Hi, I’m Dennis. Every time I get re-fascinated by the world of radio, I like to do a quick blurb about it here. I am a web software guy by day, and a tinkerer by night.
I’ve been a ham since 1999 (which, if you hang out with other hams, really isn’t that long) with a Radio Shack HTX-202 VHF handheld 2m radio. I mostly did nothing but 2m repeater chat with my license for 17 years. I wasn’t part of any volunteer communities or radio clubs, and was only capable of 2m/70cm on my handheld talkies.
But then my uncle got caught in Hurricane Harvey (in the British Virgin Islands) in August 2017. My family and I could not reach him, and had no idea of his status for more than a week after the storm dissipated. We were starting to think the worst might have happened. I was reaching out to consulates and “safety walls” online, while my family went on social media groups. When the relief workers got word back to our family that he was located and safe, I deeply realized that we should do whatever we can to prepare for calamities and disasters. That got me back into some basic questions: How do you talk to people when infrastructure has collapsed? What does it take to prepare and train? How can a person help others in these kinds of situations?
With that, I took an intro training course with the Sacramento Metro Fire Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and became a Level 2 member. I started looking at emergency response resources on the FEMA and Office of Emergency Services sites. I joined the ARRL, and became an ARES® applicant.
I quickly found that communications is key to any response.
In November 2017 I upgraded to General. Then December 2017 to Extra.
My passion for ham radio was reignited by this emergency preparedness drive within me, and has since led to so many other amazing tangents.
I’ve only recently discovered things like digital HF modes, traditional DX’ing, the Brandmeister network, antenna construction (dipoles, loops, and portable hamstick setups), and self-sufficient power operation.
I hope one day to understand and experiment with satellite and ATV as well, but that just seems a way off pipe dream requiring extensive hardware and not much utility.
I’d also like to get good at CW (Morse code), and get into computing in the ham space such as PSK, Olivia, Winlink, and emergency gateway setup. Let’s see where this goes!