Limited radio in the last year
Not to long ago I was sitting here in the radio room chatting with a young Ham that had been licensed for about ten years. He felt that he was a bad Ham because he had not done more since becoming licensed. It dawned on me that I have just been back on the air now for about eleven months and have had tremendous obstacles to overcome so i can pursue what I call my "passion of a lifetime"
Co-vid Lock down and more
Back in June of last year I had been off work for about three months from my job at the House of Blues in Dallas and had been sequestered in my apartment in Terrell Texas all that time. My wife could see that I was losing my mind being locked up in our home and suggested that I get back to Amateur Radio after my ten year hiatus. She's a keeper that one.
So I set to work. I spent a week or so getting my podcast website (Resonant Frequency) back up on the internet. I also went over to the mini warehouse and retrieved some assorted radios, feed lines and power supplies. Things were really moving along.
The following month my wife had a stroke. She had continued to work during the initial virus outbreak because she was considered an essential worker. This while everyone else she knew was staying home. It finally proved to be to much for her.
After the initial chaos, emergency room, Careflight, quarantine at the hospital in Dallas things finally settled down. I was at the hospital every day from the beginning to the end of visiting hours and still had to manage our regular everyday household business. I was only getting about 5 hours sleep a night.
This posed a problem in getting back to my Ham radio program. I was having to drive seventy miles round trip to the hospital everyday. So i devised a plan.
I located one of my old dual band mag mount antennas, found an old Baofeng uv-5r I had purchased for a review I did on the podcast ten years ago and located an adapter to mate the two pieces of equipment and I was mobile. This was my station every day for over a month.
When my wife went into rehab I was not allowed into the facility due to the quarantine restrictions that were in place. So, again I was trapped at home. New plan. Being in an apartment over twenty miles from the nearest repeater made UHF and VHF problematic. Due to apartment management rules HF was out of the question. I already had a D-Star radio, I aquired a DMR handheld and a couple of hotspots and I was off to the races. So to keep myself from being lonley I explored the world of DMR and sadly D-Star. A nice young man even sent me a card.
When the wife came home from rehab things went on hold again. She needed my help and between home health care, doctor visits and other obligations I was off the air again.
Now it has been ten months since her stroke, I started a job and ended up in the hospital with a septic leg as well. We have had our only running vehicle quit on us and have just recently been the victims of a home invasion but Amateur Radio continues to Persist.
With all the obstacles that have come my way this passed ten months I have still managed to accomplish a great deal in my Amateur Radio experience. I have moved my VHF / UHF antenna from a window in my apartment to my outdoor porch dramatically improving my receive. Sadly I have to put the antenna up and take it down around apartment office hours but it is a small price to pay.
I am involved in bringing together fellow radio operators in my area in an attempt to create a club in my county. There is currently no such organization. I also have completed the needed training to be reinstated as ARES emergency coordinator for the Kaufman county and I am in the process of recruiting members for that organization. I will even be attending my first Hamfest in over ten years first thing in the morning. I can hardly wait.
The take away
The point I am trying to get across is that all of this is not that my life is so bad that I can't participate in amateur radio. The point is that you can be involved if and when you have the time. You just have to be persistent. Life comes first. Take the time see to your responsibilities. Then worry about Amateur Radio.
I'm an old Public Service guy. The Public Service guys are the worlds worst where priorities are involved. We tend to live and breath ARES, RACES, NTS, etc. and put everything else on the back burner. I assure you that is not the way.
Relax, take your time. Radio will be there when you get ready for it and if you need to take some time off that's ok too.