radio on our backyard patio, pressed down on the mic, and called “CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day, this is Whiskey, Alpha, Seven, Alpha Zulu, Whiskey, Alpha, Seven, Alpha, Zulu, Field Day”

I waited a few seconds and then I heard a strong signal reply saying: “WA7AZ, this is Whiskey, Zero, Romeo, Romeo, Whiskey, Zero, Romeo, Romeo (W0RR).”  The station was from Missouri, and within a matter of minutes I had made contact with people in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Maine, Colorado, and Ohio.

The above picture is of me talking to KT5J in Austin, Texas. My wife, Kylene, took this photograph for the blog. Nearly 10 years ago, I convinced her to get the Technician class amateur radio license.

Marvin passed away in 1998 at the age of 91.  Just prior to his passing, I had my only QSO (radio conversation) with him. The QSO took place as I drove to Albuquerque from Flagstaff, Arizona. I don’t recall specific details about the conversation, but I know he was glad that I continued my interest in ham radio.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, WA7AZ


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an associate professor of American Indian Studies & History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 632 other followers

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930″, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers': Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909″, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

Blog Stats

  • 100,037 hits

Community

Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 632 other followers

%d bloggers like this: