How i Become a Ham
Wearing it Proud! DX7CBU!

How i Become a Ham

2019, Feb 24    

My first encounter with radio goes way back to early 90’s when i was still living in a rural community in Northern Mindanao (CARAGA), the place is not that remote but there is no phone or cellphone (cellphone that time is expensive and bulky), our neighbor who’s mom is a member of local civic-communication group called REACT.

View of Lake Mainit from Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte side
View of Lake Mainit from Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte side

Actually, i have known about radio before that but never got me interested with it, maybe the closest one that got me interested is when i get a hold on a toy walkie talkie which i eventually dismantled out of curiosity on how it works, that was like 6 years before i moved to Mindanao.

Every afternoon or weekend i always go to my friend’s house to play with the radio, we always climbed on the roof and started scanning the frequency. Back then our interest was still not about the radio but to look for a YL (young lady), we were boys then so its not really a surprise at that age. We do manage to talk some YL from time to time, we spend the whole afternoon taking turns in talking to the YL on the other line. It was fun, we meet some friends.

When my friend became a member of REACT kids (mostly kids of older member), and it got me interested what is it about this radio thing beside as means to communicate? I saw him doing civic work with his mom during a town event, and it got more curious as to what they are doing.

When i asked my friend how to joined he told me either one of my parent should be a member. I felt disappointed because i can’t join, every time i saw my friend on every town event i felt envious and disappointed. When we move back to Cebu i never forgot about it even after more than 10 years since i learned about it.

When i’m back in my home town (yes, i’m from cebu originally) i’m already working and earning some money already i attempted to join a civic communication group. It didn’t worked well, since at that time i still believe that radio is still expensive, despite i’m already earning is still not an option for me, and the group i inquired never replied to me. So i just move forward thinking that i will never be into this, maybe its not really for me. Or is it?

More like, 5 years!
More like, 5 years!

I was able to see an old friend Ariel from a previous company where i used to work, he is carrying a portable radio. I quickly asked him about it, and he said he is a licensed amateur radio operator or ham and he holds a licensed with a call sign of DW7FAL (he is now DV7FAL). I told him about my story about radio and he invited me to join their club, Ham Radio Cebu (DX7CBU). That time i never think twice and immediately grab the opportunity.

My club Ham Radio Cebu (DX7CBU)
My club Ham Radio Cebu (DX7CBU)

During this time i have no idea what is amateur radio nor even bother to google it, maybe i’m just hyped up that now i got a chance to become something that i wasn’t able to do 20 years ago. He even suggested me a certain brand of radio which to my surprised its cheaper than i expected. I always have the notion that portable radio is still expensive since thats what i remember during the time when i’m so interested about it, maybe it got stuck on me that it never rubs off.

I bought my first portable radio, it was a Cignus UV-85+ HP and a whip antenna, despite that i don’t have proper orientation yet (the DX7CBU orientation is still on the weekend). The club president give me a temporary callsign 7HCJ (originally it was 7HJC but was later changed due to conflict with another member call sign). I did a signal check to the DX7CBU repeater using only stock knowledge on how to operate a radio. I remember Ralph (DV7MJL) responded to me, but somehow my signal is not propagating properly.

I just focus on something that i’m sure ill pass, then ill worry the others later… — Me

The moment of truth…

Exam, day i reviewed for couple days, i keep my expectation low so i don’t get disappointed, i focused on Element 2 Radio Laws since i’m sure i can pass this one. However, for element 3 and 4 somehow i’m a bit skeptic since it includes numbers and calculations i don’t really do well with this (despite that i have the same course back in college). I failed 3 and 4 but pass element 2, now i’m officially an amateur holding a Class D license with a call sign of DY7LFU.

My Amateur Radio Station License (ARSL)
My Amateur Radio Station License (ARSL)

Worrying the later….

Remember last time i said i’ll focus on what i can pass and worry the later, well this is the time to worry the later, i take almost all opportunity to take the exam and upgrade my license, even to the point that i have to go the other province and travel overnight so i can take an exam. Me and my good friend Nick (DW7FCC at this time now DU7FCC) went to Dumaguete City to take amateur exam despite during that time Dumaguete City is now separate from Region 7 NTC (they Negros Island Region at that time and under NTC Bacolod).

The Island hoping adventure..

Taking that exam on other province was fun, exciting and rewarding. Because its a good example for everyone that when you have the will you can always find a way. We left Cebu Friday, 7 PM and we arrive their 3 AM despite the lack sleep we persist, with no shower and rice porridge as our breakfast we move forward and go to the exam area.

Class C, finally…

Alas, i pass the exam now i’m officially Class C with the callsign of DW7LFU

My current Amateur Radio Station License (ARSL)
My current Amateur Radio Station License (ARSL)

Beside from passing the exam, i met some friends there.

Me, DU7FCC and DV7FCX together with CUERA
Me, DU7FCC and DV7FCX together with CUERA

Keep moving

I move forward and upgrade to Class B only this time i failed twice (i failed twice as well when i upgrade to Class C), partly because i was too busy on my day job that i don’t find any time anymore to review, nonetheless i still take the exam because its a passion (i know reviewing is not really my thing, i learned from experiencing it personally, and not much of academics).

Re-think and re-consider…

I’m already strike 2, so i decided and reconsider maybe i need more experience and i should practice being ham more than just read those reviewer.

I’m still gonna take the exam this year, but i made sure this time that i will gain experienced by immersing myself on the hobby more than ever before. Educating other people is my way of doing it, i immerse myself to the hobby, so i can be an effective educator to others.

Educator…

I always consider myself as an educator, i love teaching other people get them informed. Recently i’m into educating scouts for JOTA and for their radio badge. I enjoy it a lot, thats where i found my calling… i’m an educator.

Today…

Focusing on my advocacy to educate other people about ham radio, i became active on my once dormant facebook page Ham Philippines. I started creating original content that helps educating people about the hobby. I will continue to do so until i can still do it.

Why i’m a ham?

I love technology, apart from that i love talking to people from far away. I know i can achieve that through modern technology like Internet i just don’t feel complete. So, i combined the best of this world.

Future

I will continue to educate people, and hope that more people like me would do as well. I will try to encourage them..

Things that i do really…