Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hello, World!


I'm Nate.  Among other things, I'm an amateur (ham) radio operator, operating with N0PCL as my callsign.

I'm a married guy in his mid-30s.  I've been licensed since the early 1990s, but was dormant in the hobby for most of that time.  I was 11 years old when I earned my no-code Technician privileges, and for my birthday, my parents purchased a Yeasu FT-411E handheld radio for me.  (It was a VERY extravagant gift for me.  Looking back I'm a bit embarrassed at their largess).  Living in the suburbs of Saint Paul at the time, I used the N0JVR 145.31 repeater to chat with other kids with ham licenses.  It was all great fun until I destroyed that radio (I incorrectly wired a home-brewed power supply for it).  With my radio toasted, my interest shifted to computers and other things.  Time ticked on, but whenever the time came to renew my license, I always did.

Fast forward to August, 2012.  I was a Captain in the Marine Corps fighting in Afghanistan when I realized that I needed to get back into the radio hobby.  I ordered the ARRL General and ARRL Amateur Extra study guides with the intention of learning the material, rapidly upgrading, and getting back on the air.  After returning from that Afghanistan deployment, I rapidly earned those license upgrades.

In the midst of studying, I found the small group of radio amateurs that were doing the Summits On The Air (SOTA) activity.  Given that I lived in Southern California (stationed at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base at the time), and that there were many SOTA peaks in the immediate area, I decided to set my sights on that part of the hobby.

Marit's (XYL) photo of us departing Vetter Mountain.

After upgrading, I headed to the San Diego Ham Radio Outlet and purchased a new Yaesu FT-817ND portable transceiver and a SuperAntenna MP-1 portable antenna.  My re-entry to the hobby was immanent.  I started activating SOTA peaks in the spring, 2013.  My XYL has accompanied me on many of my activations.  She's a superb photographer, and I'll be sharing some of her photos on this blog, too.  Though I love to hike, she's a very hardcore hiker--probably even more so than me.  She has many unique hiking accomplishments to her name.

For SOTA activations, I've done reasonably well.  I have just shy of 600 SOTA activator points to date, with over 100 activations.  I'm well on my way to Mountain Goat status: earning 1000 activation points.  I've also learned CW and I have aspirations toward getting into other parts of the hobby in the near future.

This blog will chronicle those adventures.

I'll also discuss other aspects of amateur radio, including antennas in CC&R locations, portable operating, digital modes, APRS, and other topics.

Lets get going!

N0PCL operating from Tahquitz Peak in January, 2014.  Marit took this photo.


  1. Looking forward to your blogs!
    Mark (AG6UK)

  2. Thanks, Mark. I'm glad to see that you've been activating a bit lately, too.