Welcome to the ham adventures of W9BRI. I was inspired to start this blog after a couple of fellow hams began a WAS (Worked All States) contest and have been blogging about it. In this first post I will give you a very quick look into my start in ham radio and where I am at today.
I originally became interested in amateur radio when I became interested in survival in a compromised world. I would not call myself a full blown prepper but I do believe that there are things that should be prepared for, just in case. One of the things I thought about was the fact that if the electrical grid went down we would not have the ability to find out what the situation was outside of our small radius. Cell phones, televisions, and radios would no longer work as they required electricity to either use or recharge. So how do we find out what has happened and what needs to be done? By having or knowing an amateur radio operator who has the ability to run off of solar power of course.
So, I jumped in and started studying in September of 2015 for the Technician license exam. I printed off every question in the question pool, used the ARRL, QRZ, and Ham Test Online testing sites, and downloaded the free book "No Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide" from the KB6NU website. I went crazy taking 15 to 20 exams per day and found a license exam session in my hometown of Mooresville, IN and tested. Passed on the first shot only missing one. The next couple of weeks were grueling waiting for my "ticket" to be listed on the FCC ULS site. Once it shows up there you can officially transmit. My first call sign, returned by the FCC, was KD9FBH.
So, I started mixing in with the 2m crowd on one of the busy Indianapolis local repeaters. 146.700 is a repeater maintained by the Indianapolis Repeater Association (W9IRA) and it sees a ton of traffic. If you happen through Indy please jump in and throw out your callsign. After a month or so I was encouraged to work on the General class license and join the world of HF. So back I went to the previous testing sites, printed out the General Question Pool, and purchased KB6NU's book "No Nonsense General Class License Study Guide" from Amazon. I wanted to take advantage of my Kindle is the only reason I did not purchase directly from Dan's site.
A couple of weeks prior to my test date I decided to look for a vanity callsign. I wanted a new call with the suffix BRI. This call sign, should it not be taken in other forms, would be in honor of my daughter Brianna Nicole McQueen who passed away 3/21/2012 from an inoperable brain tumor. You can learn more about her and our fight by following this link. The day that I went to test for my General Class license the FCC posted my new call sign, W9BRI on the ULS. I was so excited and the day got even better as I passed my General license exam missing 5.
When this adventure began I never gave thought to obtaining the highest license class, the Amateur Extra license. But, I began to want to see if I could do it just of pride. In May of 2016 I passed my test and I have been having a blast since.
I will try to keep my ramblings a little shorter from here on out. I hope you will check in now and then and see where my Ham Adventures have taken me!