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Dinosaur snow rescue staged by radio girl Why are you taking a ham radio course? What do you want a radio license for? Why do you want to know about that? Or, more recently... Why did you get interested in Amateur radio?

I've already been asked so many variations of that question that I have a plentiful supply of answers, depending on the circumstances... short answers for casual acquaintances or hurried curb-side conversations, and medium length answers for people who ask with curiosity instead of distain, and a few long-form answers left over from dinner conversations.

Actually, and my instructor Wilf can probably confirm this - next to "How does it work?" my very favorite question is "WHY".

If you're curious about why I got into Ham radio, try one of these: SHORT - MED - LONG answers

Some things I'd like to learn...

  • The names of all the different types of connectors I keep encountering
  • Morse Code!
  • More about the radio I have on loan from the SSIARC
  • I'm reading more about ARES, and I'm interested in getting involved
  • I'd like to learn more about radio email
  • I'd like to experiment with antenna design
  • I learned how to solder years ago, but I need practice
  • I want to learn how to read wiring diagrams
  • I'm fascinated by the history of technology, and the development of radio
  • I want to know more about space weather
  • I want to try all the different bands available to amateur radio operators
  • I want to find out more about protecting our access to the airwaves
  • I'm interested in battery technology and solar power
  • I'd like to learn more about low power and emergency power applications
... there are so many things I want to learn more about, I hardly know where to start - the more I read the more I discover I want to know.

Andrea's Answers...
to the question 'Why are you taking (did you get) your HAM License?'


I like learning new things
I like knowing how stuff works
I have no other use for the LOG button on my calculator


Ever since I got the shop manual for my first motorcycle, while flipping through the pages I came across the fold-out section that shows the wiring diagram, I've wanted to be able to read that page!

I've tried several times to understand electricity - in science class in high school and university, in welding school and college computer courses, and I'm still trying to figure it out. Maybe I'll manage to grasp electrical concepts more thoroughly by studying radio.

I'm interested in the history of technology - the development of the internal combustion engine was my first area of interest, but I've discovered a fascination for early radio that may rival my love affair with the carburetor.


In the spring of 2011 I moved from Ontario Canada to BC, to beautiful Salt Spring Island. Keen to get involved in my new community, I attended an Emergency Preparedness meeting of my local neighborhood 'POD'. During the course of the meeting, and in the process of creating an inventory of local skills in our community, we were asked who had first aid qualifications. I reluctantly raised my hand, and glancing about, I noticed mine was the sole and only limb aloft - none of my neighbors had first aid training.

I had a brief but very vivid mental image of a post-disaster world in which I was cast as Florence Nightingale playing nurse to the entire neighborhood lying lined up across the floor in neat rows, and all suffering from the compound fractures that used to make me queasy in the first-aid training videos.

I have never enjoyed first aid training, although I did it every year for many years while working as a motorcycle rider training instructor in Ontario. The only thing I dislike more than first aid training is actually performing first aid on an injured person.

So considering my distaste for first aid, and the cold sweat I'd been left with after my momentary mental image, the opportunity to provide some alternative service to my community was immediately appealing.

So when the Emergency Program co-ordinator mentioned that the local HAM Club was offering a license course, I saw my opportunity to escape from my Florence Nightingale vision. Without the slightest knowledge of how much was involved in the radio license course, it seemed like a golden opportunity, in contrast to the imagined alternative.

So while my initial interest in amateur radio was related to emergency communications, I confess I was equally motivated by first-aid-avoidance. Not very noble of me.

For those of you curious enough to have plowed through this much of an explanation, I can probably assume you've got your HAM license too, so you've probably got a pretty good idea of how much I would have to learn about to get my license, and you must be wondering at what point in the process it dawned on me this was a heck of a lot to know just to avoid splinting a few broken bones. Well, yes, I did work that out on my own... but by then I was captivated by the idea of learning to read a circuit diagram, and understanding electricity better, and so I guess I was hooked then.

Fortunately I've discovered there are quite a few doctors and nurses in my neighborhood, so first aid, if ever needed, will be top quality, and there aren't any other licensed radio operators in my POD, so it has all worked out quite well. My conscience won't plague me too much about my first-aid cowardice, and I've discovered a fascinating new pastime in the process. Sometimes it pays to be cowardly.

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


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