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Hello fellow hams and amateur radio enthusiasts, and welcome to my website

Andrea's stunt double, the playmobile radio girl figure with a radio and dinosaur in the background Did you start out like me, taking a course to get your ham license?

Did you spend months, like my class mates and I, rediscovering long-unused buttons on your calculator and learning about aspects of electricity you've never even heard of before?

After months of study and homework, math problems you struggle through with your classmates, things to learn, to memorize and to read; you're so focused on the license test you don't think much about what comes next. For the week before the test I crammed every day, did practice tests twice a day. There's no pressure except what you load on yourself - our instructor repeatedly reassured us that if we don't pass the first time we can just try again, but by the time I was passing the practice tests reliably, I was determined to make the honours pass on the real test.

Testing day; our instructor smiles kindly at us as we arrive, in various states of nervous anxiety and determination, to sit the license exam.

Passing the license test was very gratifying, I hope you remember that moment fondly too! I'd spent several months working towards that moment, but didn't think much beyond it apparently. Once the initial thrill passes, you're left wondering 'now what?'.

And apparently the answer to that is 'acquire your first radio'.

Actually, you probably had your first radio as a kid, maybe you built a crystal radio set, or you saved up for a shortwave set, and it may not even be your first transmitter really, since you might have started with CB or FRS/GMRS. But choosing your first HAM Rig is a big decision none the less.

I started on a older model VHF radio borrowed from my club, a 1980's TAD Radio! And I used that until I bought my first HT. Since then, I've added to my collection; another HT and a more modern mobile rig than the one I started on, which I plan to use as a base station, eventually. It's mid way down a pile of projects, which I've learned radio people call the 'bench of shame' where your unfinished projects languish awaiting your attention. My bench of shame has an offset attenuator for foxhunting, an antenna I built myself then broke, and my Motorola mobile rig, awaiting a power supply.

I launched this website as a brand new ham in 2012, and I hope it remains relevant to new hams, but I do update it occasionally with new and ongoing radio adventures. 73, and thanks for visiting!

Update 2022

The TC10K, the Tour de Victoria, the Royal Victoria Marathon, 2022 was a great year for volunteering in radio with more events than in recent years. Read about my day as a Lantern Rouge at the TdV. It was also the realization of a lifelong ambition to grow up to be a dinosaur... at the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair. I still do three nets most weeks, the WARA Net Monday nights, the SSI-YL's net on Tuesday nights, and the SSI's Nets on Wednesdays.

Update 2021

New radio! A Yaesu FT3DR and this year I've done some great radio events too!
I volunteered as a Lantern Rouge for the Tour de Victoria and organized an Antenna Bee for my YL's Net too! Radio nets have been such a joy through the pandemic, it's really heartwarming to hear familiar voices.

See the WHEN Page for updates from past years.

Radio Girl rescues her dinosaur stuck in the snow
Radio assisted dinosaur rescue training exercise

Thanks for visiting... hope to meet you on the air! 73
~ Andrea VA7ALG


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