Born in Chelmsford, Essex. 1967. I have always been interested in radio even back from the days of CB Radio in the USA and eventually 1981 in the UK.
At I’m going to guess about 11 years old, my first dabblings and experiments with radio followed this logic.
If a signal came through the sky down the aerial through the radio and out the speaker.
Then if the battery was reversed and you spoke into the speaker it must go the other way. Right!
Sadly I smoked a fair few radios trying. This was before the days of my current electronics experience where I could probably revitalize them.
Moving on, I studied for and took the Radio Amateurs Exams (Ham Radio course) whilst at college in 1989 and was first licensed at age 22 in 1990.
Passed both the RAE Radio Amateurs exams in June 1990. In 1990 we had to pass two City and Guilds exams to be able to apply for a license.
I then applied and waited for a class B License which allowed transmission on 50MHz and above (VHF UHF).
This arrived in July 1990 and I was allocated the call G7HCD
At this time I held a CEPT Class B license G7HCD which enabled me to operate on VHF upwards. I purchased a Kenwood TR-751E 2m multimode from Waters and Stanton, Hockley (where I later worked in the Service Department) and had a lot of fun. I had previously been using an Alinco dual band handheld radio for listening and operating initially. This I purchased from Mark Francis at W&S in Hornchurch approximately 1988 for different commercial reasons.
As time went on I got more involved with the hobby, met a few more characters including John Dodson G0LSY now SK who built me a ZL Special out of copper tubing. This was duly mounted on a pole from the rooftop and rotated using an electric window lift motor from a Ford Orion. The first rotation was a disaster and wrecked everything as the torque strength and spin of something like 5 revolutions a second. There was not much left but some chewed up coax and distorted piping.
After a rebuild, this antenna was operated for a few months and then I moved on to a eight element Jay-beam.
During this time I started to attend CARS – Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society with John and was introduced to my now best pal Graham G7JYD. The start of a great friendship which continues across continents to this day. Also at CARS I met and still keep in touch with a lot of members.
Around the same time I joined DHARS – Dengie Hundred Amateur Radio Society. I was an active member there, and one fond memory was clambering around in the roof space installing a covert HF antenna.
During those early years I lived at Bicknacre in a one bedroom house. In the loft I built a small framed room just big enough for a bench, which was a door on its side, and a chair. If I lent back I would fall through the hatch opening. It was small, but it worked for me. I did a lot of hands-on construction during those years from up there in the roofspace, and also accumulated a lot of test equipment and stock. I’m amazed that the bedroom ceiling didn’t collapse! Still as I had strengthened everything up there as overkill when I built it. Anyone who knows my construction will understand this statement.
In 1998 a house move to Danbury, Essex put a halt to the hobby from the home QTH but I continued working mobile in my Fiat Punto 1.1 liter car
By this time I was also an active member on the committee of the ERG – Essex Repeater Group, back in the days when there was a regular meet on a Friday evening at The Danbury Bell public house.
1999 saw the move to a new bigger house, this time in Wickford, Essex.
In 2002 our rules changed and Class B (VHF) license holders could sit another brief “Morse Appreciation” exam at the RSGB HQ which allowed us to apply for a foundation license limited to 10 watts on HF. My license came through and I got the call-sign I requested for M3HCD. So then I had two licenses G7HCD and M3HCD.
M3HCD now allowing me 10 watts on HF
2000 was a rocky year, it saw separation, death, divorce and the re arrival of another of my passions, motorbikes along with a new interest in kiting. Still active in the hobby and still with a real buzz for HF. I setup with an Alinco DX-70TH followed by Kenwood TS-440S TS-450S Yaesu FT840.
I was using an end fed wire from a front bedroom window, my overhead British Telecom telephone cable hanger to a rear corner garden fence post. I shudder to think what the performance was, but at 10 watts it worked at least. Nothing spectacular, but a link to the outside world none the less. I started experimenting with the 20m mono Cob Webb and due to lack of real estate used a Hustler 5 BTV vertical on the far corner of the garage roof.
Apparently according to Graham there was quite often a bird over the back fence.
Strangely the closer to today the worse my memory. November 2003 Class B (VHF) license users were grandfathered into AB which allowed them to use HF at 100 Watts. Happy days.
2006 on May 19th I sadly got burgled and lost everything radio wise and much more throughout the whole house.
This was a sad sad time and the feeling of total privacy invasion was immense.
For me it furthered my interest and along with the kites. A light bulb lit. Kites, height and antennas !!
Must have been the Marconi influence from Chelmsford.
2006 – 2008 saw me traveling back n forth to Canada for business.
Then later a relationship and marriage. Mr family man arrived in Ontario. A whole new group of radio friends were made.
Radio in this part of the world is so so different to England. In England it is so predictable as being on an island with a small station you can only really work Europe on morning grey-line etc. and PM nothing unless you have a good station. Here in VE3 land I am also licensed as VA3SII and am in the middle of a continent where radio buzzes all day long just from different directions.
2010 – ~ 2103, I have been working based in Kitchener and now Cambridge, Ontario and when in Canada travel most days ~50km each way on Highway 401 between Woodstock and Cambridge.
This until recently has been my regular radio time using a Yaesu FT-857D and I have been active on HF from the car a Pontiac Torrent SUV. I made regular contacts into Europe and down on to the Dominican islands. JA’s in the morning and a few contacts with the Real HF members in UK. I am now a member of the Real HF group along with some others also in the Yahoo user groups. I have made more contacts and distances than ever from the mobile. Indeed certainly far more than from the shack. Probably just due to the regular amount of time in the car.
Please look at my Station Info links from the menu to see my different setups.
June 22nd 2013 saw NFD in London Ontario and VA3SII with a brand new and much more economical car, a Ford Focus 2013.
After two years without radio I managed to get a 2, 6 and 70 antenna on the back, but still no HF. I have found it difficult to find mounting spots strong enough for an ATAS-120A without ruining bodywork.
May 2014 update, some kit now installed.
I also currently enjoy antenna modelling with MMANA-GAL and EZNEC+ V5 and have created and used many wire antennas both from home and the kiting out and about.
Aug 2019 update, NMO mounts installed and back on HF!