by Jim Morgan

I am a poor ham. I took the ham test all those years ago with absolutely
no prospect of getting a rig any time soon. After perusing the internet
after passing the test I perused the internet and found a wonderful
little invention called Echolink.

Now not having a radio, Echolink, was a godsend for this radio-deprived
ham. I could get on the air without a radio and I could even talk to
stations all over the world without getting a General class ticket.

I made my first radio contact with a man in South Dakota and after my
case of mike-shyness subsided a little I made many qsos using Echolink
before I got my rig.

Now around here anything digital, computer or cyber is pretty much
looked down on in ham radio. I sort of felt like an outcast in the early
days of my hamming.

I soon made the big mistake of joining ARES and other Emcomm groups in
the area. Now emergency communications is an important part of amateur
radio, I don’t deny this. But the emcomm groups around here seem more
concerned with doing whatever FEMA wants instead of doing what works.

My political persuasion is one in which I don’t give a royal flip what
the government wants. If they are so damn smart let them handle it.

Yeah that worked real well for them after Katrina didn’t it?

Another thing that emcomm inadvertently did was make ham radio all about
emcomm applications. It took the fun out of ham radio for me. When you
are always asking “does this have disaster applications?” it takes all
the fun away.

Nothing in ham radio has been fun for me in a while.

I recently discovered a group of hams on Twitter who follow the hashtag
#hamtwitnet. They reminded me of the fun I had with Echolink in the
first days of my being licensed.

Over the next few days I will be hooking up my own radio to Echolink and
working my own link station instead of operating from the internet side
or using someone’s repeater.

I am excited to get started on this project and one of the biggest
pluses of it is that it has next to no emergency communication application.

Yeah, buddy, bring on the fun.

Echolink can be found at

My Echolink node number is 329762. For a few days I will be using the
internet side but soon it will be an RF link.