For the last couple of years, my travel and work schedule have really taken a toll on one of my favorite hobbies. I got my amateur (ham) radio license in 1994 while stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ. Ham radio is kind of like the original geek hobby. Before computers, before cell phones, before video games the techno-geeky crowd congregated around the ham radio hobby.
There’s something pretty special about building a radio from a pile of parts and stringing a couple hundred feet of wire out through some trees and being able to carry on a conversation with people half way across the country or half way around the world. Even though today the vast majority of radios are commercially built and there are as many antenna designs as stars in the sky it seems, the magic of being able to fire up that radio, tune through the frequencies and have the possibility of talking to another ham in a country you’ve never heard before is pretty special.