In one form or another I have enjoyed radio for many years and now at last am the holder of a full UK Amateur Radio License with the callsign MJ0RZD and in France with F4VPJ.
MJ0RZD QSL card (on left) - F4VPJ/p on VHF (right)
My first taste of two-way radio was in the CB radio boom of the early 80's when what had been a really neat idea for cheap, readily available personal communication was imported from the USA sometime in the 1970's but illegal in the UK finally received government approval and was legalised in 1981. There is still even now a fondness for the old days when the original AM'ers kept their hobby underground, policed themselves and the airways and avoided as far as possible any brush with the authorities (otherwise known as 'Busby'). Even in the late 70's and early 80's there was the ever present threat of detection and the associated loss of your equipment, fines etc. so the resulting legalisation was welcomed. That is until the hooligan element, small children etc. found out that CB was good fun too and spoiled it for everyone. That though is another story but for many of the present day radio amateurs we probably wouldn't have got on the air if it hadn't been for the good old 'Chicken Box'!
I started out on the legalised FM system with a Fidelity 2000 and latterly a Uniden 100 which was also on the tail end of the 1979 sunspot cycle so the intended short range communications could suddenly open up to give much greater distances, unfortunately with the UK system the frequencies were subtley different to the rest of the world meaning the longest distance from the south west of the UK was Scotland and anything else was wall to wall 'mush' from the 'sidebanders'!! This prompted action of course and like many I ended up heading in the reverse direction and getting a 'sidebander' of my own, initially a President AR144, promised myself a HyGain V but never got one (until a few years ago when I was gifted an old one which I kept just for old times sake but didn't use).
It was tempting in 1982 to actually take the plunge and go for the amateur radio license and take the RAE (Radio Amateur Exam) which I did start studying for with an old G3 (now long since 'silent key' regrettably) but other new discoveries (cars, girls etc.) took over and it got shelved. So much for history. I occasionally came across the old AR144 and plugged it in just to listen, one time in the early 90's sunspot cycle it was fun to switch on and listen to American truck drivers chatting on AM channel 19 whilst travelling along the Interstates in the USA but I only ended up getting the bug again in about 2005 when I started reading up some old mags and books I found about amateur radio and that was it, the time had come to take some action!!
So it was I joined the Plymouth Radio Club, took their excellent Foundation license course closely followed by the Intermediate and found the world I suppose I had been missing out on but everything has its time. I enjoyed VHF with the Yaesu FT480r and HF with the FT747GX and latterly the long awaited (see article) FT707, was also for a while the club chairman of the Plymouth club before re-locating to Jersey.
Radio in Jersey has been even more fun as you get gifted with an unusual addition to the callsign (secondary prefix letter 'J') which can prompt the occasional 'pile up', have found a lot of new friends as well as joining and ultimately becoming the club secretary for the local radio club (see related page) and producing their club newsletter with help from my friend Mike (currently 2J0SZI), also helping to get the local Jersey Amateur Radio Repeater on VHF back on air. April 2009 saw myself and another local amateur Steve (MJ0SIT) taking and passing the exam for the full transmitting license (with help and assistance from Mike GJ0PDJ and Phil GJ3ECC) which has opened up even more possibilities. Other new projects include the introduction of Raynet to the island by local amateurs GJ7DNJ and GJ8PVL as well as my early first stumblings with a morse key.
I have previously held the role of RSGB Deputy Regional Manager for the Channel Island of Jersey and can still be contacted via my email address for any matters related to the radio club and amateur radio generally here in Jersey including training etc.
With regret the shack of MJ0RZD at Rozel in Jersey was dismantled and packed away as of March 2011, MJ0RZD will continue to operate from temporary locations portable and courtesy of GJ3DVC or in France as F4VPJ (see the relevant pages here)
So thats it, hope to hear you on air,
73 de Rob MJ0RZD / F4VPJ / KJ6DHW
Up on the chimney!