How This Chic Found Radio

So how does some chic get into radios?  Honestly, I have no freaking idea.  I’m not a tech geek, not in the electronics field.  I had never played around with CB radio or even GMRS/FRS radios.  Nothing.  So, what the hell happened to lead me on the journey with ham radio?  It definitely was an unexpected journey.

I was introduced to radios by some good friends of mine.  They were already very experienced operators by the time I had met them and were hosting a weekly net.  They encouraged me to get my license.  I was curious, so I bought one of Gordon West’s books so I could start studying for the exam.  Once I got the book, I realized I only had one month to study and take the test before the question pool would change.  So I studied and crammed and I took that test.  I didn’t really think I would pass it.  To my amazement and excitement, I passed!  I anxiously awaited for my call sign and license.  KG7MZO.  I really like how the O rolls off at the end.  Never once have I considered a vanity call sign.

My first radio was a BaoFeng UV-5RE, gifted to me by my good friend Rob.  He pre-programmed it and everything!!  The radio was ready to go and so was I, but I was scared as shit!  What the hell am I doing?  I know nothing about this radio in my hand?  What if doesn’t work?  How do I key up for the first transmission?  How do you go about having a conversation on the radio?  I didn’t want to mess up.  I didn’t want to the say the wrong thing or break some protocol and have some cranky old-timer correct me for everyone to hear.  I was intimidated as shit to press the key the first time.  So, I waited.

The opportunity to key up came at one of the weekly nets with the Northern Nevada Preppers Group.  I had been with the group for about a year and had been listening to the weekly nets via a live internet feed.  I loved listening to the conversations, but I so wanted to participate in the conversation.  Now, with license and radio in hand, I could finally key up.  And so I did.  It was nice to have a comfortable and familiar place with people that I knew to be able to get myself acquainted with the learning process.  The weeks went by and I was getting more comfortable with my radio.

A few short months later, Ken and Rob approached me and asked if I would be interested in rotating duties as Net Control Operator for the weekly net.  WHAT!!!!  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!! You want me to do what!!  But I still know so little.  I have don’t know how to give a proper signal report.  I only have this little handheld radio.  I’ve only had my license for a few months.  I thought these guys were crazy.  No.  They were serious.  So, I said, what the hell.  Why not.  I’m an adventurous person.


Ken and I working Grinduro 2017

My first couple of nets were a blur.  I was nervous, palms sweaty.  It was an honor to be asked to sit in as net control, but I didn’t want to let anyone down.  Ken has been a wonderful mentor and ever so patient as I stumbled along.  It didn’t take very long to start getting comfortable and settled in as a net control operator.  I picked things up with ease,  and I have a great time bantering with the check-ins each week, still shocked and surprised at how natural net control feels.  It’s something that I look forward to every Wednesday.

Edible Pedal Race 2015

Working the aid station with Vic at Spooner Summit.

I also started tagging along with my buddy Vic as he volunteered to work race events with our local ARES organization.  Vic taught me a lot about setting up a station in the field.  He is always exploring new modes and testing new equipment, so Vic was a huge teacher for me as I started learning the world of ham radios and deploying in the field with ARES.  He showed me the ropes and I will always be thankful for Vic taking me under his wings.

Over the past 4 years, I’ve continued to explore and learn.  I’ve had a lot of help and support from my friends.   I continue to hold my seat in the net control operator station every other week and pick up a few races throughout the year.  This year has been a huge turning point for me.  The radio bug keeps biting and I want to expand my horizons and begin treading into new radio territory.  I have so much to learn as I still feel like a novice.  But I look forward to the journey and sharing it with you as I travel this path.

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